Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ah Humbug!

Al Jaffee & Friends

Arnold Roth & Tomes

Talk about a sweet deal, this was it. I went to my local Half-Price Bookstore (quickly becoming my favorite bookstore) and was browsing around looking for something of interest well priced, when I stumbled across the Fantagraphics two-volume slipcased reprint edition of Humbug magazine.

This magazine was the brainchild of a post-MAD Harvey Kurtzman and four key satire cartoonists, notably Jack Davis, Will Elder, Al Jaffee, and Arnold Roth. These five key talents along with a few others were the core driving forces behind this 1957 MAD-style mag.

I found two sets actually, one still in its plastic and one free so that I could actually thumb through it. When I found the spoof of Rodan I knew that I had to have the collection. It originally sold for $60 but these were $20, a bargain too good to pass up.

I've not yet read much of the actual material, but I have plundered the behind-the-scenes essays and they make good reading. These are handsome volumes, recommened at twice the price, but if you can find them for what I paid, you'd be a fool not to pounce.

It's a beautiful two-volume set. Here's a link which will give you a closer look at the contents.

Here's a complete cover gallery for the full Humbug run, which was a mere eleven issues. This was an early experiment in creator-owned production, and like most it was not a commercial success.

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