Research Assignment 01
January 27, 2009
Harvey Kurtzman, the creator of the infamous Mad Magazine, is known for his huge impact on the United States; the New York Times claiming him "one of the most important figures of postwar America." Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York Kurtzman devoted his life to creating cartoon stories. Harvey Kurtzman was a cartoonist from a young age. As a child he drew Ikey and Mikey as comic strips done in chalk on his neighbor's sidewalks. At the age of fifteen, he won the Tip Top Comics contest and won the publication of his work and one dollar. At eighteen he had his break working for Lou Ferstadt who published Prize and Ace.
After acquiring a position under the name of Bill Gaines EC Comics, Kurtzman created a now worldly known Magazine titled Mad. Known for it's style of humor, if did not do to well until the fourth issue came out with a parody of Superman called "Superduperman!" After the twenty-third issue of Mad, a regular character would appear on the face on every Mad cover. The "What, me worry?" kid name Alfred E. Neuman became the renowned mascot for Mad Magazine. There is no historical evidence of where the "idiot kid" had come from. It is said that there is some evidence that Neuman's photo was used as an advertisement. Kurtzman found this face on a postcard and wanted be on the cover of Mad. When he first saw it he recalled "It was a face that didn't have a care in the world, except mischief." Mad Magazine was then sued for copyright infringement, a women stating that she had right to the image. Mad Magazine fought and proved that they used material that dated back to 1911. The lawsuit was unsuccessful.
Until his death in 1993, Harvey Kurtzman is still looked upon as a magazine icon. Much of the older readers look back at these issues and use them as a refreshing reader. Still today Alfred E. Nueman is the mascot of Mad Magazine and still today this release fresh laugher into their articles. From a recent article, it's a formation between Barack Obama and Alfred E. Nueman (with his signature gaped tooth) holding a sign that states, "Yes, we can't."