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Harvey Kurtzman & Will Elder ~ The Complete Guide To Little Annie Fanny

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Kurtzmand & Elder at the Playboy Club
Kurtzmand & Elder clowning  at the Playboy Club

Harvey Kurtzman & Will Elder came to fame as the founding writer, editor and artists of Mad Comics and Mad Magazine in the 1950s. In the 1960s they created the ongoing comic strip Little Annie Fanny, a parody of Little Orphan Annie, for Hugh Hefner in Playboy Magazine. Though Annie may be snubbed as lowbrow sex humor by many, it represented the last and longest running work by these two graphic artist geniuses. Here, for the first time, is the complete listing of every installment of Little Annie Fanny ever published. The entire run was available in trade paperback published by Dark Horse, but it has since gone out of print with used copies going for as much as $100 apiece.

Kurtzman’s satire involving a naive young man named Goodman in his Help! Magazine of the early sixties was the inspiration for the characters.Goodman_Goes_Playboy_page_2_panel_3

From Wikipedia: Each episode of the comic strip was designed and written by Kurtzman and rendered in oil, tempera, and watercolor by Elder. Hefner edited each episode, often requiring detailed changes to ensure that the series remained true to the magazine’s editorial style. Critical reaction was mixed, with most praising the elaborate, fully painted comic, but some dismissing it as falling short of Kurtzman’s full potential.

Art agent and publisher Denis Kitchen, who handles Kurtzman and Eisner’s estates, said that “most Kurtzman devotees would not consider Little Annie Fanny genius work¬†… [and] some would argue the opposite: that it was genius diluted or degraded”. Kitchen placed the onus on Kurtzman’s employer Hefner, who “was often a punctilious taskmaster with a heavy red pen who often had very different ideas about what was funny or satiric” and insisted that each strip “had to include Annie disrobing

Kurtzman worked with several different artists over the years in order to make deadlines, including Jack Davis and John Severin, but Elder produced the lion’s share of the pages. In total, Kurtzman turned out 109 episodes totaling 393 pages from 1962 to 1988, the majority of them in the 1960s. Playboy, which owned the strip, rebooted it in 1998, ten years after Kurtzman’s last installment. It ran only 7 time over three years before Annie was permanently retired.

Fanny

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