- Series: Essential Kurtzman (Book 2)
- Hardcover: 184 pages
- Publisher: Dark Horse Books (December 20, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1506701027
- ISBN-13: 978-1506701028
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.7 x 12.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 25 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #615,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Trump: The Complete Collection (Essential Kurtzman) Hardcover – December 20, 2016
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"I gave Harvey Kurtzman an unlimited budget at TRUMP, and he exceeded it." -Hugh Hefner
About the Author
Harvey Kurtzman (1924-1993) was a cartoonist, writer, editor and comics genius. He is probably best remembered for MAD, which he founded in 1952. He created 28 revolutionary issues for E.C. publisher Bill Gaines (for whom he also created Two-Fisted Tales and Frontline Combat) with such talent as Will Elder, Jack Davis, and Wally Wood before leaving in 1956. Kurtzman then created the short-lived satire magazine Trump for Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner in 1957. He followed with the comic-size Humbug in 1958, then Help! magazine. During his Help! tenure he discovered such diverse talent as Terry Gilliam, Gloria Steinem, Gilbert Shelton, and R. Crumb. In 1962 he and collaborator Will Elder began producing the long-running and elaborate Little Annie Fanny comic for Playboy. In the '70s he became known as the "father-in-law of underground comix" for inspiring a new generation of media-bending cartoonists. He passed away in 1993.
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Divorced from his brainchild, Harvey found himself working for former cartoonist Hugh Hefner, who wanted a sophisticated humor magazine to increase the reach and influence of his "Playboy" empire. Two wonderful issues of "Trump" reached the newsstands before the proverbial crap hit the fan.
Kitchen and Lind provide explanations as to why Hefner had to pull the plug so quickly on a project he once firmly believed in. Unfortunately, at least some of the blame goes to Kurtzman's inability to maintain a budget and to get his artists and writers to meet firm deadlines. Many familiar faces such as Wally Wood, Jack Davis, and Al Jaffe followed him, at least for a while from "Mad." What they created was a witty, sophisticated, more adult version of "Mad." Kurtzman spared no expense in an attempt to create the magazine of his dreams. That was another big problem, "Trump" was going to be a VERY expensive magazine to produce, no matter the editor. But what a beautiful magazine it was!
Kitchen and Lind reprint the entire run of "Trump" front cover to back cover. Much of the humor still elicits chuckles. Because some of the material is dated (the magazine was produced in 1957) annotations to the features are provided. These are well written and informative without being pedantic.Also reconstructed, as much as possible, is what the aborted third issue may have looked like. Chock full of original artwork, artist insights, and, informed opinion, this is a book not to be missed. It is truly a shame that "Trump" could not have had more than an Icarus-like flight it really should have soared for a much longer time. I like to think that in an alternate universe, "Trump" is still on the newsstands.
Well, I've finished reading this book, and I came to a sober realization...I now understand why Hefner pulled the plug. The magazine, as he said, just didn't seem to be coming together. It was desultory and uneven, and not particularly funny, although many of the articles were clever. But I didn't laugh. I still look at old Mad comics, and find many of the stories as hilarious today as they were sixty years ago. Starchie, Howdy Dooit, Gasoline Valley, Restaurant!... they're evergreen, as are the ineffable graphic layouts and astounding covers of many of the comic book Mads as well as all of the twenty five cent magazine format Mads edited by Kurtzman. But in Trump, something's missing. Kurtzman's work - so similar to what he did for Mad - was no longer fresh. The comic strip parodies, the Scenes We'd Like to See stuff, and a whole host of other material was already familiar from Mad, and starting to seem repetitive. There are a few exceptions - Ira Wallach's God's Littered Acre and Mel Brooks's Death to a Salesman hold up well, but neither is written by Kurtzman. Also noteworthy are Elder's fake ads for Camel cigarettes and Lipton tea, and Wallace Wood's beautiful full-color illustrations for a nonexistent feature-length Disney cartoon. And Elder's Norman Rockwell-inspired Saturday Evening Post lampoon (unpublished, meant for Trump #3) is simply extraordinary, as is his Ages of Man foldout illustration. But again, I could see why Hefner had serious misgivings about this magazine. It lacked the freshness and, in the main, the audacity and originality of Mad, and Kurtzman seemed to be struggling. One other thing - at the end of the book, the annotator, Dennis Kitchen, makes a reference to Donald Trump, a comment I thought was gratuitous and inappropriate. But for anyone insatiably curious about the contents of this rare, previously elusive, upscale version of mid-to-late 1950s Mad which sought a more adult readership, I wouldn't hesitate to spend the twenty dollars needed to satisfy one's curiosity.