Deconstructing Comics #468: Harvey Kurtzman’s MAD

MADWhile early 1950s anti-comics hysteria eventually resulted in the cancellation of nearly all their books, EC Comics still had one thing going for them: MAD! Written by Harvey Kurtzman and drawn by some of the best comics artists of the age, this parody comic set the template for much that came after it. But can the humor still be appreciated today? What are we to think of some of the attitudes on display toward, say, women or certain ethnic groups? Tim and Kumar discuss.

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Deconstructing Comics #455: Streetwise

Streetwise

When Kumar was in Toronto in May and met up with Koom, one topic that came up was a 2000 anthology book called Streetwise, featuring autobiographical stories by a number of well-known comics artists (including Jack Kirby, Sergio Aragones, Paul Chadwick, Joe Kubert, John Severin & Roy Thomas, Walter Simonson, Rick Veitch, and Barry Windsor-Smith). This week, with Kumar back in Australia, they chat via Skype/phone about an overlooked book that’s worth a look.

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Deconstructing Comics #243: “Frontline Combat”

EC Comics are primarily remembered as gruesome horror stories, but the company published in other genres as well. One EC staple was war comics, which enjoyed great popularity during the Korean War. One such title was Frontline Combat, the comic that dared to admit that “Marines retreat!” The now-huge names behind the series — Harvey Kurtzman, John Severin, Jack Davis, Wally Wood, and more — primarily intended it as an anti-war book, but is it? Is it possible to simultaneously portray war as horrible, and painstakingly present the tanks and guns in all their glory? Tim and Kumar discuss.

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