Long before Donald Trump caused a facepalm tsunami among the majority of America’s voters, a funnier, more benign Trump was an underground comic from none other than Playboy’s Hugh Hefner and Mad Magazine creator Harvey Kurtzman.
Now, Dark Horse is publishing the two published and a third unpublished issues of the 1950s satire magazine in a 184-page hardcover Trump: The Complete Collection: Essential Kurtzman Volume Two, making them available for the first time in sixty years.
“This is like unearthing King Tut’s tomb for comics fans,” says Denis Kitchen, who wrote the essays and annotations for the collection, and co-edited it with John Lind. C. S. Fossett designed the book. (A vol. 1 also exists for die-hard Kurtzman fans.)
Editor and artist Kurtzman and publisher Hefner created Trump as a more ambitious, wide-ranging, and colorful magazine than the black-and-white Mad. Armed with an unlimited budget from Hefner, Kurtzman recruited artists Al Jaffee, Arnold Roth, and Russ Heath, and writers including Mel Brooks.
The business-minded Hefner pulled the plug after only two issues and a third in production, explaining, “I gave Harvey Kurtzman an unlimited budget, and he exceeded it.”