Friday, August 29, 2008

Kurtza Minor

Saturday leftover Day.

Not only did I miss posting this week, I also had a power failure today and lost a whole Super Rabbit story that I think may have been drawn by Irv Spector. I will rescan it as soon as possible and post it. In the meantime, here is the other story I wanted to post today. It's a rare Harvey Kurtzman story that has not been seen a lot, even by Harvey Kurtzman fans. The reason is, that it is not that good.

Kurtzman is justly known for his Hey Look series of one pagers he did for San Lee in the forties. They were fun and silly and weird and crazy (not to say mad)... and didn't really fit into the animal comic or girlie books there were used in as fillers. So it's no surprise that Martin Goodman ordered Stan Lee to ask Kurtzman to come up with somethig else. He was askewd if he could produce some sort of Archie clone. He proved that he could with a private page he produced for Stan Lee. But either he or Lee decided that was not the right way to go. Instead, he was put in charge of changing a series called Rusty into a Blondie clone. Working from a script by Stan Lee, Kurtzman did his best to be as uninteresting as possible.

But a talent such as Kurtzman's can hide from itself. Kurtzman turned this assignment into an exercize in minimalism... and a pretty good one. He took the best of Chich Youngs stilted style and turned it into a minimalist puppet show. I wouldn't be surprised if he learned something from it as well. He did one whole issue and several stories before deciding things weren't going to be any better at Timely for him.

Since I intended to complement this with another helping of Irv Spector's art, I will close with two pieces I had saved for later. The first is a later cover by Spector, which was sent to me by his son. It is one of the last issues of ACG's Giggle comics, featuring Spencer Spook, which was usually drawn by other artists, but apparently Spector did a couple of episodes as well. I thought Spector's work in the fifties was restricted to his work for Standard, most notably Lucky Duck, but apparently he did work for other companies as well. The second illustration is a sample of a one page filler for another ACG title, Muggy-Doo #3, taken from a review by Scott Shaw! on his oddball comics site.


joe ackerman said...

that was pretty cool. sort of. kurtzman is always a pleasure, even minor kurtzman. thanks for posting.

p spector said...

Interesting -- in a very minor sort of way -- how Spector split a single vertically oriented splash panel into two horizontally units. Never really noticed that, or seen it done that way before - simple as it is.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

He may have in Coogy... Osh is the most Coogy-looking thing I have seen of his later work. If all his comic book work would look like this, it would be easier to identify.

JohnK said...

Hi Ger

can I make a friendly suggestion?

Start your posts with a picture, instead of text.

Then we know right away that it's new and what the post is about.

Thanks for all the lost treasures!

Your pal,


william wray said...

NIce Dan Gordon Comics. He needs a collection.