DescriptionHarvey Kurtzman MAD #24 First Magazine Issue Preliminary Cover Original Art (EC, 1955). This museum-quality item is historically important as the very beginning of MAD Magazine (issues #1-23 of the series were in a smaller comic book format), the time-honored humor publication that is with us still, and hopefully will always be. This is the very first conception/origin and drawing of MAD's distinctive logo/trademark; it's also editor/artist Harvey Kurtzman's first drawing of the magazine's gap-toothed mascot, Alfred E. Neuman. Although Kurtzman personally guided MAD through its early comic book format with issues 1-23, his time with the revamped magazine would be painfully short; after a dispute with publisher William Gaines over ownership, he left the magazine not long after this first historic magazine issue.
Kurtzman's confident and spontaneous line work on the satiric border reflects the comic genius at the peak of his talent. This is the very first realization of the logo that would become iconic; it would strongly influence others, most notably Robert Crumb and his covers for Weirdo in the 1980s. This art appears in Denis Kitchen's Art of Harvey Kurtzman (Abrams, 2009, page 108).
This preliminary original hung for many years at the home of Harvey and Adele Kurtzman; it was his only souvenir of that bittersweet time. The artwork, in ink and crayon on onionskin paper, certainly shows its age. There is a tear that divides the art in two, which was held together by old masking tape, which also was used to attach it to a backing board. The image area measures 8" x 10.5". Overall condition is Fair. This landmark issue's significance in the world of American comics and satiric humor is difficult to overstate. If you have ever laughed out loud at something you saw in MAD as a kid, this is your Holy Grail! From the Estate of Harvey Kurtzman.
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