Thursday, August 24, 2017

HELP! by Harvey Kurtzman with Robert Crumb, Gilbert Shelton and John Cleese

Below are the last three issues of HELP! published in 1965. HELP! was the last major magazine that Harvey Kurtzman created. For the uninitiated, Kurtzman was the creator of Mad Magazine, which was a color comic book it's first 23 issues (1952-1955) before transforming into a B&W magazine with its 24th issue. Not only was he responsible for creating a certain type of satirical humor that inspired numerous artists, writers, comedians, and filmmakers in the wake of its success, but he created, edited, wrote, designed and drew some of the best anti-war comics in the early 50's while still at EC Comics.

After leaving Mad, Kurtzman created a short lived satire magazine for Hugh Hefner's publishing company before Hef pulled the plug after 2 issues. He then created Humbug with his friends and fellow artists that was creatively brilliant but sold poorly due to distribution issues. That title folded after 11 issues. Then, in 1960 he created HELP! for James Warren's company. HELP! lasted 5 years and was produced on a tight budget. The pages were mostly filled with fumetti comics (photo comics) but throughout its 5-year run, it had it's inspired moments. The creative people that worked on the magazine or had early work published is astonishing. Robert Crumb, Terry Gilliam, Gloria Steinem, Will Elder, Jack Davis, Skip Williamson, Woody Allen, Jay Lynch, Gilbert Shelton, John Cleese, to just name a few, were involved in some capacity over the course of its run.

Kurtzman was a major influence of the late 60's and 70's underground comix movement, and as you can see from the names above, quite a few were published by the magazine for the first time. Heck, even the photo comics inspired Crumb to produce some of his own for the early issues of Weirdo magazine that he created in 1981.

The issues below have a healthy dose of early Robert Crumb, Gilbert Shelton and one of the funniest and demented fumetti funnies of the run starring future Monty Python, John Cleese. By the way, this is the magazine where Cleese met Terry Gilliam, who was the art director for the magazine. HOOHAH!

Here's a link where you can download quite a few issues of HELP! for free. Don't worry Mr. or Ms. Law Abiding Citizen, it's legit. 

Help #24 1965

Help #25 1965

Help #26 1965

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for these posts.
    I've always wanted to see Help! magazine.