Monday, September 7, 2015

Harvey Kurtzman Biography

Bill Schelly's Harvey Kurtzman: The Man Who Created MAD and Revolutionized Humor in America is easily the best book I have read all year, and likely the best book I will read all year. Schelly's 642 page traces Kurtzman's career from his childhood, his years at the the High School of Music and Art in New York, his beginnings working for Timely Comics, the glory days of Mad and Two-Fisted Tales at EC Comics, later projects like Humbug, Trump and Little Annie Fannie and his eventual status as an elder statesman of the comic book.

The book is meticulously researched and footnoted. There were huge gaps in my knowledge of Kurtzman prior to reading this, but people much better informed than me have said there is a lot of new information in this book. I cant' recommend this highly enough for anyone interested in the history of comic books or humor in America in the second half of the twentieth century.

You can order the book from the publisher, Fantagraphics.

An interview with the author.

And here's a nice article in The Atlantic about Kurtzman and the book.

And some Kurtzman EC covers:

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