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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tee Hee Hee!! It's Harvey Kurtzman's GIGGLING KILLER!

More great stuff from Harvey Kurtzman

This story was written and drawn entirely by Kurtzman for EC Comics CRIME SUSPENSTORIES #3, cover date Feb.-Mar. 1951. At this point, Kurtzman had been with EC for about a year and was starting to come into his own. His TWO-FISTED TALES had just come out a few months earlier, the first issue of his FRONTLINE COMBAT would emerge in July, and a little over a year later his creation MAD would transform humorous comics and impact popular culture irrevocably. 

His simple yet powerful imagery tells the story perfectly, as extraneous matter is eschewed for streamlined focus upon that which conveys the story only. This tale, as many others of his at this time, exemplified Kurtzman's masterful condensation of design, that feature becoming his trademark of sorts. As only he can, Kurtzman perfectly captures a mixture of humor, humanity, and horror, and he is able to shift these gears so fast that often the readers head spins. 

Kurtzman is aided and abetted  in this feat by Marie Severin, whose choice of simple, bold colors blend seamlessly to match Kurtzman's storytelling beautifully. Characters and objects are toned in solid primary shades, and all this compels us to relish the basic straightforwardness of presentation. It is laden with blocks of stark, contrasting hues, minimalist yet elegant. It is comparable to a simple hearty meal of  meat and potatoes, sans dainty frills, being in itself delicious and filling, and taking it in we find ourselves unmistakenly full and satisfied, needing absolutely no more to complete the sensory experience.

The end result is both fascinating and enjoyable. He is able to draw us in to the drama, and leads us through events that culminate almost too quickly, and we are left wanting more.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.





original cover - art by Johnny Craig

Originally published by EC Comics in 1951, 
my scans are from my reprint copy published by Russ Cochran in 1993.

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