Monday, September 30, 2013
But these early strips, “Flatfoot Burns,” six-page fillers which appeared in Police Comics, are the work of a 19-year-old artist looking to make a living in comics. Kurtzman was dismissive of this early work. As written in Kurtzman’s bio, Art of Harvey Kurtzman, Mad Genius of Comics, by Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle, Kurtzman is quoted as saying: “‘I never had a style so I had nothing to sell.’ In another interview Kurtzman referred to his pre-war output as ‘very crude, very ugly stuff.’ Nonetheless these give subtle hints of what is to come.”
When you look at these strips you will see panels here and there that are foreshadowing the future and his work on Mad and beyond. Mostly you are seeing a young cartoonist learning his way. These three stories are from Police Comics #24-26 inclusive (1943. When reference is made to “pre-war” in the biography I assume it means that period before Kurtzman entered the service.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
There’s a sense of humor in both these stories from Strange Adventures #21 (1952). The three Herbert brothers, hillbillies who speak like, “We’m the Herberts. We’m heerd tell of a war goin’ on! We’m come to jine the fightin’!” are actually much smarter than they originally appear. The second story, which is cover featured with a beautiful illustration by Murphy Anderson, who also drew the story, is a reverse fish tale.
And that second story causes me some reflection. This issue of Strange Adventures is dated June, 1952. The Al Feldstein/Jack Davis story, “Gone...Fishing!” is from Vault of Horror #22, dated December, 1951-January, 1952. It probably went on sale in October, 1951, and if he saw it could have conceivably planted an idea in writer Jack Miller’s mind. In the EC story the “fisherman” is unseen. Perhaps Miller thought it would be fun to show what was fishing for humans.
From Vault of Horror #22. I scanned this from the Russ Cochran reprint, Vault of Horror #11.
It’s just conjecture, but I find the timing of both stories with similar themes interesting.
“The Genius Epidemic” is by Gardner Fox, drawn by Irwin Hasen and Joe Giella, and “The Monster That Fished For Men” is written by Jack Miller, drawn by Murphy Anderson.
Friday, September 27, 2013
This story, “The Brownies in the Funnybody Kingdom,” is pure Kelly, story and art. I showed it before, years ago. These are new scans.
Walt Kelly used a pen-name in 1945 to do this beautiful childrens’ book, Trouble On the Ark. Click on the picture to see it.