Research Task: Funny Pictures

‘Mad’ Magazine is one of the most significant publications in comics history. For this task I need to research the below cartoonists/artists:

● Don Martin, whose immediately recognizable drawing style featured characters with bulbous noses and was loose, rounded, and filled with broad slapstick humour.

Don was named ‘Mad’s Maddest Artist’. He was an American cartoonist who worked for ‘Mad’ from 1956 – 1988. He was given a star in the ‘Comic Book Hall of Fame’ in 2004. He received an award called ‘Special Features Award’ from the National Cartoonist Society in 1981 and 1982. Martin brought his portfolio to the Mad offices in 1956 and was immediately given an assignment. Prior to Mad, he illustrated album covers for Miles Davis in 1956 called ‘Miles Davis and Horns’. He also used a lot of onomatopoeia even to the extent that his registration plate read SHTOINK.

● Antonio Prohias, Cuban cartoonist whose ‘Spy Vs Spy’ strip parodied Cold War paranoia with its competing black and white-suited spies.

In 1959 he was the president of the Cuban Cartoonist Association. In 1960 he worked in a garment factory by day and built a cartoon portfolio for ‘Mad’ at night, ten weeks later he walked into Mad’s offices unannounced and sold his first three ‘Spy vs Spy’ cartoons for $800. He told his 241st and last ‘Sky vs Sky’ strip before retiring due to illness. 

● Mort Drucker, who visually adapted hundreds of American movies and TV shows and was the magazine’s expert in caricaturing film stars and celebrities.

Drucker entered the comic field by assisting Bert Whitman on the ‘Publishers Hall’ newspaper comic strip Debbie Dean in 1947 when he was 18. He then joined the staff of National Periodical Publications (DC Comics) where he worked as a retoucher. In 1956 Drucker started at ‘Mad’. He was with ‘Mad’ for 55 years and made more than 400 strips.

● Al Jaffee, whose inside back cover ‘Fold-In’ pages were a formal invention where a cartoon drawing is folded vertically and inward to reveal a new “hidden” picture (as well as a new caption).

Al is known for the is work in the ‘Mad’ magazine including his trademark feature, the ‘Mad Fold-in’. He was a regular contributor to the magazine for 65 years and is it’s longest-running contributor. With a career running from 1942 to 2020 Jaffee holds the Guinness World Record for having the longest-ever career as a comic artist. In 2008 he was honored by the ‘Reuben Awards’ as the cartoonist of the year. He is currently 101 years old!


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