Q: When doing your movie and TV parodies, and occasional other stuff for MAD, how closely do you work with the writers on a given piece?
A: This question was actually put to me at the MAD panel at Comic-Con, and I thought it would be a good one to answer here in the Sunday Mailbag.
The answer is: I don’t directly work with the writers at all, ever. Any questions or concerns I have with the script I take to MAD art director Sam Viviano, who will go to the writer if it’s something he cannot answer and then relay the response to me. That may seem a very circuitous way of going about things, but the editors of the magazine oversee all aspects of each feature, and need to be involved in any discussions or rethinking of any piece. Also, writers use really big, scary words, and Sam wants to make sure we dumb artists don’t get confused or frightened by the mean, brainy writers (although I don’t think I’ve ever seen one use the word “circuitous”).
What kind of questions or comments might I have for the writer? I might need a gag explained to me if I don’t “get it” (extremely rare), or clarification about when in the plot something is occurring or who is saying what in a given panel. I might also question a scene as taking place at the wrong time or with the wrong characters for continuity’s sake (also pretty rare). Mostly any questions I have are about the gags themselves and they best way I can use the visuals to reinforce those gags and make them funnier (or funny AT ALL . . . HA! That that, you mean, brainy writers!)
Thanks to somebody from the SDCC MAD panel crowd¬¨‚Ä† for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar,¬¨‚Ä†e-mail me¬¨‚Ä†and I’ll try and answer it here!
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