Harvey Kurtzman, The Man Who Created “Mad”

and Revolutionized Humor in America

Frontline Combat #7 Little Annie Fanny Mad #4 MADpb1MadReader Kurtzman_book_cover Photo by E. B. Boatner

By Bill Schelly

This biography reveals the true story of Mad creator Harvey Kurtzman—the man who revolutionized humor in America. It features new interviews with his colleagues Hugh Hefner, Robert Crumb, and others.

Harvey Kurtzman created Mad, and Mad revolutionized humor in America. Kurtzman was the original editor, artist and sole writer of Mad, one of the greatest publishing success stories of the 20th century. But how did Kurtzman invent Mad, and why did he leave it shortly after it burst, nova-like, onto the American scene? For this heavily researched biography, Bill Schelly conducted new interviews with Kurtzman’s colleagues, friends and family, including Hugh Hefner, R. Crumb, Jack Davis, and many others, and examined Kurtzman’s personal archives. The result is the true story of one of the 20th century’s greatest humorists: Kurtzman’s family life, the details of the FBI’s investigation during the McCarthy Era, his legal battles with William M. Gaines (publisher of Mad), are all revealed for the first time. Rich with anecdotes, this book traces Kurtzman’s life from his Brooklyn beginnings to his post-Mad years, when his ceaseless creativity produced more innovations: new magazines, a graphic novel, and Little Annie Fanny in Playboy.

Excerpt from Harvey Kurtzman: The Man Who Created Mad

List Price: $34.99
Hardcover: 648 pages
Publisher: Fantagraphics; 1 edition (March 10, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1606997610
ISBN-13: 978-1606997611

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