In comic book shops, on the iPad and in subscribers mailboxes now, on news stands everywhere Tuesday:
MAD # 527 (June 2014)
Cover (Mark Fredrickson)
The Fundalini Pages (Rick Tulka, Evan Waite, John Martz, Tom Bunk, P.C. Vey, Matt Lassen, Kenny Keil, Garth Gerhart, Mike Morse, Mike Loew, Rich Powell, Dick DeBartolo, Bob Staake, Glen Le Lievre, Desmond Devlin, Justin Peterson, Sarah Chalek, Mike Lynch,
The Slobbit: The Adaptation’s a Slog (A MAD Movie Satire) (Desmond Devlin, Tom Richmond)
Sport’s Atrocity- (Jeff Kruse, Scott Bicher)
When Delivery Drones Go Bad (John Caldwell)
The Darker Side of The Lighter Side (Dave Berg… sort of)
Planet TAD!!!!! (Tim Carvell)
MAD’s Common Sense Tips for First Aid (Teresa Burns Parkhurst)
Spy vs. Spy (Peter Kuper)
College Courses for the Lousy New Economy (Neil Berliner, Chris Houghton)
A MAD Look at Legalized Marijuana (Sergio Aragonés, Colorist: Jim Campbell)
New Rules for Bill Maher (Butch D’Ambrosio, Paul Coker)
The MAD Vault- (From MAD #182, April 1976: Jack Rickard, Lou Silverstone)
The Strip Club (Dakota McFadzean, Jason Yungbluth, Kenny Keil, Christopher Baldwin, Phil McAndrew, Kit Lively & David DeGrand, Keith Knight)
Forgotten Moments from 30 Years of Wrestlemainia (Desmond Devlin, Anton Emdin)
The Best of The Idiotical (various)
Another Ridiculous MAD Fold-In (Al Jaffee)
Drawn Out Dramas (Sergio Aragonés, appear throughout the issue)
Lot’s of fun art in this issue, including the first full interior feature for Chris Houghton and an awesome multipager by Anton Emdin. I did the art on the parody of the second “Hobbit” movie, a seven page extravaganza written by Desmond Devlin. Look for a sneak peek of my art from that next week in “Monday MADness!”
Well . . . What are you waiting for, clod?!? Go out and buy a fershlugginer copy already!
One of the gems in the Inside MAD book is the mind-blowing, pull-out poster illustration by Sergio Aragonés depicting virtually everyone ever associated with the magazine in its sixty-plus year history. Not only is it chock full of “The Usual Gang of Idiots”, it contains dozens and dozens of references to famous MAD moments, items and other goodies. In true MAD fashion, this is an image you can spend an hour staring at and still miss some of the gags and little touches.
Fear not! The good folks over at Doug Gilford’s MAD Cover Site (ok, Doug… but with a little help from his friends) has put together an interactive version of Sergio’s masterpiece, complete with flags for pop ups identifying each person, place and thing of significance in the image. Go there, zoom in, and get edjumahcated about all things MAD, and marvel at the talents of the Great Sergio!
Q: Let’s say someone loves your rendition so much, they keep showing up for you to draw them. Does this affect your ability to produce a caricature, or do your drawings of them actually get better?
A: How intimate familiarity with a subject affects your ability to caricature that subject is an interesting question. Specifically you are referring to live caricature work (I assume), and that is a little different of an animal. Unless your subject comes back to get a drawing several times a week, you really cannot get so familiar with their face that it affects your ability to draw them objectively. After all, you only spend a few minutes actually observing them and there will likely be hundreds if not thousands of faces that sit in front of you before you see that same subject’s face again. You might recall some elements of your earlier drawings but with so little actual time spent observing them, you will still mostly have “fresh eyes” with each new caricature. I’ve draw caricatures of the same people every summer and I don’t feel it helps or hurts the results to do that.
Drawing people you really are familiar with is a different story, though. I’m talking about people you spend significant time with in your life. That interaction both improves and hampers your ability to caricature them.
Familiarity improves your caricature of someone because you have intimate knowledge of their mannerisms, personality and “quirks” of expression that you can bring into play in your caricature. These are things that you just don’t have when you draw someone “cold” having not seen them in motion or in life before. Drawing caricatures of celebrities works better if you have seen them in films or TV, when their images are not airbrushed/photoshopped to death like they are in magazine photos. You have a chance to see them as they really are—moving, speaking and breathing. Working from a single photo is a crapshoot, and eliminates any sense of the person you get from actually observing them in real-life (or at least on the screen). You can more effectively caricature your room-mates, friends, co-workers, etc. because you have made many observations over time and can use them to capture your subject better.
Familiarity can also interfere with your ability to caricature someone, because it can cause you to lose objectivity. It’s natural to downplay or overlook the blemishes and imperfections in your close friends and family members because your eyes don’t see them the way a stranger’s eyes would. Not that blemishes and imperfections are critical to a good caricature, but the WHOLE STORY is and those elements are part of it. You can’t do a complete and honest caricature of someone if you only tell part of the story.
It is also very possible to be TOO close to a subject. People who are long-time, integral parts of your life like family members might elude you in a caricature just because you cannot seem to capture what your inner eye is telling you they look like, and you are incapable of only using your outer eyes and being objective. This is literally a subconscious thing… you are tying to be objective but the drawings keep being “off”. I compare it to how your own voice never sounds like you when you hear a tape recording of it, because you have a certain idea of what you sound like in your head and you accept that version of your voice internally rather than what your ears actually hear. Likewise your brain seems to tell you your family members look one way when your eyes might be trying to tell you different. That’s what a mom can sit there and coo about how cute their baby is when it really looks like a cross between Gollum and a baked potato. I know I have a hard time drawing my parents, and I think that sub-conscious, psychological block is part of it.
Some people have no trouble stepping back and being objective even when it comes to caricaturing their closest friends and family. The end result for those types is usually some scathing family caricatures and no one sending them birthday cards or inviting them over for Christmas dinner. Similarly, I did a caricature of my wife The Lovely Anna once…
Thanks toVirginia Bakerfor the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me and I’ll try and answer it here!
Regular readers of my blog probably already know this, but I am a bit of a Sherlockian, that being a scholar of the literary character Sherlock Holmes. In my particular case I am all about the original four novels and 56 short stories (aka the “canon”) written by Holmes’ creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I have a casual interest in the various films, TV shows and such featuring the Holmes characters, but it’s the original Canon that I am partial to.
I was pretty happy to find some months ago that the smartphone/tablet app “QuizUp” had a literary “Sherlock Holmes” category. This app is a trivia game where you play against another person in real time, answering 7 question pertaining to your topic with a 10 second time limit. The points you get for each right answer depends on the speed in which you choose the answer, each question having four choices. The Holmes category must have had about 300 questions that you cycled randomly through. I really got into playing. In fact the category just got updated with new questions the other day, and I wrote about half of them for the software company that makes the game. As of the writing of this post, I am ranked second in the world in the Sherlock Holmes topic.
Sadly, I’m never going to play the game again.
Once the topic got updated I started playing it, but found something odd. Not with the questions… the new ones were very difficult, needing an extremely detailed knowledge of the stories to get many of the answers right. I did not know some of the new ones, so obscure were the references. What was weird was I kept losing games to people who were at very low levels in the topic. These people never missed a correct answer, even though they had so few experience points, they must have only played a couple of matches at most. I’ve played over a thousand. This didn’t stop… I kept losing to people new to the game but who got perfect scores. At first I thought there must be a wave of serious Sherlockians who have just discovered the game, but these questions are so hard no way would anyone be able to answer all seven correctly, every time, having never had the questions before. Then, as the number of new players with perfect answers kept piling up, I deduced something was afoot.
I did a web search or two and sure enough, there are QuizUp cheat apps out there that allow you to jack up the number of points you get for each match and automatically enter the right answers for you. That’s what these new players are using. How sad is that? What possible entertainment value is there in a game that’s automated to cheat for you? I shouldn’t be surprised… the internet is rife with thieves and scam artists… but still, how pathetic. Sorry, just needed to vent.
Ah well, it’s a relief in a way. Now I can quit the game and not care about it. I might even be able to get more work done now!
Yesterday Moviepilot.com posted a sneak peek at the splash page of MAD‘s parody of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” written by Desmond Devlin with art by yours truly. You can check out the full splash page with text here (although it’s kind of small to read). Above is the final art for said splash. I will post a few more panels of art from the parody once the issue hits news stands on April 22nd.