I know I’ve told this story before, but if someone was to ask me “what was the first piece you ever did for MAD?”, there are actually three answers.
- The first piece of art I ever had printed in MAD was a two pager called “Gadgets to Make Your Home Theater REALLY like the Movies” in MAD #399, October 2000.
- The first piece of art I ever did for them that they used for any reason was something called “Presidential Survivor”, and was used on the MAD website (back when they were first doing original content on it) in August 2000.
- My first official paid assignment for MAD was more-or-less a “test” job, which they assigned to me in June of 2000. It was called “MAD‘s Cable TV Viewing Odds”, written by John Biederman.
This job was what is called an “evergreen” feature… meaning it is not timely and can be run virtually at any time when they need a couple of pages to fill. MAD used to assign these kinds of jobs to new artists as a kind of test run to see how they do. Sometimes it’s the one and only job they ever give to that artist, and sometimes it’s the beginning of a number of jobs. As always. you are paid on delivery of the art… so if it does not see publication for months (or ever) you get the dough but maybe not that elusive credit in the magazine.
Anyway, I turned in the job and they stuck it in the “evergreen” drawer for a few months. It ended up being printed in MAD #406, June 2001. It became my sixth appearance in print in the magazine, even though it was actually the first art I ever drew for them.
Here is a mock-up of the feature from my archives, splash up top and the final page below. I placed the final illustrations in the rough layout just to see how it would look. The actual printed article was a little different.
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