Fabulous Harvey Kurtzman collection


Joey Anuff tells the story of how he came into possession of a giant treasure trove of Harvey Kurtzman original art. (Kurtzman is best known as the founder of Mad and creator of the Little Annie Fanny comic strip that ran in Playboy.)

Here's an excerpt:

Take a look at the scan gallery I've assembled below and you'll get a sense of what Denis showed us: the virgin files of the Harvey Kurtzman Estate. A publisher's estate spanning three publications — Trump, Humbug, and Help! — and an artist's estate rich in work from the least-familiar, most mature decade of his career, roughly 1955-1965.

Picture setting your grubby eyes and paws on all that Holy Grail material — not just the stuff below but also roughs and finals for seemingly every Humbug page, the entire Jungle Book minus the cover, a pile of amazing Annie breakdowns, among other lost treasures — and not instantly scheming ways to smuggle it home. As a graduate of both the late-'90s tech bubble and the late-'80s comics boom, and as a market-averse twenty-something in search of a safe haven for his chumpy change, it wasn't long before I'd convinced myself that in the Kurtzman Estate, I was finally looking, at long last, at a 401(k) I could actually believe in.

Superyachtsman (and VC) Tom Perkins is said to have made his motto "When you have a great opportunity, push all the chips, all the resources that you can, to the center of the table." Something along those lines (more likely, something about Greatest Fools) became my motto that summer as Denis and I inched through terms. And after some no-nonsense pricing on my part, a nice meeting with Adele Kurtzman herself at the '99 San Diego Comic Con, and a thorough hi-res digitization by the Kitchen Art Agency, I finally became the tingly-toed owner of approximately 40 lbs. of blue-chip comic book art.

Joey's Harvey Kurtzman collection