I’ve mentioned before that some TV shows that I parody in MAD I could care less about. I’ll watch as many episodes as possible to get a feel for the show and what it is about, the quirks and little things I can make fun of, and then never watch it again after I’m done with the art. Occasionally, however, I’ll start watching a show and get hooked on it. The ultimate example of that is when I was assigned to do the art for Lost. The show was already 10 episodes into season one when I got the job, so finding previous episodes was not easy. MAD sent me a bunch on DVD that someone there must have recorded as they aired, and I sat down after dinner one evening thinking I’d watch one or two episodes, and some more over the next few days… I ended up staying up all night watching every one I had! I was missing one, so I bit-torrent downloaded it on my computer. I haven’t missed an episode since! In honor of tonight’s season premiere, I thought I’d share one of the best pieces I have on the Wall of Shame: my splash page from the Lost parody and the especially interesting story that goes along with it. For those who are not familiar with the Wall of Shame, read my previous posts here and here.
For a larger image see the MAD Art page
After the parody was published I got a call from Lost producer J.J. Abram‘s office asking about the original artwork. J.J. is apparently a big MAD fan and he wanted both the splash from my parody and Hermann Mejia‘s painted cover. Naturally we worked that out, but I neglected to ask about getting a signed print as part of the deal. I can’t remember why, but part of it might have been that J.J. is in L.A. and the cast is in Hawaii, or they might have been on hiatus or something. Anyway that didn’t happen this time. J.J. was thrilled with the art, though, which was cool.
In 2005 I attended the San Diego Comic Con for the first time in 10 years. I was excited to find out several of the actors from Lost would be appearing there promoting the show and a set of licensed trading cards some company was producing. I got one of those oversized poster prints of the splash from MAD and took it with me to try and get it signed by whoever was there. I visited the card company’s booth and found I needed to be there at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday morning to get in line for the autographs. Seeing as how 9:30 was when they opened the gates to the place, and I was a guest and therefore allowed in early, I knew I’d be able to get there before the rush and guarantee a spot in line.
That morning rolled around. I was hanging out near the card booth waiting for the appointed time, as were several others. The problem was that the organization of this line was left up to two of the biggest assholes I’ve ever run into at one of these events. One was a steroid-infused troglodyte who’s knuckles just cleared the floor and the other was a short Jet-Li look-alike in an expensive suit. Both were clearly enamored of the fact they they had walkie-talkies with earpieces and short term power over the masses. When 9:30 rolled around we were told to disperse and come back later. Nobody would say when or why, just that we had to leave. The troglodyte actually yelled at a woman in a wheelchair who was pointing to the “line forms at 9:30” sign asking why the line was not starting, saying “I’ll tell you when to get in line!!!” No kidding. It was pathetic. Clearly this was not going to work out, so I just went back to the booth I was at for the show and went to plan “B”.
Plan “B” is so called because the “B” stands for “Bullshit”. Once the actual autograph appearance was underway (hours later) I went back to the card booth with my poster print. I went to the opposite side of the area where the crowd was trying to get a peek at the actors, spotted a woman obviously in charge of the group, and then went up to one of the other booth workers who was selling cards in the corner.
“Hi, I’m looking for the coordinator from ABC”, I said. “Julie… I think. Brown hair and glasses.”.
“You mean Catherine?”, the sales lady said.
“That’s the one!” I replied.
She pointed out the woman I had seen. I circled around behind her and muscled my way to the roped off edge of the area.
“Catherine?” I said loudly.
“Yes?” she said as she turned to me.
I then launched into the “B” part, where I showed her the MAD print and told her I was the artist, and that I had talked to J.J. about being here today and getting some signatures on it. I told her it was part of the deal for selling him my original artwork, and he said to come up and ask for “Catherine”.
“Yes! I’ve seen your artwork up in his office,” she said. “Do you have a ticket for a signature?”
I did not of course, that’s what the line was supposed to be for earlier in the day… apparently starting whenever at the whim of two jerks. She gave me a ticket and ushered me to the end of the line, which had been closed off for over an hour. Ha! Score: Troglodytes: 0, Lying Caricature Artists: 1.
When I got up to the front of the line, I got to meet Maggie Rutherford (Shannon) and Josh Holloway (Sawyer). Both were very nice and Shannon asked me where I got the large print of the MAD spread. When I told her I was the artist she and Josh went on and on about how everybody loved being in MAD and that copies of the issue it was in were all over the set for weeks. That was really nice to hear, of course. A group of the writers of the show who were sitting next to Josh and Maggie overheard and all of them wanted to know if they could get copies of the oversize print I had. They also were big fans of MAD and raved about the parody (that never gets old). I made a deal with Bryan Burk, one of the main writers. I told him I’d arrange to get prints made for them and send them to him, and all he had to do was pay for the actual cost of the prints and do me a small favor. The favor was to figure out how I could get the rest of the cast to sign my print. He said that would not be a problem.
I had the prints done for them at a local graphics house (MAD sent me the file with the text in place… they were unable to do it for me this time) and it was only a little over $20.00 per print. I sent my print to “Grass Skirt Productions” in Hawaii to the attention of a nice lady in charge there as per Bryan’s direction. It took a long time, but eventually what I got back was the print signed by every actor from the show on the splash:
Maybe someday I’ll be able to add Tom Hanks and Peter Graves, as they have cameos (I won’t hold my breath on that one). Right now this beauty hangs proudly on my “Wall of Shame”, a testament to MAD’s popularity and the power of B.S. Can’t wait for the season premiere tonight. Since the new season is upon us I may not be able to resist a Lost review or examination weekly. If I succumb to that, I apologize to anyone who couldn’t care less but is a regular blog visitor.
312 Another great caricature workshop in the books! 2018 workshops planned for LA, Atlanta and Switzerland so far, with more to come. Visit tomrichmond.com/workshops for all the details!
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