Hurray For Harvey Kurtz!
Today I recieved a stack of sunday pages which had one I had been looking forward too. It was a single page of the New York Herald Tribune, which had the only Silver Linings gag by Harvey Kurtzman I had never seen before.
In 1948 comic genius and later Mad creator Harvey Kurtzman drew a shortlived series of one tier gags for The Sunday Herald Tribune. The Trib did this sort of thing regulary, publishing Sunday only versions of ne cartoon series by some of New Yorks finest cartoon and animation talent who had a ittle time on their hands. Sometimes, this functioned as a try-out such as in the cas of Gil Fox and Selam Diamond's Jeannie, which I showed at the start of this blog and Irv Spector's Coogie. Both were transformed from a weekly one tier into a fullfledges comic strip with the New York Herald Tribune Syndicate. In Jeannie's case, he strip even made it into a daily version, which didn't help the series as such.
Kurtzman drew ilver Linings over a period of four months. He used the humor and style of absurdist humor series Hey Look in the Timel/Atlas teen humor and romance books. The style and the humor of this series was devised for the funny animal line and wasn't really suited for the books they ended up in, but it was too good to discontinue. The complee series was reprinted in Black and White by Denis Kitchen a couple of years ago. If you can lay your hands on this bo, it is still the greatest collection of Kurtzman work ever.
Silver Linings was just as good and maybe even a little more adult. Sadly, there were only nine installments and although some people have wondered if it was ever syndicated and might have appeared outside of the dates known for the Herald Tribune, that seems to have been it.
Early in the nineties I was in Washington and visited the Library of Congress to score some copies. There I found not all, but most of these. After that, Denis Kitchen used six of them for his 2000 book Comic Strip Century. Copies from those pages have appeared at several places on the web, most notably at www.comicrazys.com. Still, having recieved this last one makes it possibly for me to present to you for the first time the complete Silver Linings. Some are from microfiche ane is a scan from te Kitchen book, one a scan fom my copy from the Library of Congress and one a scan from the Sunday page I recieved today. If you want to see color versions of the five I copies from microfiche, go to comicrazys. I just wanted to present a different set. I also put the in the order of oublication. Since I have left my Kirtzman Index by Glen Bray in my office upstairs, I will have to add the dates later.