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From the Freelance Files: The Movie Poster that Wasn’t

April 8th, 2014


Sometimes when you freelance, a job comes along that seems promising and then it falls thorough or never ends up being brought to completion for whatever reason. I wouldn’t say I’ve had a lot of those kinds of jobs, but after 25 years of freelancing I’ve had my fair share. Most never get to the point where I do any actual drawing for them, except when that drawing is part of a conceptual stage where I get paid for my efforts regardless if the job gets “picked up”. Those kinds of jobs are fairly common in the advertising world. I have done illustrations for packaging or marketing campaigns that never actually get used or run, but I still get paid for the work.

The image above is a rough concept I did as a pitch for a poster for the independent film “The Linguists”, but I didn’t get paid anything and it never went beyond this conceptual art. I did this back in 2007 right when the film was about to be featured at the Sundance Film Festival. “The Linguists” is a documentary following two researchers abroad on their quest to document obscure languages that are on the verge of becoming extinct. I ordinarily never do anything “on spec” (meaning for free in order to secure the job and MAYBE get paid), but in this case I spent a small amount of time cobbling together this rough layout for the client to use to try and sell the poster concept to the rest of the producers/investors. This image is actually is a very dumbed-down version of the original concept, which was to be a high energy action caricature of the two main guys and lots of surrounding caricatures of some of the colorful people they meet on their travels ala a Jack Davis crowd scene illustration. Even this less-manic concept got rejected because they felt it would have been too humorous. Actually the original concept would have been far more humorous… this rather boring design was an attempt to salvage the idea a little. In all fairness I didn’t think a humorous poster was right for this film anyway. There was very little funny about the movie, and a poster like that would have given the wrong idea to a potential audience. Still, it would have been fun.

Ah well, you can’t win them all.

Monday MADness: Cars!

April 7th, 2014

This week’s Monday MADness is a peek behind the scenes of a feature from MAD #467, July 2006 entitled “Rejected Characters from CARS” written by Jacob Lambert (Clicky any to embiggen…):

cars1-2Pencil roughs…cars3Some of the characters included were: “Guzzle” the 3 miles-per-gallon Winnebago, “Denny Dent” the garage-hidden hit-and-run suspect, “Cheesy” the ridiculously pimped-out Kia, “Don Pablo” the illegal alien-stuffed Econo van, and “Flippy” the rollover-prone SUV…

cars_MADFinished Art


Sunday Mailbag- Maddest Artist Edition?

April 6th, 2014

Q: Would you like to see a MAD’s Maddest Artists edition of your work? I personally would love to see one as you are my favorite contributor who is not of the original gang of idiots. Also do you think you have had a big impact on the magazine like others who got their own books: Mort (Drucker), Don (Martin), Sergio (Aragonés) , and Dave (Berg)?

A: First part: I’m flattered, but I do not have anywhere near the body of work deserving of such a collection, and there are many, many MAD artists more deserving of a collection that I am. Jack Davis, Wally Wood, Bill Elder, Angelo Torres, Sam Viviano, Paul Coker, George Woodbridge, Jack Richard, Bob Clarke, Duck Edwing, Rick Tulka, Paul Peter Porges, John Caldwell, Drew Friedman, Hermann Mejia, Harry North and Tom Bunk come to immediate mind, and a few others no doubt. If they do all of those at a rate of one a year, I’ll have 30 years with MAD and then maybe I’ll have enough work to warrant such a book. That’s a big IF.

Second part: No. Not even close. I am a lesser son of greater sires and can only see the parade because I stand on the shoulder of giants. That’s not false modesty or me fishing for compliments, that is simple truth. I’m carrying on a tradition that better artists than I innovated and made great. I innovated nothing and am only adding my voice to an already heralded chorus. I’m proud to be part of the MAD family but I’m not kidding myself that I belong in the same conversation as the names you mentioned.

Thanks to David Frautschi 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!

What would the Real Alfred E. Neuman Look Like?

April 4th, 2014

What, Me Worry?

Like this. Sculpture by Jordu Schell, via this website. Hat tip to Dalton Vaughn and Doug Gilford‘s MAD Cover Site, Facebook edition.

This is really well done, because it isn’t easy to make Alfred look convincing in three dimensions. Not only are his eyes uneven, but the center axis of his face is slightly tilted, and one side has considerably more space between the eye and hairline than the other. His ears are also lower than natural, and asymmetrical. There is a lot about his face that is ‘off” in a way that only stands out when you see a mirror image of it. Drawing him isn’t that easy, either.

Sakai Benefit Auction Going MAD!

April 4th, 2014

Jack Davis!

The Comic Art Professional Society‘s auction to benefit Stan and Sharon Sakai took a real MAD turn with their latest batch of listings. Included are originals from MAD legends  Jack Davis (see above) and Al Jaffee (see below).

$_57-1Sergio had a fantastic piece up earlier but that auction must have ended as it’s gone. There are lots of other great pieces up for auction for a very worthy cause. New pieces are added every Thursday or Friday.

Visit Me at C2E2 in Chicago!

April 3rd, 2014


Later this month I will be in Chicago for the big C2E2 Comic Expo at the McCormick Place event center. The show dates are April 25-27th, and I will be at table #P-17 in Artist’s Alley. As I understand this is sort of an unofficial DC Comics area, so I will be sitting with a bunch of real comics artists trying desperately to look like I belong there.

What will I be doing? I will have a big stack of original MAD artwork and sketches available for sale as well as copies of my book. I’ll also be debuting my 2014 limited edition print entitled “The Game is Afoot!” (I’ll leave you to figure out the subject matter) and will be doing sketches and caricatures on demand. I’ll also be existing solely on protein bars and Monster Lo-carb.

So, come by and say hello if you will be at C2E2!

Sketch o’the Week- Michael Kelly!

April 2nd, 2014

Michael Kelly © 2014 Tom Richmond

Michael Kelly AKA Doug Stamper from “House of Cards”. This was drawn using a black Crayola colored pencil.

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MAD App Update and Sale!

April 1st, 2014


April 1st is officially Alfred E, Neuman’s birthday, so what better day to issue an update to the MAD iPad app?

The app sports an all new design… for those using iOs 7 or higher, anyway. I had a chance to play around with it today and I like the new layout and especially the organization of the “Issues” menu page. You now have three different sections:

All- This was previously all you had in the old design under “Issues”. It lists every issue, book or special available for download or purchase. The ones you have bought or are available to you via your subscription have a “Read” or “Download” option under it. The ones that you would need to buy to read have a price there instead.

My Issues- Under the old design, you had to scroll about in “My Library” to find the issues that you had already downloaded amid all the ones you could download via your subscription or previous purchases. “My Issues”, you see only the ones you have bought or are subscribed to. You see these whether you have already downloaded them or not. If you have downloaded them, there is a “Read” or “Continue Reading” option. If the issue isn’t locally stored, you have a “Download” option instead. This is very convenient for you to see your purchased collection at a glance.

On Device- This gets even more specific and shows you only the issues or books you have downloaded and locally stored on your iPad. Great for if you are looking to get a few quick laughs without wanting to wait for a long download first, or if you are without internet access. This wasn’t an option in the previous design, and I like being able to see what I’ve got instant access to at a glance.

I’m not sure if the design of the issues interiors are much different, but I see that in the latest issue each page is a single page, and you swipe to go to the next back or back to the previous one. I like that a lot better than the odd “scrolling down” method where each feature was like a long web page with each page stacked vertically.

Even better news, the guys at MAD are having a sale on stupidity! Now until April 8th, you can get digital versions of MAD #1-23 for just 99 cents each on the iPad, the Kindle, the Nook and Apple iBooks! For the iPad, the sale also includes MAD #92-#131, MAD #503-526, MAD About Obama, Bo Confidential, MAD Magazine Presents… Batman and MAD Super Spectacular – Superman: Man of Steel! It’s never been easier to waste your money!

So, Happy Alfred’s birthday, Internets!

Doctor Who Print Almost Gone!

April 1st, 2014

The 11 Doctors!Clicky to embiggen…

Have you been procrastinating on buying your copy of my print “The Doctor Is In?” Well, you might be too late. As of this morning I have exactly 3 prints left, with or without the 12th doctor option where I draw Peter Capaldi on the side. Whenever I do one of these “only X number left” posts, I tend to sell those X number immediately, so even as your read this they might be gone.

Doctor No. 12 hand drawn in!Clicky to embiggen…

If you missed out, my apologies. Buck up, though! I will be debuting a brand new print this spring and it will of course be available in the Studio Store.

Disclaimer: This is NOT an April Fools joke.

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Monday MADness: The Dork Knight Reprises!

March 31st, 2014

This week’s Monday MADness is a peek behind the scenes at the complete rough pencils of the parody of “The Dark Knight Rises”, written by Arnie Kogen and appearing in MAD #519. Clicky any image to embiggen:

TDKR 3-4TDKR 5-6



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