Writer and blogger extraordinare Mark Evanier reminds us that today is the birthday of one of the most beloved and talented cartoonists of the last half century… the great Sergio Aragon?¬©s.
Sergio’s work needs no description. He’s been a staple at MAD for 45 years, done about a billion issues of Groo the Wanderer and several billion other cartoons in almost every conceivable forum. To call him merely prolific is an insult. As Mark wrote in his book “MAD Art”:
Since his sudden takeover, Aragon?¬©s has been in every issue (of MAD) but one (he had the flu). So let’s crunch some numbers: Figure 8-12 marginals per issue for- as this book goes to press- maybe 350 issues… call it 3500 cartoons. Add to this full-page gags and his ongoing feature, “A MAD Look at…”- often, 3-5 full pages an issue with 3-4 gags per page- toss in 16 best selling MAD paperbacks, and you have a staggering output (still growing) of more than 12,000 brilliantly silly drawings.
MAD is now on issue number 481, so it’s more in the neighborhood of 14,000. The operating phrase in Mark’s quote is “brilliantly silly”. Sergio’s MAD cartoons are almost always pantomime, meaning without words, yet his gags and jokes need no translation. Good thing, because when you talk to him you can barely understand a word he says!
Sergio is also quite a guy. In his youth he served in the Mexican military special forces as the equivalent of a U.S. Navy Seal. He speaks five languages, although he can’t be easily understood in any of them. He’s a fixture at comic book conventions and is remarkably giving of his time and attention. His wife Charlene is a darling and was a Broadway dancer and performer. They are good people.
So, Happy Birthday, mi amigo. I’m looking forward to the next 14,000 Sergio cartoons!
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