Trump: Playboy + MAD+ Dark Horse = Something MUCH Better Than You’re Thinking

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Oh, that cartoon guy with the funny hair tooting his own horn may look familiar, but trust me, he’s not only got NOTHING to do with what’s going on down in D.C., he was around before that name was a big deal. Dark Horse Comics’ second volume in its Essential (Harvey) Kurtzman series just so happens to be the complete collection of Trump, a swanky satire magazine published by Playboy from 1956-57. While only two issues made it to newsstands and a third was aborted, the talent on display was tops (Mel Brooks, Will Elder, Jack Davis, Wally Wood, Al Jaffee, Russ Heath, Arnold Roth and more). Unfortunately the upscale satire mag folded up shop and pretty much sunk into obscurity save for hard core collectors who’ve tracked down and saved a handful of copies over the decades.

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Dark Horse comes to the rescue once again with another find hardcover collection, Trump: The Complete Collection – Essential Kurtzman Volume Two (MSRP $29.99). Both full issues are here plus what would have been a third issue had the magazine stayed around. As both a slice of magazine history and collection of outstanding comic illustration from some of the greats of the era, the detailed notes on every bit of art, letters to and from principals involved and other elements lend a great insight into what worked and what went wrong. It’s a “Come for the curiosity, stay because you’re learning stuff’ read that comes highly recommended even if you’re not a fan of top notch late 50’s satire.

Granted, I’m as old as dirt, so I love the corny but reliably amusing jokes here as well as that gorgeously detailed art. As with Harvey Kurtzman’s Jungle Book: Essential Kurtzman Volume 1, plopping this on your coffee table will automatically make your friends think you’re a sly, sophisticated guy or gal with a super cool sense of humor. Hmmmm, perhaps Dark Horse out to zip over both tomes to that kinda cranky guy who needs a big laugh? Provided he makes it past the cover without blowing a gasket, I think it might generate half a laugh. I hope.

– GW

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Random Film of the Week(end): Mister Freedom

Mr Freedom PosterAll this Sony madness surrounding The Interview made me think of a few films that either got some controversy upon their release in other countries, but I also thought of William Klein’s never released to the western public Mister Freedom, a masterpiece of absurdity that begs to be seen. Take the overall wackier bits from Dr. Strangelove, add in a jingoistic, xenophobic, sexist, quick to rile all-American superhero modeled after Superman and Captain America, add a ton of absurd visual elements and shake well.

For a film made in 1969, this one so far ahead of its time that some viewers may be shocked at what they see taking place. On the other hand, the film also shows that old adage “The more things change, the more they stay the same” is all too true in terms of politics and other targets ripe for satire. Klein, a famed fashion photographer and American expatriate living in France, made one of those films that will outrage some and make the rest laugh at as well as with it exactly as its director intended… Continue reading