[Marxism] Fwd: Seven Decades of Satiric Cartoons Brighten These Dark Times | Village Voice

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jan 11 10:16:12 MST 2017

During a perambulating phone interview, I asked Paul Krassner why, in 
1958, he had christened his new satire magazine The Realist.

"I wanted to have a title that didn't say 'Funny Stories!' " he replied, 
adding with a laugh that he wanted readers to "discern for themselves 
whether something was real or fake." As the Realist Cartoons collection 
from Fantagraphics reveals, it wasn't just the magazine's title that 
foretold the bogus news and fact-challenged politics of our own age. The 
84-year-old Krassner ("The new 83!" he says sunnily) began his career as 
a satirist in 1955, when he sold an idea to MAD magazine — "What if 
comic-strip characters answered those little ads in the back of 
magazines?" The renowned comics artist Wally Wood illustrated Krassner's 
vision of Little Orphan Annie mailing away for Maybelline products to 
decorate her blank eyes and Dagwood bulking up from a 98-pound weakling 
so Blondie wouldn't be able to push him around anymore. (Although he 
then becomes so muscle-bound she kicks sand in his face as he lies 
helpless on the beach.) Krassner wanted to include Popeye's skinny 
girlfriend, Olive Oyl, ordering a set of falsies, but MAD's editor 
balked. The magazine's owner, Bill Gaines, told the young writer that 
such ideas were too adult; MAD had started out as a comic book, after 
all, and its circulation, still aimed at teenagers, was steadily 
climbing toward seven figures. When Krassner said he understood why 
Gaines didn't want to change horses midstream, the publisher replied, 
"Not when the horse has a rocket up its ass." That was the moment, 
Krassner says, when he conceived a satire magazine for adults. "I had no 
role models," he writes in the foreword to the new book, "and no 
competition, just an open field mined with taboos waiting to be exploded."


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