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Lawbreakers Always Lose # 1-10 (Spring 1948 - October 1949).
Harvey Kurtzman (October 3, 1924, Brooklyn, New York – February 21, 1993) was a U.S. cartoonist and the editor of several comic books and magazines. Kurtzman often signed his name H. Kurtz, followed by a stick figure (i.e., H. Kurtz-man).
In 1952, he was the founding editor of the comic book Mad. Kurtzman was also known for the long-running Little Annie Fanny stories in Playboy (1962–88), satirizing the very attitudes that Playboy promoted.
Because Mad had a considerable effect on popular culture, Kurtzman was later described by The New York Times as having been "one of the most important figures in postwar America."
He was inducted into the comic book industry's Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1989.
As a child he drew Ikey and Mikey, a regular comic strip done in chalk on sidewalks. In 1939, Kurtzman entered a cartoon contest in Tip Top Comics, winning a prize of one dollar. Kurtzman attended New York's High School of Music and Art, where he first met future collaborators Will Elder, Harry Chester, Al Jaffee and John Severin. After graduating from Cooper Union, he freelanced for such second-tier comic book companies as Ace and Timely. It was at Timely that he drew his first humorous "Hey Look!" one-pagers, which Timely used whenever an issue was a page short. Kurtzman also produced a comic strip, Silver Linings, which ran in the New York Herald Tribune from March 7 to June 20, 1948. He was strongly influenced by the English cartoonist H. M. Bateman.
The evolution of Mad was marked by Kurtzman's recognition of his own value and talents. The comic book owed its existence to Kurtzman's complaint to publisher Gaines that EC's two editors - himself and Al Feldstein - were being paid substantially different salaries. Gaines pointed out that Feldstein produced more titles for EC and did so more swiftly. The men then agreed that if Kurtzman could create a humor publication, Gaines would raise his pay substantially.
Four years later, amid an industry crackdown on the comic books that EC was producing, Kurtzman received an offer to join the staff of Pageant. When Gaines agreed to expand Mad from a ten-cent comic book to a full-sized 25-cent magazine, Kurtzman stayed with EC. Although retaining Kurtzman was Gaines' prime motivation, this 1955 revamp completely removed Mad from the Comics Code Authority's censorious overview, thereby assuring its survival. Kurtzman remained at the helm of the magazine for only a few issues, but it was long enough to introduce the image soon named Alfred E. Neuman, the publication's famous mascot.
During the early 1950s, Kurtzman became one of the writers for the relaunched Flash Gordon daily comic strip. Soon after, the strip would become one of Mad's targets, when his 1954 "Flesh Garden!" parody was illustrated by Wally Wood.
In April 1956, with Mad sales increasing and all of EC's other titles cancelled, Kurtzman demanded a 51% share of Gaines' business. Gaines balked and hired Feldstein to replace Kurtzman as editor.
Kurtzman was also the editor of Trump, published by Hugh Hefner in 1957. It presented Kurtzman's Mad sensibilities in a glossy, upscale magazine format. Trump only lasted for two issues. Kurtzman later led an artists' collective of himself, Will Elder, Jack Davis, Al Jaffee and Arnold Roth in publishing Humbug. Despite their efforts, and those of business manager Harry Chester, Humbug failed to overcome distribution and financial problems. It folded after 11 issues.
After the demise of Humbug, Kurtzman spent a few years as a freelance contributor to various magazines, including Playboy, Esquire, The Saturday Evening Post, TV Guide and Pageant, the magazine that had made a fateful job offer to Kurtzman in 1955. Kurtzman's last regular editorial position of note was at the helm of Warren Publishing's Help! from 1960 to 1965.
Kurtzman's career remained eclectic. His Little Annie Fanny began its 26-year run in Playboy in 1962. He co-scripted the animated film Mad Monster Party, which was released in 1967. In 1973, Kurtzman produced several animated shorts for Sesame Street, and that same year he appeared in a Scripto TV commercial drawing Little Annie Fanny on the wall of a prison cell. A series of reprint projects and one-shot efforts appeared in the 1970s and 1980s.
In his later years, Kurtzman continued to work on anthologies and various other projects, as well as teaching a cartooning class at the School of Visual Arts. Beginning in 1988, the Harvey Awards, named for Kurtzman, were first given to the year's outstanding comics and creators. In the years before his death, Kurtzman returned to Mad for a brief stint, along with long-time collaborator Will Elder. Their pages were simply signed "WEHK".
Kurtzman died of liver cancer at the age of 68 on February 21, 1993.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.