Sunday Mailbag: Ever Done any Writing?

February 16th, 2014 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: Have you ever done any writing? Maybe pitch a comic book idea with an original character, or submitted a written piece to MAD? Ever wanted to create your own “Batman” or “Sherlock Holmes”? With your artistic skills, you all ready have a leg up. Just wondering…

A: I have done a lot of writing, but not much creative writing like you describe. Most of what I’ve written are articles for various publications or this website, my book, and a few little projects I’ve done here and there. I’ve never submitted a script or idea to MAD, nor written a comic book story of my own either to draw or pitch. My professional credits as a writer begin and end with two parodies (“Godzilla” and “The Sopranos”) in Cracked:

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Incidentally the original title of that paordy was “God-Awful”, which makes more sense with the intro title. However I actually only did the first 4 pages as a sample to show MAD, and they were not impressed. When I then showed it to Cracked they wanted to print it, so I had to finish it up. I came up with the Hillary Clinton joke and changed the title to “God-Hilla”. After that one, Cracked asked me to do a parody of whatever I wanted (obviously their standards were pretty low at the time). “The Sopranos” was really hot and all over the news so I decided on that one and called my pal Jim Batts for some assistance, whereupon he sent me a box of recordings of the show and embellished my script with a number of gags:

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Other than those two the only thing I can recall ever writing and drawing entirely myself was this short comic for the National Caricature Network’s newsletter:


I have a few ideas of some stuff I’d like to write and draw, but finding the time is hard. I’m busy trying to make a living as a freelancer, and I can’t afford to pass up paying drawing gigs for possible income on a personal project. I’ve often thought about writing a TV or movie parody for MAD and pitching it to them, but that’s not really how that kind of thing works. The editors decide what films or shows they want to parody, and then assign a writer and artist to it. They’ve got better writers than me to do that stuff.

One of these days I’ll get around to doing a few of my own projects.

Thanks to Jose De La Mora¬¨‚Ć 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!¬¨‚Ć


  1. Lee Fortuna says:

    Tom maybe an online continuous comic you can write & illustrate,like “Red’s Planet”? If I was to throw out a plot idea for ya,how about the story line consists of the things you know best in your life, being a freelance illustrator while married & raising teenagers? You know as well as I do you will have A TON of material to work from,lol!


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