Monday, March 30th, 2015
Because of the way movie distribution and longevity in the theaters had changed since the 20th century, the MAD movie parody became a lot harder to do. I wrote extensively about it here, but the short version is that even big money-making movies seldom spend more than four or five weeks in theaters these days, and by the time the movie parody comes out (usually a three month lag) the film it spoofed is old news. For a few years in the early-mid 2000’s, MAD tried to do movie parodies in advance of the film’s release. We worked from trailers, bootleg movie scripts, books/comics the films were based on, etc. This led to a number of “mistakes”, where we included scenes that ended up not in the film, or got visuals wrong. The worst of all of these was the parody of 2003’s “X2: X-men United” in MAD #430, where we GOT THE ENDING WRONG.
Here’s how it happened. We worked from a legitimate final working script of the movie… something that is usually pretty accurate barring any major editing in production. In the script’s ending of this film, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) does NOT die. She goes blind when she’s hit by a mind-controlled Cyclop’s optic blast in a battle in Styker’s base, is blind for the rest of the film, and is alive but blind at the end. That’s how we did the ending, here are the last four panels:
Clicky this one to embiggen…
Look, it’s Jean Grey! Clicky this one to embiggen…
This parody was written by Desmond Devlin, by the way, and none of this was his fault. So what happened? I’ve heard two versions. In one, director Bryan Singer had always planned on having Jean Grey die and then be resurrected in the third film, but kept it ultra secret and didn’t even tell Janssen until halfway through the filming, so the working script was always wrong. Another version is that they filmed the blind ending, tested it with audiences who didn’t like the ending, and then re-edited the film and brought the actors back for some reshoots and new scenes to do a Jean Grey dies ending.
Personally I think it’s a combination of both versions. I do think they shot the original “Jean Grey goes blind” ending, but I think Singer kept it super secret that he wanted her to die so he brought some of the cast back for the final weepy scene in Professor X’s office and a couple of other shots, and had edited it for those in the first place, all to keep it secret for as long as possible.
Why do I think that? If you watch the film KNOWING Jean Grey goes blind in that battle scene, then you see Janssen is ACTING LIKE SHE’S BLIND from that point forward, except in a couple of key reshot scenes. It’s obvious. Singer always intended to use those scenes because Jean Grey was hurt in the battle and her being helped along by others could be attributed to injury, even though if you look at it again you can see she’s acting like she’s blind! Also, look at Wolverine’s hair in the weepy scene in the office and some in the jet after Jean dies. His hair is obviously a giant Wolverine wig covering the hair he had grown out for shooting “Van Helsing”, which he was doing at the time. Looks very different from the other scenes.
Anyway, an interesting factoid. MAD eventually gave up on the “doing it before the film comes out” method. Can’t remember the last time I had to do that. Probably one of the Harry Potter movies.
Monday, March 16th, 2015
This week’s Monday MADness is a look at some of the art I did for the parody of the second Harry Potter movie: “Harry Plodder and the Lamest of Sequels”, written by Desmond Devlin, from MAD #424, Dec 2002. This parody is my record for length of any piece I ever did for MAD, weighing in at whopping 9 pages! Sadly, it seems that 5 of the original digital files of those pages are lost, as I only found the splash page and pages 3 and 4 on my hard drive… (clicky any to embiggen):
Monday, March 2nd, 2015
This week’s Monday MADness is a peek behind the scenes at the pencil sketches for MAD‘s “House of Cards” parody, written by David Shayne, appearing in MAD #532 NOW ON SALE!! These were drawn digitally on my big-ass Cintiq 24HD. Clicky any to embiggen…
Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
As promised, a couple of panels from the MAD parody of “House of Cards” in issue #532 (clicky any to embiggen…):
In case you missed the splash page that was posted last week:
Read the parody in MAD #532, on newsstands now!
Monday, February 23rd, 2015
In comic book shops, on the iPad and in subscribers mailboxes now, on news stands everywhere tomorrow:
- Cover (Mark Fredrickson)
- The Fundalini Pages (Dick DeBartolo, Kevin Pope, Joe Dator, Jeff Kruse, Sam Sisco, Kenny Keil, Nathan Cooper, Bob Staake, Shannon Wheeler, Desmond Devlin, Anton Emdin, Samuel Ferri, Kit Lively, Evan Dorkin & Sarah Dyer, Patrick Merrell)
- House of Cons (David Shayne, Tom Richmond)
- A Sneak Peek at More of the Characters in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Mike Morse, Hermann Mejia)
- The Darker Side of The Lighter Side… (Sort of Dave Berg, Carl Peterson: Colorist)
- A MAD Look at LEGO (Sergio Aragonès, colorist: Tom Luth)
- The Worst Reviews on Yelp* (Kenny Keil, Scott Bricher)
- President Obama’s Bucket List (Mike Morse, Paul Coker)
- Spy vs. Spy (Peter Kuper)
- The Strip Club (Dakota McFadzean, Christopher Baldwin, Kevin Werth, Eric Scott, Nathan Cooper, Kit Livley & Scott Nickel, Phil McAndrew, Peet Tamburino)
- The Mad Vault- From MAD #141, March 1971 (Artist: George Woodbridge, Writer: Sy Reit)
- Internet Rumor Timeline (Mike Morse, Ward Sutton)
- Few Joke Girls (Mike Morse, Tom Bunk)
- Star Wars Fans Then… and Now (Artist: Rich Powell)
- The Best of the Idiotical (Uncredited)
- Drawn Out Dramas- Various margins throughout the magazine (Sergio Aragonès)
- The MAD Fold-In (Al Jaffee)
This issue could arguably be called the “Mike Morse writes just about everything issue!” Seriously the guy wrote 4 major articles, including collaborating on a rare non-reality show TV parody art appearance by Tom Bunk! I did the art for David Shaynes’s parody of the Netflix show “House of Cards”. The splash page was already posted online by Uproxx.com, but I’ll post a sneak peek of a couple of panels of it tomorrow.
Now, What are you waiting for… a furshlugginer invitation?!? Go out and buy a copy, clod!
Tuesday, February 17th, 2015
Clicky to embiggen…
Uproxx.com’s Gamma Squad just released a sneak peek of the splash page of the parody of “House of Cards”, written by David Shayne and drawn by me (but, of course, Uproxx doesn’t mention that). You can read the rest of the parody in MAD #532, due on newsstands next Tuesday!
Monday, January 5th, 2015
How about something a little different this week? The piece above is of longtime editor of MAD Magazine Nick Meglin. When Nick retired from MAD several years ago, they put together a “MAD Book” for him. This is something they used to do for Bill Gaines after each of the famous MAD trips. All the artists and writers who went on the trip would do a piece of art or prose inspired by their adventure, often times very “blue”, off color ,or outrageous, and these pieces would be assembled into a book presented to Bill as a thank you. At some point they started doing the same for longtime contributors. I am not sure if there was an actual number of years one had to be one of the Usual Gang of Idiots in order to get honored by a book, but now and again they’d do a MAD book for somebody. I was only asked to contribute to two, one for the great Frank Jacobs, and one for Nick.
Nick is a comedic genius, understands visual humor as much as he does written humor (which is to say A LOT) because he’s a hell of an artist. He is also someone I am lucky to be able to call a good friend. He was instrumental in my getting a chance at MAD, and gave me a great deal of valuable advice as a mentor. He also very generously wrote the forward for my book, and I used this very illustration to accompany that forward.
Anyway, I was proud to do this for him back in 2004. Real, live watercolor.
Tuesday, December 16th, 2014
I got permission from the folks at MAD to share my piece from the MAD 20 in issue #531. This is an all-digital painted piece, written by Desmond Devlin. Clicky to Embiggen…
Monday, December 15th, 2014
On news stands everywhere tomorrow, in comic book shops this week, in most subscriber’s mailboxes already and available digitally immediately via the MAD iPad app:
MAD #531 (February 2015)
- Cover (Mark Fredrickson)
- MAD’s First-Ever Guarantee (Writer: Dick DeBartolo)
- The Fundalini Pages (Jeff Kruse, John Martz, Bob Staake, Rick Tulka, Bob Eckstein, Rick Tulka, Anton Emdin, Tom Bunk)
- The MAD 20 Dumbest People, Events and Things of 2014
- The NFL’s Domestic Violence Problem (Uncredited)
- Ebola Hysteria (Uncredited)
- The GM Recall Debacle (Matt Lassen, Scott Bricher)
- The Militarization of the Police Dept (Desmond Devlin, Richard Williams)
- Target’s Security Breach (Writer: Darren Johnson)
- Obama Caught Off Guard (Artist: Richard Williams)
- The “Booty Trend” (Artist: Hermann Mejia)
- The MAD Fold-In (Al Jaffee)
- American Apparel’s CEO Pervert (Jason Katzenstein and Dan Abromowitz, Gary Hallgren)
- Hilary Clinton Cries Poverty (Uncredited)
- The Washington Redskins Stand by Their Name (Writer: Desmond Devlin)
- Chris Christie’s Traffic Scandal (Artist: Ward Sutton)
- CNN’s Endless Flight Coverage (Artist: Timothy Shamey)
- Cliven Bundy’s Standoff (Desmond Devlin, Tom Richmond)
- Rick Perry’s “Intelligent” New Look (Writer: Mike Morse)
- White House Security Breaches (Artist: Scott Bricher)
- Putin Invades Ukraine (Idea: Matt Lassen)
- Donald Sterling’s Racist Rant (Artist: Drew Friedman)
- The Iraq War “Experts” (Lance Hansen, Mark Fredrickson)
- The V.A. Hospital Scandal (Alison Grambs, Mark Stutzman)
- 8 Keys to Becoming a More Effective Supervillian (John Caldwell)
- A MAD Look at the Old Testament (Sergio Aragonés, Colorist: Tom Luth)
- Planet Tad (Writer: Tim Carvell)
- The MAD Vault- MAD #325, Feb 1994 (Desmond Devlin, Tom Bunk)
- Spy vs. Spy (Peter Kuper)
- The Strip Club (Dakota McFadzean, Kenny Keil, Lance Hansen, Kit Livery & Scott Nickel, Jason Yungbluth, Phil McAndrew, David DeGrand, Noah Van Scriver)
- Chilling Thoughts- 2014 Edition (Desmond Devlin, Evan Dorkin)
- Best of the Idiotical (Various)
- One Evening at the White House (Artist: Tom Richmond)
- Drawn Out Dramas- Throughout the issue (Sergio Aragonés)
I have two pieces in this issue, one being the printed version of the single page gag “One Evening at the White House” first posted on MAD’s website. The other is a spoof of the movie poster for ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West” Starring Cliven Bundy, Sean Hannity, and a cow (who is arguably the most intelligent mammal in the image). I’ll post a peek at that when MAD gives me the ok.
In the meantime… what are you waiting for?!? Go out and buy a copy, clod!
Monday, November 3rd, 2014
Well, technically election day is tomorrow but today is “Monday MADness”, so here’s an election day themed blast from the past:
In October of 2000 MAD was putting together it’s annual “MAD 20 People, Events and Things” issue and I was assigned the obligatory page making fun of the presidential election of that year, George W. Bush versus Al Gore. The issue was going to press on Nov. 8th, the day after the election. Not knowing who was going to win, I was asked to do two versions of the image, one with Bush being sworn in and one with Gore, showing the appropriate despondent other candidate and new first lady as well. Here were the images I did:
Since the print date was so close, they editors actually turned in both pages to the printer and were going to literally call them up on the 8th and tell them which to run. I remember The Lovely Anna and I were vacationing in Hawaii at the time of the election (you have to love absentee voting), and on the 8th I got up and checked the internet to see which of my illustrations would run in MAD.
… of course there was no winner. Not the next day, or the next, or the next. Thanks to “hanging chads”, general partisan stupidity and the controversy surrounding Florida’s electoral votes, the actual winner wasn’t known for weeks.
MAD waited for a few days to see if a result would be forthcoming, delaying the printing of those pages and the final stapling of the magazine as a result. Finally they went to press having printed half the issues with Bush and half with Gore as the winner. The piece was moved from “Dumbest Thing” #11 to #1 (actually this was decided well beforehand), and featured the following disclaimer:
Editor’s Note: For the purpose of historical inaccuracy, some editions of this issue depict George W. Bush being sworn in, while others show Al Gore. In the interest of bipartisanship, we urge all Americans to buy them both!
I believe I have relayed this story before here on The MAD Blog but I thought it worth revisiting on the eve of yet another Election Day.