Bill Peckmann &Comic Art &Daily post &Illustration 17 Nov 2011 07:58 am

Kurtzman’s “Lucky” and “Cagney”

- We seem to have run out of pieces that Kurtzman and Davis have worked together in creating. So this week, Bill Peckmann has supplied me with two pieces. Today we have one on Harvey and tomorrow we have a special one from Jack.

- Here’s a story by Harvey Kurtzman that Bill Peckmann recently contributed. Bill writes:

    Here’s a Kurtzman collection that could be called, “10 years, what a difference time makes”. The first piece of work was done in 1949 and the second piece was done in 1959.

In 1949 Harvey did a comic book story titled “Lucky Fights It Through”.
It was the first piece of work he did for EC. It was a 16 page educational
comic done for the public by EC Comics when they were in the process of
transitioning from “Educational” to “Entertaining” comics.

Even though it wasn’t done for one of EC’s main titles, it did get Harvey
through the door, he was able to show his prowess, the editors noticed
and the rest is history.

The scans are from a reprinted version that appeared in
John Benson’s fanzine “Squa Tront”, issue No. 7.












The End

The year is 1959. MAD magazine, TRUMP magazine and HUMBUG
are all history for Harvey Kurtzman. He had to turn to free lance work.
Fortunately at that time, Harold Hayes editor of Esquire magazine was
a big Kurtzman fan and gave Harvey this story,
“Assignment: James Cagney In Ireland”, to do.

Hayes sent Harvey to cover the shooting of Cagney’s “Shake Hands With The Devil” movie. The film set was in Dublin and this is Harvey’s take on the whole experience. It’s one of the best things he ever did.



Here’s Harvey’s rough for the last page of the Esquire story.
It’s taken from “The Art of Harvey Kurtzman, The Mad Genius
Of Comics” by Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle.
The book contains the whole Esquire Cagney story plus all of
Harvey’s roughs for the story. This alone is worth the cover price
of this excellent/outstanding book on Harvey and his work.

Many thanks to Bill Peckmann for assembling this post.

3 Responses to “Kurtzman’s “Lucky” and “Cagney””

  1. on 17 Nov 2011 at 1:27 pm 1.The Gee said …

    I haven’t looked at every page but that’s awesome stuff.
    The Cagney story is way cool. I’m an advocate of comics journalism. It is great to know Esquire commissioned some and that Kurtzman did some.

    As for the consequences of the ignorant cowboy kicking his boots…I didn’t read all of it but…wow…educational topics back then were more than stories about Abe Lincoln and George Washington and their use of axes and hatchets. I learned something. I shouldn’t be an ignorant cowboy.

  2. on 17 Nov 2011 at 2:01 pm 2.Eric Noble said …

    Beautiful work all around! Harvey Kurtzman is a phenomenal storyteller. I loved that Lucky cowboy story. THe drawings there a re a bit reminiscent of Milton Caniff. Thank you both for sharing this.

  3. on 17 Nov 2011 at 2:37 pm 3.Bill said …

    in those days, Milton Caniff was THE high water mark of his profession. He set the tone for a generation of cartoonists. Most were wonderful, competent clones but guys like Harvey, Jesse Marsh and Alex Toth stood on his shoulders and turned it into their own exceptional “thing”. Kind of the way Caniff was influenced by Noel Sickles. Harvey gave that 1940′s style an animated human dynamic which hadn’t been seen before or hasn’t been seen since.

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