Friday, October 18, 2019
Number 2402: Humbug and Mad: variations on a theme
That summer I bought Humbug #1 at a local pharmacy. Later in the summer I bought Mad #35. Both of them took off on the image of Carroll Baker. Humbug did a more traditional satire, probably written by editor Harvey Kurtzman, and Mad did a 4-page mash-up of Williams’s plays, Baby Doll, A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Rose Tattoo, drawn by Wallace Wood. Despite my innocence, I “got” the Humbug satire, but was puzzled by Mad. That was because at the time I knew more about Tennessee Ernie Ford* than Tennessee Williams.
When looking at Humbug and its bad printing, it did not match Mad, but I recognized the names Harvey Kurtzman and Jack Davis from the Mad Reader paperback. (And Humbug cost 10¢ less than Mad; important for a kid with a small allowance.) I knew more about Mad than I did sex. Not impossible, because I knew nothing about sex except I liked looking at pictures of actresses like Carroll Baker, Marilyn Monroe, and especially the incredible Brigitte Bardot . . . sigh. Oops, I’m going off into a reverie. Sorry about that.
The Humbug scans come from my copy of Humbug #1, and the Mad scans come from the CD set, Totally Mad.
*From YouTube, Tennessee Ernie’s biggest hit, “16 Tons”.