Little Annie Fanny
Little Annie Fanny Volume 2
|Author(s)||Harvey Kurtzman & Will Elder|
|Current status / schedule||Concluded|
|Launch date||October 1962|
|End Date||September 1988|
Little Annie Fanny was a comic strip created by Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder for Playboy in October 1962. The inspiration for the comic strip was Harold Gray‘s Little Orphan Annie. The comic follows the escapades of Annie Fanny, a tall, blonde, amply breasted, round buttocked, curly-haired young female who seems to find herself in trouble and naked in each episode. The comic ran sporadically from 1962 to 1988. It had a short-lived rebirth in 1998.
After leaving Mad Magazine, Mr. Kurtzman and Mr. Elder with other colleagues crea
ted Trump and later Humbug. Both failed. A third attempt at a satirical comic magazine, Help! featured an episode where the main character, Goodman Beaver, attended a night of debauchery at the Playboy Mansion with the characters of Archie Comics. Archie Comics sued and won, but the cartoon caught the eye of Hugh Hefner. The comic was retooled where the male Candide type character of Goodman Beaver was transformed into the ultra-bosomy and leggy female, Annie Fanny.
The concept is that the title character is a busty and naïve waif who continually finds herself in various and bizarre situations where lusty men continually attempt to sexually molest or exploit her.
Most storylines would revolve around topical events and popular culture. Thus, a mid-1960s Annie episode would satirize Beatlemania, whereas a late-1970s installment might place the heroine inside a glittering disco. Sexual angles in the news, such as streaking, nudist resorts, or gay liberation were invariably pounced upon by Kurtzman & Co.
Little Annie Fanny made its publication debut in Playboy issue of October, 1962. The strip boasted lavish production values and fully painted panels of great detail, and as such the first fully painted feature in American comics. It was a great success, but very time-consuming for Kurtzman. The amount of work required a steady rotation of assistants. Kurtzman’s primary collaborator was fellow Mad Magazine alumnus Elder, but over the years, artwork was also provided by Jack Davis, Russ Heath, and Al Jaffee (all of whom also worked at Mad), as well as Larry Siegel, Robert Crumb and Gilbert Shelton. Most consisted of the group of artists that had worked together on Trump, a lavish, short-lived humor publication that had been fleetingly bankrolled by Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner.
Little Annie Fanny initially started as a monthly feature in 1962 and 1963, but quickly fell off, publishing six to seven episodes per in year in the late sixties. By the 1970s, only four to five episodes were published annually in the monthly magazine and only one to two per year in the eighties. Kurtzman ended the strip in 1988 when he felt he had run out of story material. However, Little Annie Fanny stories were based upon current pop-culture, topical political issues and topics of the time. Therefore, it is hard to argue he ran ou
t of story material when plenty was happening in the American political arena, cultural stage and daily events. The comic attempted a revival in 1998 with art by Ray Lago and Bill Schorr, but was not popular and was not continued.
The December, 1978 issue of Playboy mentioned a “world-wide search for the actress who will portray Little Annie Fanny in a live-action movie…” but no film was ultimately made.
In 2000, Mainframe Entertainment was approached by Playboy to create a CGI animated series based on Little Annie Fanny, but no actual series was produ
ced. As of 2009, it is unknown if the CGI animated series will be made.
Links to other comics
- The feature’s logo was an imitation of the one used in Sunday installments of Little Orphan Annie. Two of the supporting characters — Sugardaddy Bigbucks and the Wasp — were direct parodies of Daddy Warbucks and his longtime henchman, the Asp.
- In 1969, the British edition of Penthouse magazine launched the strip Oh, Wicked Wanda which was similar in vein, featuring storylines of a sexual and satirical nature. A character resembling Annie Fanny often appeared: in the opening episode she can be seen chained to a wall, one of her breasts blowing out like a balloon after being pierced by Wanda’s lesbian lover Candyfloss.
- In an article in Mad Magazine presenting hypothetical magazines from other planets, a spoof of Playboy includes a cartoon feature: “Little Annie’s Seven Fannies“
- Playboy’s Little Annie Fanny: Volume 1, 1962-1970. Milwaukie, Oregon: Dark Horse Comics, 2001, ISBN 1-56971-519-X
- Playboy’s Little Annie Fanny: Volume 2, 1970-1988, Milwaukie, Oregon: Dark Horse Comics, 2001, ISBN 1-56971-520-3