I’m inspired. I’ve recently received, and am in the process of reading, two magnificent books of comic historical significance.
The first is Bob Andelman’s, WILL EISNER: A SPIRITED LIFE, which is the second and much improved edition of Bob’s classic biography of that comic legend. I’ve know I’ve said it before, but it deserves repeating: this is THE best book ever written about Eisner. Period. And even if you’ve read the first edition, you owe it to yourself to buy this one. It’s chock full of photos and artwork and new text, including interviews not contained in the first edition. (There is even a rare interview with this humble gumshoe.) Obviously, I recommend this book very highly.
The second book is equally awesome and that is Bill Schelly’s, HARVEY KURTZMAN: THE MAN WHO CREATED MAD AND REVOLUTIONIZED HUMOR IIN AMERICA. This thick tome (642 pages) is easily the most comprehensive and detailed biography of the mad genius, Kurtzman. I have quite a ways yet to go to finish the book, but skipping ahead I can see that it covers every aspect of Kurtzman’s life and career. A truly impressive work. And again, this book gets my highest recommendation.
As a visual appendix to Schelly’s book, below are scans from the October, 1962, issue of PLAYBOY featuring the first appearance of the Kurtzman/Elder strip, “Little Annie Fanny”. This is a far more demure version of “Annie” than you may remember, as she is depicted acting in “Mad Men” era commercials. It’s somewhat ironic that this “Annie” appears downright prudish in comparison to commercials running on television today.