Thursday, May 11, 2017

BOOK REVIEW! TRUMP---THE COMPLETE COLLECTION (Kitchen Sink Press, 2016)

For years I was under the impression that this Harvey Kurtzman just post-MAD project was gonna be the pornographiest of pornography if only because of the involvement of the Hugh Hefner PLAYSELF empire in backing this mag! Yes, vision of bullseyes, belly buttons, butts and bushes permeated my adolescent thought patterns after I read that description of said mag in the essential Les Daniels tome COMIX, and given that none other than the infamous Don Fellman himself said he thought TRUMP was a rather shady deal my attitude towards this particular publication was about that same that I'm sure the Clean Minds Committee had...naughty stuff here and best to hide in between the mattress and the spring box for those late night excursions, ifyaknowaddamean...

Now that the mag's two issues have been collected in book form and that cheapo peons like myself can settle back and read these sagas after all these years all I gotta say is...boy was my adolescent mind working overtime with this 'un! TRUMP ain't that durty and heck, HELP! was way durtier than this even though it wasn't that XXX to begin with, and it sure looks good what with the color pages and slick typesetting and all but...like the early MAD (and HUMBUG and HELP! for that matter) you have to wade through a lotta "eh!" material to get to the meat and potatoes funny stuff, of which there is some mind ya.

A lotta the spark of the original MAD magazine does pop up, and these mags do continue with that screwball Kurtzman style of yuks complete with the help of those MAD artists like Bill Elder and Jack Davis who not only appeared in not only a lot of Kurtzman's endeavors but a whole slew of other MAD swipes throughout the fifties and sixties. Sometimes the humor pops on all cylinders---the LI'L ABNER spoof is just as good as many of the funny page takeoffs that appeared in the original MAD comic book (and way better'n the comparatively trite LI'L MELVIN that showed up in PANIC---even Elder's mimicry was far better in the TRUMP take!) and the fold-out reconstruction of mid-twentieth century living as seen a million years from now could very well be Elder at his sneaky art best. Jack Davis' take on the old RIN TIN TIN television series was also worthy of his days with the original MAD  (not to mention HUMBUG) as was his "Engineering For Prosperity" article which was one of the first of many spoofs detailing faulty and deceptive products---in other words it's yet another one of those pieces which plenty of satire wags in the seventies would claim were the precursors of the big consumer protection movement that took the early portion of that decade by storm.

However ya just can't deny that, like in MAD, HUMBUG and HELP! there's a lotta misfire and filler to put up with. Elder's ETTA KETT spoof in #2 just doesn't cut the moostrick though that's probably due to the fact that this strip just wasn't as popular or as eye-grabbing as the more famous comics that were ripe for picking. The CANDID CAMERA takeoff done by Wallace Wood didn't elicit any real yuks (though it sure did serve as the springboard for a whole buncha spoofs MAD or otherwise) and the sexy paperback book covers just come off like a good way to stack up three pages with something that's supposed to be lascivious but ends up unfunny to the max. I could go on but if you've poured through any old MAD collection you'd get the idea of just how far off the mark some of these satires can get.

Like the other humor rags of the day it's pretty much take your pick. The big budget Hefner heaved on TRUMP helped out loads and I gotta admit to loving the dickens outta the unused painting showing some typical old tymey kids feeding everything from bugs and goldfish to a parakeet to the Venus Fly Traps in the grandfolk's hothouse (Elder did something quite similar, with some of the same models, in a great beer ad in MAD a year earlier). And hey, who can deny that fifties satire sure beats the stuffing outta current day humor which just comes off like a buncha bad taste utterances that's supposed to teach us peons the right way to live. Or something like that. But thankfully doesn't. But anyway, if post-MAD fun 'n jamz are your big thing you might just like this historical har har.

And oh, did I tell you that DOODLES WEAVER actually contributed an article to the first ish, the one featuring the sexy drawing of an alien insect creature ripping off the spacesuit of a sexy young femme that was illio'd in the aforementiond COMIX book (the very same pic that got me thinking that TRUMP was a mag not to tell the ol' man about)???

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