Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Harvey Kurtzman's Little Annie Fanny

by Harvey Kurtzman, Will Elder & Others
(Collected Vols 1 & 2 avaliable from Dark Horse Comics)
DAVE SIM:
(from a comment on AMOC, 10 December 2016)
...I think much hinges upon your innermost intention with the material which I think, in the case of Kurtzman and Elder on LITTLE ANNIE FANNY was a) to be entertaining b) to be funny and c) to have steady work. PLAYBOY was a lot more exploitive of women than I perceived it to be at the time (or, at least, I perceive it that way now) and I did get rid of my PLAYBOYs because they seemed unhealthy in that sense.

SOME of the cartoons are an exception to that. I can't pretend that I don't find Gahan Wilson really, really funny because of the context his cartoons appeared in. Likewise Jules Feiffer. Likewise Sokol (although that's more because of his brilliant painting).

That was the same reason that I bought Dark Horse's LITTLE ANNIE FANNY volume one. It's "mannered" humour but it's brilliantly executed. The Annie Fanny bodies that Frazetta painted are among the best pieces of art I can think of.

And, in the case of our present subject, Will Elder's comedic painting of Kurtzman's visual humour. PAINTING humour is on a whole other plateau from DRAWING humour and Elder made it look easy.

I would always hang onto my LAF collection and PLAYBOY CARTOON collections for that reason. The subject matter, to me, is a very minor part of what it IS.

I'll find out on Judgement Day if God thinks that way as well.

25 comments:

MANUEL RUIZ said...

Hi Dave:

Sorry of the off-topic, but I want to say a huge THANK YOU VERY MUCH for the Xmas card you, very kindly,send to me. I wish that the Alex Raymond book I did send gives you all the good vibrations in the world to finish your highly anticipated and sure masterpiece (the part in Glamourpuss is as great as the rest of the book.. or even better!!)"THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND".

All the best!

MANUEL RUIZ said...

And here´s another off topic I want to share with you, Dave, as well as with every friend on this fantastic page: Have you ever heard about the doomed Jerry Lewis film "The day the clown cried"? Well, maybe for all of you it´s old hat, but for me has been an amazing recent discovery. And I thought that the Holy Grail of the doomed movies was Dennis Hopper´s masterpiece "The last movie"!!

I finished reading yesterday night the script of the "Clown" (It´s posted online), and the first thought that came to my mind was how great would be to see your very own interpretation of it. I picture in my mind, with your best "Judenhass" or "Latter days" (the part with Bergman, Allen, Fellini et al) style. Prose with photorealistic black and White pictures. It could be that GREAT!

Here you are the link for the Wikipedia entry, in the remote case you have no idea what I´m talking about.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Day_the_Clown_Cried

All the best!

Dave Sim said...

Hi Manuel -- Belated Feliz Navidad!

Personally, I think as a creator you have to respect the fact that Jerry Lewis -- AS a creator -- "deep-sixed" the project long ago and leave it alone. But, that is just my individual take on the question. All questions of what constitutes fair use of an intellectual property could best be described as "fluid" in 2016 and I think I'm safe in saying that they're only going to get more "fluid" as time goes by. What would be deemed infringement in 2016 isn't apt to be what's deemed infringement in the not-too-distant and distant future.

Thanks again for the ALEX RAYMOND family heirloom!

Jimmy Gownley said...

Hey, Dave...

Where do you rank Jack Cole as a painter? He is way up there for me, in spite of the relatively few pieces that were published.

MANUEL RUIZ said...

Dear Dave:

Of course I agree with you in the obligation of respect Jerry Lewis decisión to bury the Project. But he also have given the only existing copy of the film to the Library of Congress, with the condition of that the film will not see light until 2025. And, I don´t know if he has took part in a fantastic German documentary released this very year titled "Der Clown" about "The day the clown cried". A program that aired, for the very first time, whole sequences of the movie. If he took part, then he, as a creator, was allowing the people to watch it.

I have a personal opinión of why now, this movie, long time forgotten, is now receiving attention again. But, as Lewis very wisely pointed to a journalist "That´s not of (mine) goddam bussiness".

The only thing I´m sure is that this material in your hands will have as a result a masterpiece. Have zero doubts about it.

And a huge THANK YOU again for the beautiful card!

All the best!

MANUEL RUIZ said...

... And by the way. I´m a total computer illiterate, but I want to share with you and Jeff a couple of ideas I have for your great ongoing series Cerebus in Hell. Is there any email adress I can send privately? If you like, it´s all yours. If not, just throw it to the garbage can.

All the best!

Jeff Seiler said...

Dave? If I am being received of Senor Ruiz' idea/s of CIH?, I will be sure to be sending them to you and Jeff.

MANUEL RUIZ said...

Hi Jeff:

Do I just have to send the couple of ideas in the comments section (don´t expect something extraordinary, but at least one could do the trick in your hands), or there is another place I could send an email to you? As you prefer.

And please, call me Manuel :)

Thank You very much in advance!

Dave Sim said...

Jimmy - Of the PLAYBOY painting cartoonists, I'd rank Sokol WAY at the top -- particularly his early to mid-60s work -- followed by Jack Cole followed by Canadian Doug Sneyd.

My favourite Jack Cole is the silent one of the painter and a sultry girl model. The painter is putting the girl's navel into the painting and the girl is doubled over as if she's just been tickled. The contrast between the sultry painting and the girlish model is very comedic and beautifully painted.

I should maybe have expressed it as Innermost or INNERMOST motivation on the part of the LITTLE ANNIE FANNY artists. Did they really NEED to work at the Playboy Mansion or did they just want to be around all of the pretty young girls? I imagine that Adele Kurtzman would have been happier if Harvey had done his work at home and mailed it to Hefner. It seems to me a very unhappy species of adultery
-- but that would be known only to God and Harvey Kurtzman. Russ Heath was single but I'm not sure if that made a total difference.

WHAT are you doing and WHY are you doing it? Whatever the answer is, there's no point in trying to hide it from God, because you can't. He's omniscient.

Dave Sim said...

Jeff is being arch and ironic, Jeff is. :)

Comic Art Metaphysics in action that Manuel has confused Sandeep -- my tireless, hard-working and very funny co-creator on CEREBUS IN HELL? -- with Jeff Seiler. Payback of a kind, I think, for Sandeep reacting badly to Diamond getting his name wrong in PREVIEWS -- TWICE! -- on the solicitations for #1 and #2 (they've promised to fix it on #3 but Sandeep, justifiably, has his doubts). I've been trying to explain to him: the Comic Art Metaphysics is just homing in on the fact that you even looked for your name in PREVIEWS and has now upped the stakes: don't like it that they got your name wrong? What about you being confused with someone else completely?

Manuel - We're ALWAYS looking for CEREBUS IN HELL? gags: either described or in whatever rough form. You (or anyone who has one) can e-mail it/them to Sandeep at sandeep.s.atwal@gmail.com. I'm sure Sandeep will be happy to steal your ideas if they tickle his fancy. Or turn them into something else. Or give them to me.

If not, we'll be happy to throw them to the garbage can just as you say.

MANUEL RUIZ said...

Thanks Dave!

Jimmy Gownley said...

Dave- I agree with all of that.

Jeff Seiler said...

And, Manuel, I agree with all of that with which you have deigned to bestow upon us and Dave. In your own (nearly) inimitable style, you have refreshed, revitalized, yea, even invigorated AMOC during what is usually a "down" time of the year, posts-wise.

I thus, therefore, and ergo say, "You go, girl!". So to speak.

BTW, thanks for confusing me with Sandeep. It is a debt (as they say) I am most obliged to say that I can never repay.

Even though he still thinks I'm that bunker guy that lives in Knob Noster, Missouri.

(Sandeep? Seriously. Dried fruit, bottled water, and twelve feet of concrete.

Seriously. Consider it.)

If it happens...

I'm not sayin' it's GONNA happen...

BUT.

IF it happens...

You're gonna wanna back-up plan after the Simian-splosion.

Just sayin', dude.

"Damn dirty apes!"

And the beat goes on...

Jeff Seiler said...

Oh, and, Sandeep?

Here's an idea for CIH?:

The writer, a Canadian cartoonist, and an American reader/fan/supporter, and another person who just is a "yooooge" supporter (read: indentured servant), are stuck in a phone booth (remember those, boys and girls?) together, and blithe opinions ensue.

Writes itself, nu?

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

I would have paid above cover price for a narrative comic-book by Doug Sneyd. His characters' facial expressions always seemed perfect for what was just about to happen.

-- Damian

Barry Deutsch said...

For folks who are interested, here's the Jack Cole cartoon of the painter and the model that Dave described.

Jeff Seiler said...

THANK YOU, Barry!!!

Dave Sim said...

Damian - I think Fantagraphics has just solicited a book of Sneyd's PLAYBOY cartoon preliminaries. That was how the cartoonists pitched cartoons to Hefner with colour roughs. I prefer Sneyd's finished work, but I think it would be an interesting reference work for someone who was looking to see how spontaneous you can be with painted colour.

Tony Dunlop said...

Um, Barry...should've labeled that one "NSFW..."

Barry Deutsch said...

Oh, that's true. Sorry, Tony!

Dave, that Sneyd book sounds interesting.

Travis Pelkie said...

It's from Dark Horse, actually. They also recently did a collection of Sneyd strips as well. Can't find links right this second, though.

CerebusTV said...

I recall that when Dave Sim worked there (and when he didn't) that there were enormous stacks of Playboys in the back room at Harry Kremer's Now and Then Books. With such a rich source, we were able to pore over the many visuals and see the subliminal messages airbrushed into both ads and, um, er, upon close inspection, centerfold skintones.

Dave Sim said...

At 103 Queen St., they were on two shelves on a big bookcase in the second room on the right. One of my regular Saturday activities was finding an interview I hadn't read before -- I still had my own pile of PLAYBOYs at that time -- and reading it. The specific one that I remember was Timothy Leary. He definitely talked me into the fact that acid would be a good idea. I don't remember Harry having them at 90 Queen St. (which would have been post-1982).

CerebusTV said...

Pre-1982 at 103 Queen. I think it was before Thursday each week, when I'd drive Harry (and sometimes Dave) to the newsstand distributor where we got first dubs on the new comics before they were delivered to stores. That was before the direct market.

CerebusTV said...
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