Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Conflict of Pages

Harvey Kurtzman was a man who loved the daily strips, but couldn't resist making fun of the inherent ridiculous elements in many of them. But rather than snarkily just mention it and moving on, he took the joke much further.

George McManus's BRINGING UP FATHER (example above)was primarily about Irish Immigrant Jiggs who loved to drink, gamble, and eat. His wife on the other hand wanted to climb up the social ladder, and when Jiggs attempted too weasel out of situations--parties, events-- to do so she would beat the crap out of him(she was twice his size).

Herein lies Kurtman's humor, in Mad magazine #17 he make a parody story where he would have the great Will Elder draw odd numbered pages in starkly close mimicry of McManus's art style. [Looks pretty similar to the one above doesn't it? Elder was exceedingly good at duplicating many styles.]

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Now for the sucker punch; every even page would be drawn by Bernie Krigstein, who had a more heavy joyfully depressing style. Quite a contrast, no?

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I think this not only proves the great talent of all involved, but a perfect example of how representation of subject matter can creat totally different tone. Also puts succinctly the duality of many holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas included.

1 comment:

Weirdo said...

That is an excellenet piece of storytelling. Both Bill Elder and Bernie Krigstein are great artists. Where did you find this?

I've always said you can change comedy to tragedy and vice versa. For example, you can make Shakespeare's "Macbeth" into a dark comedy (and they have), while "The Taming of the Shrew" can be turned into a psychodrama about abusive relationships.