Emailed to me this morning by my dear ol' pal, Tony Millionaire: "I'll be coming to Seattle in May, we should have a good time. I'm going to punch your baby in the face, teach her a lesson about hard reality."
Harvey Kurtzman changed the face of American humor when he created the legendary MAD comic. As editor and chief writer from its inception in 1952, through its transformation into a slick magazine, and until he left MAD in 1956, he influenced an entire generation of cartoonists, comedians, and filmmakers. In 1962, he co-created the long-running Little Annie Fanny with his long-time artistic partner Will Elder for Playboy, which he continued to produce until his virtual retirement in 1988.
Between MAD and Annie Fanny, Kurtzman’s biographical summaries will note that he created and edited three other magazines, Trump, Humbug, and Help!, but, whereas his MAD and Annie Fanny are readily available in reprint form, his major satirical work in the interim period is virtually unknown. Humbug, which had poor distribution, may be the least known, but to those who treasure the rare original copies, it equals or even exceeds MAD in displaying Kurtzman’s creative genius. Humbug was unique in that it was actually published by the artists who created it: Kurtzman and his cohorts from MAD Will Elder, Jack Davis, and Al Jaffee, were joined by universally acclaimed cartoonist Arnold Roth. With no publisher above them to rein them in, this little band of creators produced some of the most trenchant and engaging satire of American culture ever to appear on American newsstands. At last, the entire run of 11 issues of Humbug is being reprinted in a deluxe format, much of it reproduced from the original art, allowing even owners of the original cheaply-printed issues to experience the full impact for the first time.
Peanuts surges into the 1970s with Schulz at the peak of his powers and influence: a few jokes about Bob Dylan, Women’s Liberation and “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex” (!) aside, these two years are as timeless as Peanuts ever was.
Sally Brown — school phobia, malapropisms, unrequited love for Linus and all — elbows her way to center stage, at least among the humans, and is thus the logical choice for cover girl... and in her honor, the introduction is provided by none other than Broadway, television and film star Kristin (Wicked) Chenoweth, who first rose to Tony-winning fame with her scene-stealing performance as Sally in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
Two long Summer-camp sequences involve Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty, who has decided that Charlie Brown is madly in love with her, much to his clueless confusion. Snoopy shows up at camp as well, as does Peppermint Patty’s new permanent sidekick, the one and only Marcie.
The eternally mutable Snoopy mostly shakes off his World War I Flying Ace identity and turns into Joe Cool, college hipster extraordinaire. And in three long sequences he writes a fan letter to his favorite author, Miss Helen Sweetstory, then goes on a journey to meet her, and finally enlists Charlie Brown’s help when her latest opus, “The Six Bunny-Wunnies Freak Out,” falls afoul of censors.
Also, Woodstock attends worm school, falls in love with a worm (perhaps the most doomed unrequited Peanuts love story ever!), and is nearly eaten by the neighbors’ cat... Peppermint Patty is put on trial for another dress code violation and makes a very ill-advised choice in terms of lawyers... Snoopy turns Linus’s blanket into not one but two sportcoats... Lucy hits a home run... and the birth of one Rerun Van Pelt!
344-page black & white 8.5" x 7" hardcover • $28.99
View a photo & video slideshow preview embedded here. Click here if it is not visible, and/or to view it larger in a new window (recommended). And visit the product details page for a downloadable, 17-page PDF preview containing all the strips from January, 1971!
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