Sunday, July 13th, 2014
Q: The pages you do for your MAD parodies are very detailed and full of a lot of little gags and touches, especially the opening pages. How long to you spend on each page?
A: I get this question a lot when people look at my originals. The only accurate answer is that it takes as long as they give me.
Doing the physical artwork is only part of the work and time I put into a movie or TV parody for MAD. I spend quite a bit of time doing research and getting familiar with the show or film as well as looking for reference photos or stills before I even pick up the pencil. Doing TV show parodies are harder in terms of research, because I need to watch a number of episodes to get the feel of the show and search for “inside” gags I can incorporate into the art. When we do serial shows like the recent “True Detective”, I really have to watch the whole run to completely get it. I know what you are thinking… “Poor baby, you have to watch TV for your job!” Yes, but it’s a two way sword. First, if I hate the show I still have to watch it, and that gets pretty tedious. I’ll never get back the hours of my life I spent watching “Samantha Who?”, “Glee” or “Pimp my Ride”. Second, it’s a lot of hours spent. One season of a typical serial show is 13 hours. If we are talking multiple seasons that’s some major binge watching. Of course, if I love the show like I did “Breaking Bad”, “Mad Men” or the previously mentioned “True Detective”, that’s not very arduous… just very time consuming.
Movies are easier from a research perspective as they are usually less than 3 hours long, and if I see it twice that’s plenty. I usually watch a movie I’m doing the parody art for once when I get the assignment, then again after I’ve read the script and know what scenes we are doing, so I can pay close attention to the visuals during those scenes. Then I download trailers and search the internet for stills or promotional photos to use as reference.
Once I start the actual artwork I do a page in about 2 to 3 days. It takes about a day per page to pencil it out, including roughs and final pencils, 1/2 a day to ink it and 1/2 a day to color it. That’s 2 days per page, but If I take my time it stretches out to 3 days per page. 2 days per page is pretty much my top speed. Any faster and the work suffers. By a “day” I mean about 12-15 hours. I have been known to color and entire 6 page parody in under 48 hours, but that is a function of endurance rather than speed. I simply stop sleeping or doing anything but work, eat and use the restroom (and it’s not out of the question to do all three at the same time) until the job is done. Not healthy but deadlines wait for no man.
Thanks to Steve Barber 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!
Monday, June 23rd, 2014
This week’s Monday MADness is a look at the complete pencil roughs for MAD‘s parody of the TV show LOST, from MAD #453, May 2005, written by Dick Debartolo (Clicky any to embiggen):
And if you are curious, here’s what the final art looked like:
Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
As promised, here is a sneak peek of my art from MAD #528′s parody of “Two Detectives”, written by Arnie Kogen:
The splash page (Clicky to Embiggen…)
What do you mean you “want to read the entire parody?” What does this look like, a furshlugginer library?!? Go out and buy the issue, putz!
Monday, June 16th, 2014
In comic book shops, on the iPad and in subscribers mailboxes now, on news stands everywhere Tuesday:
MAD # 528 (August 2014)
- Cover (Mark Fredrickson)
- The Fundalini Pages (Matt Lassen, Ward Sutton, Tim Hamilton, Jeff Kruse, Rick Tulka, P.C. Vey, Dick DeBartolo, John Caldwell, Kenny Keil, Anton Emdin, David DeGrand, Tom Bunk, Rich Powell, Kevin Pope, Mark Fredrickson, Bob Eckstein, Stan Sinberg, John Kerschbaum)
- Two Defectives (A MAD TV Satire) (Arnie Kogen, Tom Richmond)
- How Kimye Stacks Up Against Other Famous Married Couples (Uncredited)
- Planet TAD!!!!! (Tim Carvell)
- Appy (Mike Morse, Sam Sisco)
- MOtowNOPOLY (Stan Sinberg, Mike Loew)
- Monster Marriage Poster (Mark Fredrickson)
- A MAD Look at Captain America (Sergio Aragonés, Colorist: Jim Campbell)
- MAD’s Celebrity Acronyms (Matt Lassen, Rick Tulka)
- The MAD Vault- (From MAD #409, Sept. 2001: John Caldwell)
- The Strip Club (Eugen Erhan & Tudor Muscalu, Dakota McFadzean, Phil McAndrew, Josh Mecouch, Jason Yungbluth, Nathan Cooper, Christopher Baldwin)
- A Minor League Baseball Flyer That Tells it Like it Is (Jeff Kruse)
- Reality Show Rejection Letters (Kenny Keil)
- Spy vs. Spy (Peter Kuper)
- The Puffington Host (Matt Lassen & Scott Maiko)
- The Best of The Idiotical (various)
- 7 Easy Ways to Defeat Godzilla (Mike Morse, Hermann Mejia)
- Another Ridiculous MAD Fold-In (Al Jaffee)
- Drawn Out Dramas (Sergio Aragonés, appear throughout the issue)
I did the art on the parody of the HBO TV series “True Detective” (incorrectly listed as “A Mad Movie Satire” in the issue’s table of contents), a six pager written by Arnie Kogen. Look for a sneak peek of my art from that in tomorrow’s post.
Well . . . What are you waiting for, clod?!? Go out and buy a fershlugginer copy already!
Saturday, June 14th, 2014
If you don’t frequent MAD‘s website often, you are missing out on some original and funny stuff. They post daily content that is often all new and very timely stuff that is more than a few notches above your typical meme. They also sprinkle in classic features like Don Martin, Dave Berg, Spy vs. Spy and more.
Lately they have really been on a roll with political satire ala these two recent posts:
Back in the early 2000s when I started for MAD, I heard a lot of right-wingers accusing MAD of being a “liberal rag” because all they did was bash Bush and his cronies. I would defend MAD in saying they go after the people in charge, left or right. That, of course, held no water for the Limbaugh crowd… if you aren’t with them you are against them.
Now, the lefties are all crying about MAD being an extension of Fox News and accusing them of having been bought out by Rupert Murdoch. See my same argument from 2001-2009. You go after the people in power, and regardless of your personal political views if someone does something stupid, you point it out with gusto. The only difference is that a good political satirist tries to separate the spin from the real stupidity.
Monday, June 9th, 2014
As promised, here’s the first of seven times I ended up having two different pieces in the same issue of MAD:
MAD #463, March 2006:
I did the art for the TV parody of “Everyone Hates Chris” written by Arnie Kogen. Here’s the pencil roughs and the final splash page art:
Clicky any to embiggen…
I also did the art for a Russ Cooper written feature called “MAD presents iToons” which were gags riffing on the at-the-time Apple ad campaign featuring silhouettes of people dancing around with white iPod earbuds in:
Sunday, June 8th, 2014
Q: A few issues ago you had two different pieces in the same issue of MAD. Has that ever happened before?
A: The issue Richard is referring to is MAD #525, which included both the Arnie Kogen scribed parody of “The Following” I did the art for, and the “Abysmal House” piece (written by Jay Rath) I drew for the “MAD 20″.
Having more than one piece is the same issue is a rare thing for me… for any illustrator really other than Sergio. More often than not these days I am doing “continuity” features for the magazine (i.e. the movie and TV parodies), and as these are long and time consuming I am seldom asked to do anything else for a single issue. It has happened occasionally, though. Seven times in fact. Most of the time I had done one substantial feature and then a spot illustration or some smaller piece for the Fundalini Pages, but occasionally I illustrated two multi-paged articles.
In issue #525, MAD asked me to do the art on the “Abysmal House” piece largely because I has just done a similar thing for another client, so they knew I could pull it off. Luckily I had just enough time to squeak it in under the deadline after having done six pages of “The Swallowing”. Here are the other issues I did multiple pieces for:
MAD #463: I did the art for the Arnie Kogen parody of “Everyone Hates Chris”, and a gag article called “MAD presents iToons” by Russ Cooper.
MAD #471: My main piece was for a video game spoof called “When Video Games Become Religious” by Jacob Lambert, and I also did a gag cartoon about Mel Gibson‘s anti-Semitic antics called “One Afternoon on the Pacific Coast Highway”.
MAD #480: Not sure this counts but I actually did three pieces in this issue. One was part of the main magazine, the art for Desmond Devlin‘s parody of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”. Then in the special Ballpark Franks “advertising insert” I did the cover and a two page poster called “The Evolution of Hunger”. Probably doesn’t count. No doubt MAD historians will be arguing about if it does or doesn’t for centuries.
MAD #481: I did two short pieces in this issue… a one pager entitled “Things Shouted Out to Paris Hilton as She Left Prison” and a two pager called “Celebrity Yu-Gi-Oh Cards” written by Michael Arnold.
MAD #482: Wow, never realized until I looked this up this was three issues in a row with multiple pieces in them! I was one of several artists that did spot illustrations for “Mad’s 50 Worst Things About Advertising”, and also did a mash-up parody of “The Sopranos” and “America’s Next Top Model” entitled “Amercia’s Next Top Mobster” by Des Devlin.
MAD #502: I did a one page piece for the MAD 20 called “Henry Gates Arrested in Own Home – Beer & Loathing”, plus a two page Jacob Lambert written article entitled “Board Game-Based Movies We’ll Soon Be Seeing”.
MAD #503: Besides doing the art on Des Devlins parody of “The Big Bang Theory”, I also did a spot illustration for the Fundalini pages as part of the short feature “Reasons Cited by Sportswriters for Not Voting Mark McGwire into HoF”
MAD #525 is discussed above.
Hey, this is a good series to run for my “Monday MADness” feature! For the next few Mondays I’ll post some of the art from these double appearance issues.
Thanks to Richard Griffin 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!
Monday, June 2nd, 2014
After the release this weekend of Angelina Jolie‘s new movie “Malificent”, I thought for this week’s Monday MADnessI’d post a look at the art from another film where she had to wear prosthetics… but not horns. Here’s “Lotta Crotch: Bazoom Raider” from MAD #410, October 2001, written by Desmond Devlin. Clicky any to embiggen…
Monday, May 5th, 2014
This week’s Monday MADness is a look at the pencil roughs (and finals) of a feature entitled “A Mad Peek Behind the Scenes at Celebrity Poker Showdown” written by Desmond Devlin, Steve Rosso, David Shayne and John Caldwell from MAD #452, April 2005. Sharp eyed viewers will spot some MAD related characters in the audience. Clicky any to embiggen…
Sunday, May 4th, 2014
Q: I have to admit that I am a little disappointed because I thought that just maybe Mad would have done a satire of the movie “Gravity”. The movie was a big hit and quite notable (notable enough to warrant a Sergio Aragones piece in #526) and certainly worthy of the satirical minds at Mad to shred to pieces. A miss on the magazine’s part, I felt. And that got me wondering. Have you ever considered simply doing your own satire of a movie or TV show that Mad ignored to satisfy your own wish to see that movie or TV show skewered? Nothing like a seven page endeavor, of course, but maybe a one or two page spread that you’d basically keep as your own private property?
A: Regarding “Gravity”, I actually asked the guys at MAD if that one was in the pipeline. They said it was being considered, but they decided not to do it. There were probably several reasons but I suspect the chief two were that Sergio was doing his “MAD Look at Gravity” and that the film was basically one person floating around in a series of space vehicles, so not much visual fun. Plus they said I suck at drawing Sandra Bullock. The timing of the movie in relation to the release of the magazine was probably a factor. Anyway, it wasn’t to be. A lot of really worthy movies don’t get the MAD treatment because of various reasons, not the least of which there are only six issues a year to go around.
As to doing them on my own, I actually had thought about that at one point… kind of a MAD web comic that I could eventually collect in a book or something. Then I remembered how much %$#%& work these things are, and came to my senses. Seriously it would be fun to do and I think I could write well enough to pull off some short ones, but I just don’t have the time to do that.
Thanks to Art Armstrong 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!