Apr 14, 2017
The 40 Years of Comics Project Friday Magazine 9: Crazy Magazine #12, August 1975
So, embarrassingly, I was unable to find a magazine in my collection that features any African-American creators. This is not to say that they're not there, only that the magazine portion of my collection is at this point catalogued only by title and number. Contents are on the way. So, instead, we'll have a quick look at Marvel's attempt at a humour magazine from the 1970s.
I have Crazy on my list of things to get because the inimitable Steve Gerber is the editor, and a contributor, to the features. But these kinds of magazines, Crazy, Mad, Cracked, aren't really my thing. The art within is excellent, no doubt. There's a real skill to good parody. And much of the writing is hilarious and subversive. But, as with many things, I find that by the time I reach the end of a magazine like this, it's all been a bit much. I like my snark and silliness, but perhaps in smaller doses.
Two features do stand out to me, however. First is Will Eisner's astrological comic strip and its send up of the Mafia characters that had catapulted to popularity thanks to The Godfather having been released a few years earlier. I'm occasionally uncomfortable with Eisner's work, as I think he treads a fine line between stylized representations of characters and outright racist depictions. The feature here does this, though its presence in a humour magazine skews it more toward caricature than cruelty.
The second feature is called "Gentle on my Mind," written by (and starring) Marv Wolfman, with photos by Michele Wolfman. I'm going to sca nit and post it here. It's two pages of humour comics that encapsulate with frightening accuracy the workings of a brain beset by anxiety and paranoia. In the mid-Seventies that's likely not what it was aiming for, but it's certainly what it achieved. What is interesting is that this was intended as a funny little strip about a brain that seems to hate its host, but in reading it from a contemporary point of view, it's a harsh and truthful reminder of what it's like to live with mental illness. Watch for it to go up here on the site in the next little while.
That's it for this week's magazine. I'm going to do my best to find one for next Friday that features and African-American creator. Onward!