It’s a little known bit of historical comics trivia that Harvey Kurtzman’s first work for EC appeared in a commercial giveaway comic intended to educate readers on the symptoms and treatment of syphilis. Set in the old West, Lucky Fights It Through reveals a talented young artist — Kurtzman was about 25 at the time — who was already in full command of the bold, energetic, appealing style that would carry him through the rest of his career in comics — although the influence of Milton Caniff, so obvious here, would quickly fade — and it is entirely due to Kurtzman’s artistry and irreverence that, unlike most “educational comics,” Lucky has remained a compelling read for anyone who appreciates great performances in comics no matter what the venue or occasion; so compelling, in fact, that the story was not only reprinted, in its entirety, in colour in the EC fanzine Squa Tront #7 in 1977, but also appeared in glorious black and white in the 112-page “trade paperback” comics reprint collection Teen-Aged Dope Slaves and Reform School Girls in 1989, some forty years after its original publication in 1949. If you’re curious to read the comic for yourself, the blog Hairy Green Eyeball II has had the colour reprint available for your viewing/reading pleasure since 25 August 2008, and as of today, RCN has the black-and-white reprint, posted below. Enjoy!
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