Friday, 12 May 2017
Harvey Kurtzman Goes Underground
The counter culture cartoonists of the early Bronze Age considered Harvey Kurtzman the 'Godfather of Undergound Comix'. Harvey, for his part, demanded a blood test.
But you can see what they meant: As the creator of Mad, and therefore of satire in America, Kurtzman paved the way for every cartoonist who wanted to stand up and point out where society was going wrong, and make you laugh in the meantime. He also returned the compliment a few times.
( Tales Calculated To Sell You ) Bijou was Kitchen Sink's homage to Mad, parodying Underground heroes like The Furry Freak Brothers, Snappy Sammy Smoot, Mr. Natural and The Checkered Demon, and it came with a new hauntingly horrific Kurtzman cover.
His frontis to Snarf is even better, skewering Conan and his barbarian brethren with the point of a razor sharp HB pencil.
But Harvey's main contribution to the underground was Kurtzman Komix, another compilation from Kitchen Sink, this time of Klassic strips from the '50's. It comes with a new Kaustic Kover and an intro from Kurtzman disciple Robert Crumb, and it's Harvey at his timeless, manic best. Here's a selection.