We’ve discussed the New York Herald Tribune‘s filler strips before (here and here and here and here for instance), and yes, most of them are pretty bad. One, however, stood head and shoulders above the rest. Silver Linings was by Harvey Kurtzman, for my money one of the greatest cartoonists of the past century. The vast bulk of his work was in comic books, of course — he was the father of Mad magazine, a guiding force behind the EC war comics, and produced arguably one of the most innovative series ever to appear between the covers of a comic book, the one-pager Hey, Look series that ran in the humor titles of Timely Comics in the 1940s.
Silver Linings is essentially a compacted version of Hey, Look. It shares that wild minimalist art style and constantly breaks the so-called fourth wall as in the second sample reproduced here. It has to be considered a tribute to the myopia of the comics editor at the H-T — who could be so clueless as to not sign Kurtzman for a regular comic strip series when he saw the first samples of Silver Linings? No wonder the Herald-Tribune never had much success in syndicating their comic strips with somebody like that at the helm.
Kurtzman produced the series for the Herald-Tribune from March 7 through June 20 1948. In that period the filler strip had nine appearances.