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The argument can be made -- and has been made very well -- that American comedy of the past five decades owes its existence and style largely to this unassuming little raised-middle-finger of a comic, William Gaines' brutal, brilliant, brave broadside directed squarely at the heart of post-war American culture. It was a nearly instant smash hit, inspiring dozens of often dreadful imitators, and eventually morphed into a black and white magazine that became even more influential and world-famous throughout the 1960s and 1970s, but it was this full-color blast of sick humor that was a nuclear explosion going off in the minds of impressionable young readers and hip comedy mavens. One of the rare instances in which a series' style and tone was dead-on from the very first page, this outlandish first issue allowed Gaines and Kurtzman's small army of incredible talents to unleash the pent-up frustrations and residual traumas felt by the generation that grew up in the grinding poverty of the depression and survived the unspeakable horrors of WWII. The result influenced everyone from Lenny Bruce to George Carlin to Ernie Kovacs to the Smothers Brothers, and beyond. It's hard to overstate the importance of this first issue, and the 22 comic issues following, to American popular culture, so we'll just stop trying now.