Monday, October 27, 2008

Something Fisher going on

Monday Cartoon Day

Continuing my look at the cartoon journalism pieces from Harvey Kurtzman's Help, here's a surprising contribution from cartoonist Ed Fisher from Help #10. Kurtzman used all the exciting cartoonists of his period. If he had had the funds and the drive to keep all of these contributors (and pay for a couple of writers) for every issue of Help, it could have turned into an important satirical magazine to go with the 'satire boom' of the early sixties in the same way Private Eye was for the British satire crowd. Or maybe it needed a more energetic and less ponderous editor such as Peter Cook.

I couldn't find a lot of information on Ed Fisher. Most of my google searches lead me to Ed Fischer, a political cartoonist from Minnasota, who has his own website at I e-mailed him a couple of questions about these pages and he kindly e-mailed me back that he was Ed Fischer with a C. This was not the first time he was mistaken for the C-less Fisher, though. In a later e-mail he recalled being invited to an event in the UK, where they thought he was Fisher as well. At first he tried to correct the organisers, but they kept heaping so much praise unto him, that in the end he just sat back and enjoyed it. Great story. In the meantime, I am finding it hard to find more information on the earlier Fisher. He had worked for Kurtzman before, when he did two issues of a color Mad magazine imitation for Playboy Press. Unfortunately, this magazine, Trump failed (as well as Kurtzman's later tries, Humbug and Help). A third issue is rumored to be have been completed and still in the Playboy vaults. For the first issue Fisher did a feature on spiced up book covers for paperback editions of classic stories. Some of these were reprinted in his first solo cartoon book. For the second issue he did a cartoon. I'll have to check to see if Fisher worked for Playboy or the New Yorker around that time. He seems to have been among the cutting edge of New York cartoonists of that period.

For those of you interested in this type of work... Harvey Kurtzman's complete run of Humbug has recently been reprinted by Fantagraphics. All eleven issues have been reshot from the originals at a laregr size and commentary has been added by Kurtzman Estate manager Denis Kitchen. A reprint book with the best of Help has been rumored. There is no word yet on a Trump reprint, which would have to be done with the approval of Playboy (and would make much more sense if it contained material from the unpublished third issue). I do have doubles of both issues of Trump, which I am willing to part with for lots f money. I am asking $65 each or $120 for the paIR. They are in good condition and a steal at that price. I also have a couple of doubles for Humbug and Help, but those are much easier to get hold of.

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