KURTZMAN's Preliminary Art: INSTANT HELP! Paperback
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Lot 0145 Details
Author: [Original Comic Art] Kurtzman, Harvey
Title: Instant Help! Paperback Color Cover Concept
Date Published: c.1963
Mixed media painting with two photomechanical pastedowns on bristol. Approx. 4.5" x 7.25". Drawn on the back of a storyboard for Kurtzman's classic "Goodman Beaver Goes Playboy" (1962), a satire on the hedonistic lifestyle of Hugh Hefner using parodies of Archie comics characters, identifiable by partial phrases pencilled on the verso: "Archie... you make...you're... Roman orgy... Click... The news is such a drag, Goodman... Well no, that's why we're getting married..."). Excellent condition.
A rare example of Harvey Kurtzman's original art from the early 1960s. Instant Help! was to have been the magazine's third paperback collection, following Fast Acting Help! and Second Help!-ing, but it never saw print. In hindsight it's plain that Kurtzman's genius had risen to meet the challenges his idiosyncratic Help!, but the practical market was another matter. The design features a panicky head drowning in a sea of red ink, with an approaching shark fin signaling doom: Kurtzman's fatalistic assessment about the prospects of his latest publishing venture. The image is reminiscent of the final cover of Kurtzman's brilliant, ill-fated Humbug and underscores Kurtzman's awareness of his streak of bad business luck. This cover concept was published in Denis Kitchen's The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics [Abrams: 2009].
Provenance: From the Harvey Kurtzman Estate
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