Monday, May 25, 2009

More Than It Seems

Monday Cartoon Day.

Next August Alter Ego #86 will have my long-awaited (by my mom, at least) article about all Mad comic book imitations from the mid-fifties. I had written this article to catalogue my own collection and when Roy thomas got wind of it, he wanted it for his excellent magazine. I rewrote it and made sure it was complte and definite and we decided on a lovely cover homage to Harvey Kurtzman... and the Roy found out I was much too long for one magazine, so he decided to do one 50 pages in #86 and the rest (probably more more pages) in one of the first issues next year. So I need you all t go out and buy Alter Ego #86, so Roy won't be temped to postpone the second part. It is profusely illustrated, as you may have come to expect from me (and Roy, who dded his own comments and a couple of nice comparisons of strips Mad parodied). What I didn't include, were these.

At the start of the article I write a bit about Mad's precursors and stuff that might or might not have influenced Kurtzman in the creation of Mad. One of the things that gets talked about, s the atmosphere of satire that was in the air in the early fifties. College magazines were selling well and Sid Ceasar was doing movie parodies on his Your Show of Shows. Around the same time Kurtzman started Mad, comic artist Lou Cameron did a short-lived satirical newspaper strip called So It Seems. The titles seems to be a parody of the many 'interesting facts' panels that were around, such as Ripley's Believe It Or Not and John Hix Strange As It Seems, but it was more of a 'statement and sample' series, along the lines of those that were later done for the magazine Mad.

Lou Cameron was a journeyman artist who did a lot of work for Classics Illustrated. He also did a lot of horror stories for companies such as Ace and even Atlas Tales (though those were all post-code). This strip ran for about six months in 1952, but I am not sure of the date because the one paper I found that ran it always ran it one to three weeks later dan the date in the strip itself.


Booksteve said...

Very interesting. Can't wait to read your article on the MAD imitations. I collected them for years when they were inexpensive. Many of them suffer only by comparison to MAD and otherwise actually pretty good when taken on their own. My favorites are WHACK and FLIP!

Ger Apeldoorn said...

I think I designated Whack 'best buy'. I have also included two later Maurer/Overgard strip satires from The Three Stooges #5 and 7.

Booksteve said...

Just got the digital edition of the ALTER EGO! WOW! Exactly the type of thing I love...and the benefit of the digital edition is that the color art is in color! That said, I'll probably buy the mag edition, too, because this is te type of piece I just love to curl up with and it's not the same curling up with a PC, y'know?