Humbug Humbug complete
Met Will Elder, Jack Davis, Al Jaffee, Arnold Roth.
When editor Harvey Kurtzman left the original, comic-book-format MAD to helm the Playboy-size Trump for Hugh Hefner, he took the best MAD artists along with him. Most stayed with Kurtzman when Hefner shut down Trump but let the staff retain its offices to produce Humbug. Owned equally by Kurtzman and four artists, Humbug lasted only from August 1957 to August 1958 but realized, more fully than anything else Kurtzman edited, his dream of a topical satire magazine primarily for adults. Kurtzman packed Humbug’s 32 pages with movie and TV parody comics like those that dominated his MAD; single-panel and sequence cartoons similar to the New Yorker’s; prose parodies of popular novels with, usually, one illustrative cartoon; parody product advertisements; and spoofs of popular-magazine articles on such pop-culture staples as child care, dieting, physical fitness, sports, and trends. All of Humbug except the Trump reprints that plumped up the final issue is in this set, along with an appreciative introduction and a long interview with Humbug co-owners Al Jaffee and Arnold Roth. It’s the dawning of contemporary satire in a box. --Ray Olson