Monday, March 11, 2013

MAD, Volume 1

1986, first edition, from Russ Cochran, Publisher
MAD, Volume 1
Bought newish for unknown
Worn hardcover

Like I said back in the '50s, I think Harvey Kurtzman is over-rated, and certainly this collection of the first six issues of MAD shows why.  He seems to have almost no concept of how to set up a joke, some of the endings to the stories being particularly ham-fisted, such as "Yes, Dear Reader!  The machine did break!" and "For, you see...Bumble...Fumbled!", both in issue #1.  That said, he improves somewhat as things go along, although the text-only stories, like the Cosmo McMoon ones, never work.  It is nice to see the artwork in color, although it also is not great to start out with.  I like the interviews with Kurtzman and Gaines, including their memories of how the outrageous "Publisher of the Issue" profile got in the magazine while Kurtman was in the hospital.  It figures that the funniest piece in the first half dozen issues had to sneak in behind his back. 

"'I don' care if it don't gotta plot!  I don' care if it don't got grammar!  I don' care if the pitchers ain't from talent!  All I care is get into every story sadism, snakes, masochism, pyromania, snakes, fetishes, snakes, necrophilia, phallic symbols, snakes, and all the rest of that esoterica what I can't think of this minute.'"  Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, I rest my case.

OK, OK, Exhibit B to follow....

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