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The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics

Art of Harvey Kurtzman

The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics by Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle easily ranks among my favorite cartoon/comic-related books of the past few years, if not all-time. How good is it? I was so anxious to get my hands on this book that I ended up buying a copy at the bookstore instead of ordering it from Amazon. The selection of artwork, the design of the book, and the print quality are all jaw-droppingly gorgeous. The text, which I’ve only begun to read, also appears to be top-notch. Kurtzman was the rare individual who was equally gifted as both an artist (Hey Look!, Two-Fisted Tales, Frontline Combat) and editor (Mad, Help, Trump, and this volume lovingly acknowledges both sides of the man. The book was published by Abrams’ promising new ComicArts imprint and is an incredible value at $26.40 on Amazon.

UPDATE: Sherm Cohen made this video preview of the book:

  • Denis Kitchen has done more to educate the public on comic artists than anyone I can think of. I learned of Will Eisner’s significance through Kitchen Sink publications – and he is as much a participant as a “reporter”. I was fortunate enough to see his show at the Chazen Museum at the UW/Madison a couple of months ago which chronicled the history of underground comics. I hope it comes to NYC !!

    Bravo !!

  • owen

    Sweet, I have to get this.

  • Love Kurtzman – can’t wait to pick this up.

  • That’s a handsome looking book!

  • (Hey Sherm – Love the ACME pegbar touch under the book !)

  • I picked up my copy last week.

    Perhaps this The Art of Harvey Kurtzman book will inspire other publishers to put out more of his work like The Original Art of Basil Wolverton book is doing. Basil Wolverton’s Culture Corner is slated for November, 2009.

    I’d like to see Hey Look! re-released and wouldn’t mind Pig Tales being collected as well.

    Now how ’bout vol. 3 of the Mad Archives series?
    The time between vol.1 and 2 was ridiculous.

  • Damnit! I’ve already been exercising all the will power I have NOT to buy this (trying to save). I’m not sure how much longer I’ll last with all these posts about it.

  • Kenny Barrowman

    Ordering this asap

  • I bought this 2 weeks ago. the inclusion of the Kurtzman – Wally Wood Superduperman pages alone made it worth picking up. also, I like the mylar page breakdown section in this book.

  • It’s a wonderful book.

  • booksteve

    I had pre-ordered this ages ago and sort of forgot about it when it was delayed from April. Was very pleased to have it turn up at my door a few weeks back. Marvelous and well worth the wait! It’s a good year for Kurtzman’s legacy!

  • Russell H

    I picked this up last week. I found especially impressive the reproductions of some of Kurtzman’s thumbnails and storyboards for TWO FISTED TALES stories. You can practically “see” the energy in the stroke-marks of the pencillings; it almost feels as if you’re in Kurtzman’s studio, looking over his shoulder as he draws them.

  • For over thirty years Denis Kitchen has been introducing new generations to the work of Harvey Kurtzman and Will Eisner by presenting them in what I always considered extremely high quality formats. I’ve been lucky to have been on board since the Kitchen Sink days, so I’ve seen nearly all of his publications. But “The Art of Harvey Kurtzman” is, in my opinion, his crowning achievement.

  • doug holverson

    Does this include the totally awesome Goodman Beaver parody of Archie? That was even more pointed when I discovered it during the Yuppified ’80s.

    So is Mr. Kitchen ever going to finish up those Li’l Abner reprints, albiet with another publisher? Is somebody going to do a history of ’80s Small Press Comics?

  • CS-toon

    I thought Abrams had hit a high point with the KIRBY art book last year but then this comes along!

    First off, this design is downright beautiful, one of THE best looking books ever on a cartoonist. From the title page, it looks like Kitchen’s company Kitchen, Lind & Associates designed this book specially FOR Abrams as well as writing it. The book shows that a lot of love, years of knowledge and tons of skill went into the project.

    I picked up another book they just did called Underground Classics last month. It was the same designers and Kitchen wrote it as well, that one looked amazing too!

    I really hope that the next one on his company’s radar is The Art of Will Eisner.

  • Steve Burstein

    I met Harvey Kurtzman in 1978, and like the anorak I was I relentlessly chewed his ear off.And since I was a MONTY PYTHON anorak, I reminded him that he had used Terry Gilliam and John Cleese beck around 1965.

  • Buck Svenson

    This may not be public knowledge yet, but a deal was struck so that IDW will be preprinting Lil Abner dailies AND Sundays. And yes, Kitchen IS a national treasure; his Kurtzman book is wonderful.

    Now, what ever became of the Ward Kimball announcement we were supposed to hear about in 2009?! Amid? Anything?

  • I’ve seen Kurtzman’s “Hey Look!” in animation on “Oh Yeah! Cartoons”.

  • doug holverson

    Yay! Kurtzman and Clampett and Capp almost all at once!

    Now all we need is an ’80s Small Press Comics Classics as a companion piece to that Underground Classics….

  • Someone know what is the original size of the page cartoon for MAD or Two Fisted Tales?, is the major mystery of my life, thanks