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Humbug
by Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder and Arnold Roth and Al Jaffee


Overview - 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.  Read more...

 
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More About Humbug by Harvey Kurtzman; Will Elder; Arnold Roth; Al Jaffee
 
 
 
Overview
BetweenMAD 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 two-volume slipcased hardcover 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. Nominated for a 2010 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award: (Best Archival Collection/Project: Comic Books). "

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781560979333
  • ISBN-10: 156097933X
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
  • Publish Date: March 2009
  • Page Count: 476


Related Categories

Books > Comics & Graphic Novels > Literary

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 52.
  • Review Date: 2009-03-23
  • Reviewer: Staff

MAD’s early years have been justly lauded for their japing assault on postwar American culture, but this outstanding two-volume boxed set reflects the history of comedy in the period after staff stars like Kurtzman jumped ship in 1956. Humbug, whose mere 11 monthly issues published in 1957 and 1958 are all collected here, was a refreshing if little-noticed seat-of-the-pants hybrid of MAD-style buffoonery and a tony wit that sadly never found its place. Read today, Humbug seems a time capsule from when comedy was entering its drier, postvaudevillian period; comedians still wore ties and were expected to if not attend college at least have read a book or two. The magazine’s mix of chaos and control—Kurtzman’s Cecil B. DeMille–sized comedic crowd scenes set against Larry Siegel’s pitch-perfect literary satires—creates an uneasy balance that almost necessitated a short shelf life, much in the same manner as National Lampoon (which years later briefly picked up the mantle that Humbug threw down). The set might not be best for end-to-end reading (11 issues is a heavy dose, with all those Sputnik and Have Gun, Will Travel references) but for dry cocktail laughs and low schoolboy snorts, it’s hard to think of a better pair of books to have at your nightstand. (Mar.)

 
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