Monday, February 18, 2008

Harvey != collaboration

Recently I started buying "The EC Archives" reissues from Russ Cochran publishing. My favorites are the "Weird
Science" comics, although I still love my original boxed set of the first 23 issues of "MAD" that Cochran published in the mid-80s. Both contain great quotes, and the "MAD" set is where the name "Harvey Loves Harvey" comes from.

Today I read this great quote in one of the "Weird Science" books penned by Cochran:
... Al Feldstein wrote all four stories in the first issue of Weird Science, including "Lost in the Microcosm," illustrated by Harvey Kurtzman. This is the only EC story to be written by Feldstein and illustrated by Kurtzman.
Kurtzman was eager to break away from Feldstein's method of writing and start writing his own stories...

Later in the same narrative, Kurtzman says:
There were two differences between Al Feldstein's approach and mine: Al wrote fast, I wrote slow. And Al let the artist compose the pictures; I storyboarded everything.

I find it really interesting that Harvey Loves Harvey, a project devoted to collaboration and the culmination of work that is larger than one individual, is named after someone who clearly could not collaborate with others. Even in an industry as collaborative as comics, Kurtzman needed to be the leader, the singular vision, the boss -- all the things we are against in Harvey Loves Harvey.

Bill Gaines looks over a story by Artist/Writer Harvey Kurtzman. Kurtzman created some of the most realistic war stories ever produced for EC's Two-Fisted Tales and Frontline Combat. But he is best known for his brainchild which revolutionized the world of humor. It's title: Mad. [image found here]

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