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More on James Gandolfini

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

Clicky to embiggen…

MAD Magazine has been around for a long time, and was both an influence on and/or a favorite of, many kids who later grew up to be famous/influential professionals in film, TV and other entertainments venues. As a result, every once and awhile when I do a TV show or movie parody in the magazine, one of the producers, directors, writer, stars or some other person involved in the creation of the show ends up being one of those kids who loved MAD, and contacts the magazine looking for the original artwork. I am happy to sell it to them, but I always offer them a good deal in exchange for a little perk… I send them an over sized print of the splash page and get signatures on it from those depicted. It doesn’t always work out, but when it does it is pretty cool.

One of my favorites is the one of “A MAD Peek Behind the Scenes on the Set of the Sopranos” that appeared in MAD 422 (see raw art above). That one I didn’t think would work out because of the timing, but… well, here’s the story:

I was contacted through MAD by one of the producers of the show. He was a huge MAD fan from way back, and wanted not just the original art, but to get a print of it for each of the cast members—I think we wanted a dozen or so. I got permission from MAD to get prints made, went to a local printing house to arrange it, and got the prints done… plus one. I asked the producer if I sent an extra one, if he could get a couple of signatures on it for me. He apologized that they had just wrapped the current season, and production on the next season was not scheduled for 16 or 18 months. However, he said to send the print and he’d have it signed when they started up again.

I sent the print along with the others, but did not have high hopes of getting it back signed. That was a long time to try and keep it on this person’s radar. I had sent a few prints out like that to other shows/people (who shall remain nameless) and never saw them again.

To my great delight, about a year and a half later I got this in the mail, signed by almost all the major cast members (missing only Edie Falco):

Of course, the best signature was James Gandolfini’s, who added a very Tony Soprano comment:

That makes me laugh every time it catches my eye. RIP Mr. Gandolfini.

Yet Another One for the Wall of Shame!

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Clicky to Embiggen…

I actually received this one earlier than the Mike & Molly print I blogged about the other day, but hadn’t had a chance to scan it in yet. This one came courtesy of series star Jim O’Heir, which plays poker with a friend of my friend, caricaturist Jim Batts. I sent two copies of this print to Jim (O’Heir, not Batts), one for him and one for me with the signatures, but he unfortunately had the cast sign what was supposed to be his copy, thus my own signature is on this one, personalized to him. Hmmmm . . . actually that might have been intentional on his part.

Now I’ll have to get my brother and sister-in-law to sign it as well, since they appear in the splash!

One for the Wall of Shame!

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Clicky to Embiggen

This landed on my doorstep the other day, and will take its place on my Wall of Shame as soon as I can get it framed up. It’s a print of my splash page for the MAD parody of Mike & Molly, as seen in issue #514—signed by the cast and creators!

Left half- Top and Clockwise:

  • Billy Gardell
  • Mark Roberts (Creator/Executive Producer)
  • Melissa McCarthy
  • David Higgins
  • Don Foster (Executive Producer)

Right half- Top row:

  • Jimmy Burrows (Director)
  • Rondi Reed

Right half- Middle row:

  • Katy Mixon
  • Cleo King

Right half- Bottom row:

  • Louis Mustillo
  • Nyambi Nyambi
  • Reno Wilson
  • Swoosie Kurtz

… and no death threats. Good day!

The Latest for the “Wall of Shame”

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Clicky to Embiggen

It’s been a long time since I got a new piece for the Wall of Shame, but this arrived in the mail the other day and is going to be proudly framed and hung in the studio.

For those not familiar with my “Wall of Shame”… I occasionally get calls from the producer, director or some star of a TV show of movie that I did the parody art for in MAD who wants to buy some of the original art. I usually cut a deal that includes my sending them an oversized print of the splash page to get signed by the cast and creators. You can see some of my little collection in these posts.

This one came about when I got a chance to meet MAD Men actor Rich Sommer here in Minnesota about this time last year. It took this long to get this back because the show went through contract negotiaions and a long hiatus, but they must be back to work as this little gem was at my door Tuesday. Signatures from left to right: Robert Morse, John Slattery, Elisabeth Moss, John Hamm, Jessica Pare, Jared Harris, Jay R. Ferguson, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, Aaron Staton and Rich Sommer.

Working for MAD has it’s moments!

New Treasure for the Wall of Shame!

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Technically, since I redid my studio the “Wall of Shame” that previously existed on the walls outside my studio now reside inside the studio on several walls… the concept still lives, however.

To wit, the newest addition to the “Wall of Shame” just arrived the other day and is on it’s way to the frame shop. After said framing it will proudly hang in the studio as a member of the WOS.

In the most recent issue of MAD, I did the art for the parody of the TV show “The Big Bang Theory”. The TV show’s producer, Chuck Lorre, is a fan of MAD and is always enthusiastic about seeing his shows lampooned in the magazine. After getting wind somehow of the publication of the parody in MAD #503, Mr. Lorre contacted MAD and subsequently me about getting the art from the splash page for his offices. Like his show “2 and a Half Men”, we made an arrangement that included me sending an over-sized print of the splash to get signatures from the cast members and Mr. Lorre as well.

Here is the result, again soon to be hanging in the newly remodeled studio ( I added the signature “keys”):

Click for a closer look…

Awesome! I’m actually a big fan of the show. This will be great to hang in the studio and stare at while I am procrastinating.

Pick Me Up!

Friday, March 20th, 2009

If I was feeling a little sorry for myself and was down in the dumps about my surgery yesterday, the package I just got in the mail sure cured my blues!

Way back when I did a parody of the TV show “Heroes” for MAD, and was contacted by produced Michael Green about buying the original artwork for himself, creator Tim Kring and others that worked on the show. I had gotten hooked on “Heroes” after researching for the parody, so I did my customary deal of getting an oversized print of the splash signed by as many members of the cast as possible.

Michael, who incidentally is the creator of the new TV series “Kings” on NBC that just premiered last Sunday, left “Heroes” just after he bought the art. That was over a year ago, so I was despairing of ever getting that signed print. I once made the same sort of deal with some of the staff of “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” who bought the splash of that parody for Dick Wolfe and promised to send me back the print with signatures… never heard from them again. However I kept in touch with Michael and he kept at some of his friends still on “Heroes” to complete the deal.

Wednesday I got this via Fed Ex:

Signed by the cast!
Click for a closer look!

Signed by almost all the cast on the splash: Zachary Quinto (Sylar), Greg Grunberg (Matt Parkman), Hayden Panettiere (Claire Bennet), Masi Oka (Hiro Nakamura), Sendhil Ramamurthy (Mohinder Suresh), Jack Coleman (Noah Bennet), Milo Ventimiglia (Peter Petrelli), Ali Larter (Nikki Sanders/ Tracy Strauss), and Jimmy Jean-Louis (The Haitian), and Tim Kring as well.

Zachary Quinto

Hayden Panettiere

Milo Ventimiglia

This one is going to the frame shop and will proudly hang on the “Wall of Shame”.

Sadly I stopped watching “Heroes” after trying to get back into it this fall. I gave it a long look but the show seems to have no idea who these characters are anymore. They keep doing things that are so out of character that the characters keep changing into different people seemingly at a whim. Maybe they’ll get back on track.

New for the “Wall of Shame”

Friday, March 13th, 2009

I’m very busy right now opening up a new aibrush tattoo/caricature location at Mall of Amrica’s “Nick Universe” theme park. However I got this in the mail yesterday which was a fun surprise:

Splash of "Samantha Who?" parody

Some time back I was contacted by one of the producers of the TV show “Samantha Who?” about buying some of the original art from MAD‘s parody of the show. He bought the original splash page from me.

Usually when that happens I get an oversized print of the splash and have some of the people I drew sign it to put on my “Wall of Shame“. Unfortunately that wasn’t possible this time around as the show was just finishing taping for the season. However I did send a copy of the magazine to him and he got the show’s star, Christina Applegate, to sign it for me.

Signed by Christina!

Considering my bizarre history of drawing carictures of her in print, this was pretty cool. I will have to carefully remove and mount the pages, frame them and put them on the Wall of Shame.

The Wall of Shame: Bill Cosby

Friday, November 23rd, 2007


It’s been a while since I’ve posted something from my Wall of Shame, so I thought it was high time I featured another cool item off the wall. This one is a caricature I did as a theme park sample some years ago of comedy legend Bill Cosby.

For those newer readers, the Wall of Shame is an area just outside my studio where The Lovely Anna has framed prints of various pieces I’ve done that, through MAD, good fortune or just dumb luck I’ve had signed by the subjects I’ve caricatured. You can see my other Wall of Shame piece and stories about obtaining the signatures listed here. While most of the Wall of Shame pieces stem from parodies I’ve done of TV shows or movies, this piece and story have nothing to do with MAD.

About two years ago I was contacted by a gentleman from Kentucky named Father Jim Sichko, who is the pastor of St. Mark Catholic Church in Richmond, KY. Father Jim was the organizer of an event called “An Evening Among Friends”, a kind of speaking engagement/social gathering to benefit St. Mark and other Richmond organizations and charities. Father Jim seems to have the magic touch in getting celebrity speakers to come to a small community like Richmond to be the guests of honor. In 2005 talk show host Regis Philbin was the speaker, and in May of 2006 it was Bill Cosby.

Father Jim came across my caricature of Cosby on the internet and wanted to know if he could buy the original to present to him to show their appreciation for his participation. I thought that was a little like kicking someone in the nuts for doing you a favor, but Father Jim seemed to think it was a good idea. Of course I donated the original rather than accept any money, but I did ask that Cosby sign a print I would also send with for me.


I was sorry to see he used a blue ball point pen to sign it, as it’s tough to read or even see. However as a kid I might have worn out my Bill Cosby comedy albums from playing them over and over again… my favorite routine was the one about the snowball/slushball he has made and put in the freezer to await a summer’s day to take revenge on one of the neighborhood kids when he least expected it… it was something to have his signature on a caricature of mine.

This year’s guest at “An Evening Among Friends” is Natalie Cole. No request for a caricature of her so far….

Wall of Shame: Pearls Before Swine

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

This piece is the one example of something that is not my own art on the Wall of Shame. Back in August my friend and hilarious syndicated strip cartoonist Stephen Pastis gave me a “cameo” in his popular strip Pearls Before Swine. Here it is again as it appeared in the Sunday funnies:

Click for a closer look

I told the story about how it came about in this post, but to make a long story short Stephen is a fan of MAD and likes my work. He came up with this gag and sprung it on me when we visited him in Santa Rosa while out there for my niece’s wedding. He had me draw that Barbra Streisand right on his original board. I used a Pitt brush pen. He did the rest of the strip around it.

A few weeks after it appeared in the comics, I recieved the original in the mail with a very nice acknowledgment at the bottom. The Lovely Anna framed it up along with a treated copy of the printed version. Stephen is a talented and incredibly funny writer and cartoonist, and I was thrilled to be “in” his strip.




I reciprocated by putting him in an issue of MAD, and I’m embarrassed to say I still have not send him the original page as I intend to put the text in place and have had no time to get to it. That’s on ‘my list’. A fun addition to the Wall of Shame.

Wall of Shame: NCS

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

Yet another installment of the Wall of Shame, where I hang prints of some of my pieces that have been signed by the subjects. I don’t really have many because I don’t go chasing after signatures, or try and mail them. I only get them if chances allow and that doesn’t happen all that much. Incidentally if you want to see the previous posts about the Wall of Shame I have created a category for them, just click the link on the blogroll on the right.

These Wall of Shame pieces are’t like the others… they were never in MAD and have nothing to do with TV shows or movies. They are, however, some pieces I am the most proud of because of the subject matter and the reason I do them.

Back in 2002 the lovely Anna and I attended our third National Cartoonist Society Reuben Awards Weekend. This one was held in Cancun, Mexico and was not as well attended as previous Reubens. The reasons are debatable but I think it was because 9/11 had just happened 8 months earlier and folks were still a little freaked out by flying, especially out of the country. Anyway it was a lot more intimate than the events had been in the past. I have written in this space before that the Reubens can be more than a little intimidating to newcomers. This is not the fault of the attending artists, who are very open and friendly (most of them), but more because everybody seems to be old friends and it’s tough to break the ice when people are hugging each other like siblings who have been away from home for too long. New members are unofficially encouraged to bring along some of their work so other members can get familiar with what they do… the traditional Sunday brunch is the time for these things to be shared. I’d done some of that the past two years, but despite my often joking to the contrary, I am not very good at blowing my own horn. Anna, on the other hand, is a first degree horn blower when it comes to me. She is fiercely proud of me, and she took it upon herself to show everybody who would take a look my work (yes, she is a true gem and I am a very lucky man indeed).

One of the people she showed my work to was NCS president Steve McGarry. Turns out Steve and his sons actually still read MAD and were familiar with my work (at least that what he said). Steve is a terrific artist and a great guy, and he asked me if I would be interested in doing some artwork for the next Reuben Weekend. No pay, of course, but just for the organization. Naturally I was thrilled. What he asked me to do was design a scene incorporating caricatures of the guests speakers for the upcoming Reubens with elements of the location in which the event would take place. I was also asked to be one of the speakers. The art was used on the official Reuben T-shirt, on the canvas bag everyone gets their goodies in, and other stuff. This was the result:

Clockwise from far left: Me, Hilary Price, Bill Amend, Scott Adams,
Oliver Christianson, David Silverman, Pete Doctor, James Kemsley,
Stephen Pastis and Darby Conely. Click for Closer Look!

Steve was genuinely thrilled I was doing this. He had high resolution prints made of the art, and even made custom bowling shirts with the names of the speakers and board on the back, and our names on the front pocket. The print is what you see above, and I had the artists depicted sign it for me. I have not framed it yet, as I am still hoping to track down the missing two, Pixar’s Pete Doctor and Dilbert’s Scott Adams. They were either gone by the time I got the print or I just couldn’t corral them for a signature. Steve asked me to do it again the next year. He acted as if this was a huge imposition on me, but I think we both know it was a great honor… I know I have always felt it was so. I certainly am very happy to do such a little thing for such a great organization. I get some great perks at the Reubens also, so feel I am well compensated regardless.

This is the art for the 2004:

Foreground from left: Mort Drucker, Patrick McDonnell,
Sandra Boynton, Jules Fieffer. Back: Mel Lazarus

And my signed and framed print on the Wall of Shame:


Here’s the art for the last two years… we didn’t get prints for signatures on these.

Clockwise outside from bottom left: Darrin Bell, Jay Stephens,
Sergio Aragones, Mark Evanier, Gahan Wilson, Scott Shaw!,
Glenn McCoy, Gary McCoy. Passenger in coach: Lal Alcaraz.
Divers from left: Ann Telnaes, Mike Luchovich, Joel Pett.

From the left: Stephen Silver, Everett Peck, Ralph Steadman,
Elwood Smith, Cathy Guisewite (the roastee), and Dick Locher.

Steve’s long reign as president ended and last year Soup to Nutz cartoonist Rick Stromoski took over as head honcho. Rick asked me to continue doing the art, and I am supposed to do it again this year. I will always be happy to, of course. It’s great fun and there’s nothing like seeing Garry Trudeau or Jack Davis walking around with a piece of your artwork on their T-shirt…


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