This week I’m back with a copy of Help Magazine # 1, cover dated August 1960. It’s published by General Promotions Co., Inc. which I believe is business actually run by James Warren. Though the man behind the magazine is none other than Harvey Kurtzman.
Kurtzman found fame originally at EC Comics, but could not produce enough work fast enough to make a good living, so he and William Gaines put their heads together and came up with the idea for MAD Magazine.
MAD began as a comic book size magazine parodying comic books and comic strips, but soon changed to magazine size. Kurtzman wrote every story in the first twenty-three (23) issues of MAD.
In a dispute over money and ownership of the magazine, Kutzman left and joined up with Hugh Hefner, of Playboy fame, and published Trump. But do to financial difficulties that Hefner ran into they were only able to publish two (2) issues.
Next up, Kurtzman started a new magazine, again published comic book size. This one was entitled; Humbug. It managed to last eleven (11) issues before folding. Kurtzman then hooked up with Ballantine Books and they published Harvey Kurtzman’s Jungle Book in 1959. Sales did not warrant any additional books unfortunately!
Finally Kurtzman came to publish Help Magazine, with this first issue cover dated August 1960. This magazine was much more successful and he published twenty-six (26) issues between 1960 and 1965.
Help, like the earlier Kurtzman magazine were very similar in scope to MAD. It is a satire magazine at heart and ran articles, fumetti photos and comic strips. Here is the cover of issue number one, featuring comedian Sid Caesar, as the Roman Emperor Caesar.
The magazine is sixty-four (64) pages of, as the back cover clearly states; baloney, all sliced up into exciting little pieces. Take a look:
Here is an example of one of the comic strips from the first issue:
And here is an example of one of the fumetti pages:
This ought to give you a pretty good idea of the contents of this issue. Personally, I like MAD Magazine better, but there are bits and pieces that are great within Help’s run. But I do not think there is enough good stuff per issue.
You can generally find copies on eBay, but I would not suggest paying big bucks if you decide to give them a try. I think I have about ten (10) or twelve (12) of the twenty -six (26) issues in my collection, but do not plan to try to complete all the issues.
That’s all for this edition. be seeing you …