x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Sergio Aragones and other veteran MAD cartoonists honoured

Al Jaffee, Sergio Aragones and Jack Davis were among eight veteran MAD magazine cartoonitsts at a reunion in Savannah, Georgia.

From left: Sergio Aragones, Savannah College of Art and Design professor John Larisonleft, Jack Davis and Al Jaffee chat at the Savannah event.
From left: Sergio Aragones, Savannah College of Art and Design professor John Larisonleft, Jack Davis and Al Jaffee chat at the Savannah event.

They are the original Mad Men. Al Jaffee, who at 90 still draws the optical illusion fold-in gags for MAD magazine’s back page; Sergio Aragones, still whipping out gut-busting miniature cartoons in the magazine’s margins after 48 years; Jack Davis, who drew the horror spoof “Hoohah!” that appeared in MAD’s 1952 debut ­issue.

They are among the cartoonists who put MAD on the map when it launched, taking it from stories spoofing its owner’s stable of horror comics to a broader range of send-ups lampooning American culture, celebrities and politics. By 1956, the magazine had a gap-toothed mascot, Alfred E Newman, who soon became a cartoon icon. For six decades, the cartoonists blended celebrity caricature, pop-culture parody and political satire in a way that would influence American comedy from Saturday Night Live to The Onion and more. Some of them are still churning out gags for MAD, in defiance of the ever-expanding generation gap with the magazine’s young audience.

“I have kids come to me at conventions saying, ‘My grandfather grew up with your work’,” said Aragones, 74, whose recent features include “A MAD Look at Lady Gaga”.

Aragones, Jaffee and Davis were among eight veteran MAD contributors who gathered on Saturday to be honoured by the Savannah College of Art and Design and the National Cartoonists Society.

Time magazine once dubbed MAD a “short-lived fad”, Jaffee recalled. “They didn’t think this … little magazine would last this long. However, I think MAD is challenging Time for longevity.”

 

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