JUNGLE BOOK by
HARVEY KURTZMAN. (3rd printing 1988)
We won't mince words. This is simply one
of the most influential comic creations of all time. Created
in 1959 by MAD-founder Harvey
Kurtzman after two crushing failures (Trump and
Humbug), Jungle Book was created for paperback
book pioneer Ian Ballantine. It was the very first paperback
of all original comics and arguably was the first graphic novel
as well. There are four stories, each parodying an element of
popular culture: "Theolonius Violence" is a take-off
on the then-popular TV detective show Peter Gunn, complete
with blaring jazz riffs in the background and ---what else is
new?--- heavy doses of violence. "Organization Man in the
Grey Flannel Executive Suite" is a jaundiced look at the
publishing industry. It's partially autobiographical---based
on Kurtzman's stint at publisher Martin Goodman's
Atlas/Marvel/men's magazine sweat shop in the '40s.
This story also introduces Goodman
Beaver, whose later adventures (in
collaboration with Will Elder) appeared in Help!
magazine and who later morphed, oddly enough, into Playboy's
Little Annie Fanny. "Compulsion on
the Range" parodies TV's long-running Gunsmoke in
particular and westerns in general. The final story, "Decadence
Degenerated," is a dark but hilarious look both into the
minds of men and into the deep south of the '50s. Jungle Book
is an undeniable classic. Its impact on a generation of underground
cartoonists has been acknowledged by R. Crumb, Denis Kitchen
and Art Spiegelman, who provides a hand-lettered "Intro."
Spiegelman refers to keeping "the loose yellowed
pages" of his tattered Ballantine edition of Jungle Book
"in a plastic bag ...handled with all the care of due
a sacred text."
The Intro is followed by an "Outro"
by Harvey Kurtzman and Dave Schreiner. Jungle
Book is also unusual and special in that it represents "pure"
Harvey Kurtzman, an artist's artist. It's one of the relatively
few creations he wrote, pencilled and inked himself (see also
Grasshopper and the Ant, Hey Look!, and his E.C.
This is the 3rd printing of the softcover edition published by Kitchen
Sink Press in 1988. For the first time, Kurtzman's
amazing original art was shot in high resolution and printed
the way it should have been in 1959. New edition measures 6 3/8"
Like new condition. Too long out of print!
Original Art if you are interested in purchasing Kurtzman
Jungle Book original art.]