Showing posts with label Mad magazine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mad magazine. Show all posts

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Mad Man

Will Elder (1921-2008), among the first cartoonists whose work appeared in that long-running magazine satirizing American popular culture, Mad, at its inception in 1952, has died at age 86 of Parkinson’s disease. Among Elder's other creations for the venerable magazine was the figure of the career criminal named "Mole" who was always tunneling into disaster. And in issue #27 (April 1956) the magazine offered for mail-in purchase a 5x7 black & white portrait of the “What, Me Worry?” kid, first drawn by Elder. He thus was the first artist to draw that magazine's iconic kid with the huge grin, although a couple of issues later (#30), artist Norman Mingo drew a color rendition, and "Alfred E. Neuman" was born. The original black & white portrait by Elder is now a valuable collector’s item, as it was offered for sale only in a couple of issues before Mingo's version replaced it.

An obituary can be found here, and an interesting interview over here. Daniel Clowes’ book, Will Elder: The Mad Playboy of Art, is widely available on the web, as is Elder's Chicken Fat, a collection of drawings, sketches, and cartoons. Among Elder's other famous creations is "Little Annie Fanny," the comic strip featuring a buxom blond that appeared in Playboy magazine; collections of these 'toons are also available in book form.

I suspect that rather than mourn his passing, Elder would prefer us to inject some humor into our day today--inject some humor "in a jugular vein."