Tuesday, 1 January 2008

42 - Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder: Little Annie Fanny

by Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder in “Playboy”, January 1970

A tiny extract from January, 1970’s instalment of “Little Annie Fanny”. The strip, a luxuriously painted comic satire on social mores and sexual humour, had been running in “Playboy” since October 1962, but this is the first time there had been any hint of homosexuality. Kurtzman, the original creator of "Mad" magazine, had to submit all his work to Hugh Hefner who was a big admirer of Kurtzman. So if Kurtzman had made any previous attempts at humour about gays, they had all been nixed.
The shock of the joke is not just that the character portrayed is gay despite his appearance, but an actual joke about homosexuality has appeared in "Playboy". “Playboy” was a big part of the sexual revolution of the 60s, but even the vaguest possibility of homosexuality tended to be absent from its pages - both positive comment or any unpleasant sneering either. Omerta (manly silence).
By 1999, “Playboy” would have no problems printing the comic strip exploits of “Saturday Night Live”’s “Ambiguously Gay Duo”.


Ginger Mayerson www.hackenblog.com said...

There was another Little Annie Fanny that took place in a gay bar. Annie and her glasses-wearing feminist friend whose name I can't remember go to a gay bar, and the thing I remember is one panel as the girls pass by of Batman and Robin kissing. I've no idea when this strip ran, but I think it was around the time of the Batman TV show.

By the way, I love your blog. I blew in to the "What's a Faggot" Mad magazine post, which was brilliant all the way around, from a link from Pal Dorian. I've been reading ever since.


ukjarry said...

Thanks for reading.
The gay bar strip is from 1976,and I'll probably get around to posting it sometime in January. The point of posting this little throwaway gag, is that it was the first one that had made its way into "Annie fanny". Politics, racism, drugs, and all manner of things had been comic material, but there hadn't been even the slightest hint of homosexuality or even effeminacy until this gag. It's a good example too of Kurtzman's style, with the whooshing limbs reapeated from panel to panel and the big bold sound effects.