Thursday, May 18, 2017

V.Gene Myers on Harvey Kurtzman

This happened almost by accident. You'll remember, I blogged about Esquire magazine's cartoons. I had posted about Bob Mankoff coming onboard at Esquire Magazine. And I then put a sampler of old gag cartoons from Esquire up on the blog. This all reminded my friend, gag cartoonist V. Gene Myers, about his experiences with then-Esquire magazine cartoon editor Harvey Kurtzman.

V. Gene recalled that during the 1970s, he had sold some cartoons to Esquire in the 1970s, when Harvey Kurtzman was its cartoon editor. I never knew that Kurtzman was the cartoon editor! Mr. Myers very kindly volunteered some edits that Kurtzman had made on his (Myers') drawing. If you know Kurtzman, you know that he would place a piece of tracing paper over an original with comments and drawings directed to the artist as to how to change it to make it better. Kurtzman was, truly, a hands-on editor. And Mr. Myers kept the edits!

My sincere thanks for sharing this and I am glad it all happened. Here is V. Gene Myers:

"Here is a 'rough' gag I sold to Esquire in the 70's when Harvey Kurtzman was cartoon editor. The notes were on an overlay of tracing paper for me to change for the finished drawing.
"The one page reads:
"'Needs a tight rendering, particular emphasis on dead man's hand and spoon-spilled soup on the counter top. If Myers comes in, I'd like to meet/talk with him. HK.'
"I did meet with him and it was great! Nice guy, funny guy, and always nice to me whenever I would see him. Wrote great notes on each gag. I have another where he wrote, 'Wowee! Kazowee! Funny gag!'"

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