A lot of people ask me what MAD is planning on doing now that they are only publishing 4 times a year.
Hopefully, here’s one answer. New, original content MAD books.
Back in the 60’s and 70’s MAD published a lot of paperback books, many of which were the work of individual artist and writers like Don Martin, Sergio Aragon?¬©s, Al Jaffee, etc. These were also mostly original content, not reprints from the magazine. For most of the last two decades, MAD‘s book offerings have been reprinted classic MAD material packaged into themed collections like “MAD About the 60’s” or “MAD about Superheroes”.
This book, “Bo Confidential: The Secret Files of America’s First Dog” which I illustrated, represents the first book of original (non reprinted) content from MAD in a long, long time. This is one of the things MAD is planning on doing in between producing their (sadly) now only quarterly magazine publication.
Art/spreads from BO CONFIDENTIAL: THE SECRET FILES OF AMERICA’S FIRST DOG published by Running Press. On sale everywhere in August 2009. ¬¨¬©2009 EC Publications, all rights reserved.
The story behind this book is a short but intense one.
I got a call from my friend, mentor and a guy who owes me $10.00, MAD art director Sam Viviano at the very end of April to say they had a book project they wanted me to do the art for. The working title was “Bo Obama: The First 100 Days”. It was a book about the Obama’s new Portuguese Water Dog and his introduction into the White House, filled with gags about politics, the Obamas in general and of course, dog poop. It was going to be 96 pages and fully illustrated with a mixture of primarily two page spreads along with color single pages, color spots and some smaller monochrome spots. There was a catch, though (there always is). They wanted the art completed in just over three weeks.
Yes, you read that right. Three weeks. The publication date was to be the end of July.
I’m not entirely sure why the short deadline. Some say it was because there is a bunch of Obama family and Bo books coming out this summer and getting the book into that mix would get it placed on end cap and table displays in the big bookstores. Another theory is that there was a huge publisher’s book fair event right after Memorial Day, and having the book completed by then would allow the publisher to promote it fully at said fair. I don’t know… I just draw the funny pictures. Regardless, I got the final book script/layout on May 1st and had until May 26th to get the book completely illustrated. Worse yet, I had plans to go to the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben Awards in L.A. on May 22nd-26th, so essentially I had 22 days to get it all done.
I did it in 21 days. 96 pages including 25 full color two page spreads, 21 full color single page/large spot illustrations and 13 monochrome pages. The remaining pages had other grpahics.
Whew. I’ve done a lot of tough jobs in my time, but this one really did nearly break me. I got about 2 or 3 hours of sleep a night for three weeks straight, with only the occasional night of more due to sheer necessity. I had to place everything else on hold including canceling trips to both my out-of-state theme parks. I finished and FTP’d the last page at about 4 a.m. on May 22nd, and then got on the plane to L.A. 5 hours later. It was a very tired Tom who attended the NCS Reubens this year.
Be that as it may, the book is “in the can” as they say in the movie biz (I don’t know what they say in the book biz) and my first illustrated book will be in bookstores late next month. It’s also a hardcover, not a paperback, and is only $9.95. You can preorder it via Amazon.com. I am not sure why I am not listed as the illustrator on the book in the Amazon listing… I was looking forward to having my name listed as a book illustrator officially in Amazon, but I guess you can’t have it all. Pre Order one today!
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