Tuesday, March 22, 2011

John Severin - The Mad Cartoonists - part 14

John Severin hits "Mad" the comic book #3 from 1952 with Harvey Kurtzman's "Melvin!".

If you'll notice, this is the first "Mad" satire which picks a topic outside the walls of EC Comics. While Jack Davis ("Lone Stanger!"), Wally Wood ("Superduperman!") and Bill Elder ("Dragged Net!", "Shadow!") would get to do them over the next 2 issues, Severin got to do the first needling of a genuine pop-culture icon. And do it right, he did.

By 1952, Tarzan had already been on the American landscape for nearly half a century. Movies (both silent and talkie), serials (both silent and talkie, again), magazines, pulp novels, comic strips, comic books, radio, soon to be television and even kicking off it's own genre of adventure stories with countless immitators of jungle man, woman and boy stories popping up everywhere. This was a broad target, and maybe Kurtzman's foot-in-the-water of this kind of stuff. When there's so many imitators out there already, he could easily avoid copyright violation.

Who's to say it's Tarzan he's mocking and not one of a dozen other white ape men?

I do.


Beautiful stuff!

Talk to you soon.

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