Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Harvey Kurtzman's ass

1979 San Diego Comic Con. Underground cartoonists jam. Harvey Kurtzman's ass in my face.

After everyone had contributed to the artwork on the wall behind us, we all arranged ourselves for a group shot. Harvey Kurtzman walks in and there's no place for him to squeeze in, so he just plops down on top of everyone in the front row. That's me in the middle, in the greenish shirt. To my left is Trina Robbins. To her left is Carol Lay. These photos are courtesy of the great Jackie Estrada.

Harvey Kurtzman was the cartoonist who by far had the greatest influence on me. Even as a kid I was aware of his work and fell in love with it without knowing why. The creator of MAD, Humbug, Help!, Trump, Two-Fisted Tales, Frontline Combat, Little Annie Fanny and a thousand other things for Pageant, Esquire, Playboy, and on and on. For my money, one of the greatest cartoonists that ever lived. So when he plopped in my lap I was at a loss for words. I'd like to say we became good friends from that moment on but I had actually met him in San Diego a few years earlier. And prior to that I'd submitted some stuff to him during his Help! days, but I was politely rejected. I was still in art school and I just wasn't ready for the big leagues. The first time I ever wrote to Kurtzman was around 1964 when Bill Spicer was corresponding with him. Bill gave me Kurtzman's address and I wrote to him and he wrote back. We continued to corresponded occasionally through the years and I saved everything he ever wrote to me.

This second shot includes some of the jam art behind us. The yellow critter in the middle of the jam art, with the blue pants, is Myron Moose. Behind Carol Lay is San Diego Comic Con founder Shel Dorf. To Shel's left is Steve Leialoha. I don't know the names of anybody else in the photos.


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