Sunday Mailbag: MAD Changes?

November 19th, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: Does MAD change your submitted final art? For instance: I think you are drawing panel-lines in your MAD-parodies, but there are no more panel-lines in the magazine any more.

A: I’ll answer your main question in a second, but first I’ll address your comment about the panel lines and added panel space or “gutters”. What you are referring to is this:

Above: Actual art I submitted for a page in the parody of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”

Page as it appeared in MAD #443, July 2004

The MAD art staff added the spaces between the panels, Sergio’s marginal, and of course the words. If you look closely, the outside on my original image is also cropped slightly along all sides. All this is just part of the “bleed”. For anyone not familiar with the term, a “bleed” is an area of a printed page that is cropped off either by the edge of the page, or by the inside gutter. Image that intends to go all the way to the edge of a page needs to extend past that edge (1/8 of an inch is a standard) because magazine pages are printed on paper that is actually larger than what the magazine page size is. This is because you cannot print up to an edge in a 4 color offset printing, as each time through the printer you’d end up with the ink printing past the edge and getting all over the print rollers, causing a huge mess and destroying the print run. So, printers print on larger paper and then cut the paper down to size. Since paper moves ever so slightly in these automated cutters, you need to allow some extra image or “bleed” so you don’t end up with white, unprinted edges here and there. I do the same thing with the areas between the panels, so I don’t have the image stopping short of the eventual added gutters, but rather always have a clean edge.

That said, on to your original question:

No, MAD does not makes changes my final artwork. Not really. They will occasionally change some colors or lighten/darken a value in order to allow something they add to be more visible, like when they add the “Department” text up at the top of a splash page. If they decide to use white, reversed out letters, they might darken that area of my splash so it pops out. They never touch up my actual artwork. If they want something changed for any reason, they call me and tell me to do it. This happens very, VERY seldom, because art director  Sam Viviano and the rest of the art department know what they are doing and art direct me well to deliver what they are looking for the first time around. It also helps that we have been working together for over 17 years. I understand what they want and they understand what I am able to deliver.

Thanks to Dominick Zeillinger 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!

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