MAD About Storytelling

August 15th, 2016 | Posted in MAD Magazine

Cp092NOVMAAiIfNPhoto by illustrator Buck Jones

This past Friday I joined MAD art director Sam Viviano and MAD writer Desmond Devlin, along with MAD‘s Maddest Writer Dick DeBartolo via teleconference, at The Kaneko gallery in Omaha, NE for a panel talk about storytelling…. MAD style. Kanenko is a public non-profit cultural organization, exploring and encouraging the process of creativity, and how it impacts everyday lives. It was established in 1998 by international artist Jun Kaneko and his wife Ree. They organize ongoing programs that explore various areas of creativity, and this summer the are exploring the art of “storytelling”, which includes graphic storytelling in comics, cartooning and animation. There was a gallery show with some terrific work including a few original comic book art pages by Carmine Infantino.

Sam put together a great program, and it was a good turnout. We focused mostly on the movie parodies MAD is known for, both from the writing side with Dick and Des, and the art side with Sam and myself. We talked about the nuts and bolts of satire and putting together a movie parody, and how to use humor to tell a story. Dick talked about (among other things) his earliest film parody work, which were actually parodies not of specific films but of film genres, like “The Flying Ace” from MAD #93 in 1965. That was a parody of war movies (starring the Beatles!). “Son of Mighty Joe Kong” from MAD #94, 1965, was a spoof of monster movies like King Kong, Godzilla, etc. Dick when on to talk abotu his favorite kinds of films to parody (disaster movies) and some of his later work. Sam talked about the history of the movie parody in MAD, some of his specific work and the challenges that doing art for a film parody present. Des and I discussed one of the film parodies we collaborated on for the Harry Potter series, “Harry Plodder and the Torture of the Fanbase”, aka “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”, talking about specific panels and our general approach to our respective jobs.

Of course there were a lot of laughs. I had a great time and recommend Omaha to anyone looking to find a charming, hidden gem in the midwest to visit.


  1. Bucky Jones says:

    It was a great event and one I am so glad I had the chance to attend. The panel was very informative, entertaining and the work shared was obviously inspiring and amazing to view! Having the chance to meet and hangout with Sam and Des in person was a real treat, and any chance I have to see some of my fellow NCS friends like yourself, Paul Fell and Mike Edholm is ALWAYS a great thing and a guaranteed night of laughter!


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