Sneak Peek: “Ironic, Man”- MAD 492

July 15th, 2008 | Posted in MAD Magazine

I have to admit I was pretty stoked to get assigned the art chores on MAD‘s parody of “Iron Man“, as it was one of the movies I was looking the most forward to seeing this summer. I saw it twice (on opening day) as I usually do when drawing the parody… once to just watch it and once to study it for the parody. I sometimes see it a third time once I have read the script so I can pay special attention to the visuals during scenes I know are going to correspond to panels in the parody. While I didn’t make it to a third viewing, I can say this was one of the rare times I sat through two screenings in one day and wasn’t bored out of my mind the second time. Great movie.

Of course, that doesn’t mean there is nothing to make fun of! Far from it. Someone once asked me if I preferred to do parodies of things I liked or of things I hated. The answer to that is: yes. It’s always more fun to do a parody of something you feel strongly about, either positively or negatively… it’s the things you feel indifferent to that are difficult to work on.

I promised to tell a little behind-the-scenes story of how this parody almost didn’t make it into the actual magazine, but first here is the sneak peek at the splash, a rough and some of the panels from the spoof:

Ironic Man Splash
Here’s the splash page
Click for a closer look…

Ironic Man Pencil Rough
The initial pencil rough
Click for a closer look…

Here are a few panels from the rest of the parody:

The call for this came just before the movie came out. Des Devlin did the script over the opening weekend and I was drawing it by the middle of the following week… that is insanely fast for MAD, which usually has a much longer process of assessing the movie’s “parody-worthiness”, assigning the script, editing the script, laying out the results and then assigning the art and sending it all out to the artist. Des, the editors and the art department all went crazy and did it in just a few days. I had about 3 weeks to do the art, which at 5 pages wasn’t too bad of a deadline. Unfortunately Memorial Day weekend was at the end of that time and the NCS Reuben Awards as well, plus a few other jobs and the opening of my theme park operation in Minnesota… so it was a bit of a challenge.

Deadline conquered, artwork turned in on time. Later in June, however, I heard through the grapevine that the parody might not make issue #492. I called up the MAD offices upset that it was somehow my fault and the parody was either getting pushed back or not run. MAD art director Sam Viviano reassured me it had nothing to do with me or the final results. They were simply thinking about using it in a different manner.

If you go to the San Diego Comic Con later this month, you’ll see what I am talking about. MAD has put together a special “Comic Con” issue that will be given away in the convention goodie bags and NOWHERE ELSE… totally exclusive to Comic Con attendees. They considered putting “Ironic, Man” in that special issue briefly, but decided against it. I saw an advanced copy of the Comic Con issue when I visited the MAD offices in NYC a few weeks ago, and the content is clever, funny and very well done. I think it will be a big hit with convention goers. I can’t devulge any more details, but I hope we members of the Usual Gang of Idiots all get copies.


  1. meredithd says:

    Wow-nice job on the digital camouflage. When they switched over from the woodland pattern I was like, “arrgh! I’ll never be able to draw that pattern!!!” Any tips on how you did it?

  2. SteveH says:

    Awesome work Tom! Can’t wait to get my copy of MAD here in London!


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