Q: I read your recent posts about Will Elder and Bill Gaines, and how you never got to meet them. What MAD legends have you met, and who do you still want to meet?
A: I want to meet everybody of course, be they “legends” or just your run of the mill members of the “Usual Gang of Idiots”. Meeting the “legends” is unfortunately becoming a little more urgent a goal.
Sadly a few of the early artists and writers from MAD have passed away. That’s not surprising… MAD‘s 500th issue will be on newsstands in February of next year, which also marks MAD‘s 57th year of publication. That invariably means the early contributors are getting pretty long in the tooth. Many others are in full or semi retirement. I never got a chance to meet Elder or Gaines, nor did I meet Harvey Kurtzman, Wally Wood, Don Martin, George Woodbridge, Antonio Prohias, Norman Mingo, Kelly Freas, Jack Rickard or Dave Berg, all of whom are no longer with us.
Among the artists for MAD have met, in no particular order, are Al Jaffee, Jack Davis, Mort Drucker, Angelo Torres, Sam Viviano, Sergio Aragones, Rick Tulka, John Caldwell, Ray Alma, Peter Kuper, Paul Coker Jr., Kevin Pope, Don “Duck” Edwing, Bob Clark, Amanda Conner, Scott Bricher, C.F. Payne, Paul Peter Porges, Roberto Parada, Tom Bunk, Monte Wolverton, R.J. Matson, Grey Blackwell, Bob Staake, Ed Steckley, Tom Hatchman, John Koveleski, Garth Gerhart, and Timothy Shamey.
So who would I like to meet? As I said, I’d love to meet anyone who has contributed to MAD. Unfortunately MAD stopped hosting their annual holiday party a few years ago, so the opportunities to meet fellow contributors are few and far between. There are a few that I would really love to finally meet, however. Those include incredible Venezuelan illustrator Hermann Mejia, cover artist Mark Fredrickson (as a former airbrush artist I’m a longtime fan of his since way before his MAD cover days), former contributor Harry North and although he was not an artist for MAD per se longtime editor Al Feldstien. I’d also love to meet writer Arnie Kogen, having already met Frank Jacobs and Dick Debartolo, as well as former writers like Lou Silverstone and many other writers and former staffers. I’m sure I’m leaving out some names.
Every once and a while I run into one of the Usual Gang of Idiots at some function or other. I’m not much of a comic book convention attendee, having no self published books to hawk or other wares to peddle other than maybe original artwork or some sketches. Most of the time it’s at the Reuben’s or some other NCS event that I get the chance to visit with a fellow Idiot. Always a pleasure, though.
Thanks to Grant Jonen for 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.