Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Usual Gang of Idiots

Like many cartoonists of my generation, I grew up reading MAD magazine. By the early 1970s, when I discovered William Gaines' subversive publication, MAD was undergoing a kind of second renaissance. Inside a typical issue of the time you'd find work by Mort Drucker, Jack Davis, Al Jaffee, Angelo Torres, Don Martin, Dave Berg, Bob Clarke, George Woodbrige, Antonio Prohias, Jack Rickard, Stan Hart, Tom Koch, Larry Siegel, Frank Jacobs, Arnie Kogen, and Dick de Bartolo -- a veritable hall of fame of American cartoonists and satirists.

The changing social, sexual and political attitudes of the late 60s and early 70s provided great fodder for the magazine, and the Usual Gang of Idiots (as publisher Gaines dubbed his contributing artists and writers) produced some of the best work of their careers.

As an impressionable 10-year-old, I devoured every new issue of MAD, relishing each irreverent page. I copied Jack Davis and Mort Drucker drawings, trying to figure out just how these cartooning titans created their mirthful masterworks. I even wrote my own "MAD-like" comics, featuring such terrible puns as "Broom 222" (after the TV show "Room 222") and drawings of singer Tom "Bones."

I'd long wanted to make it into the pages of MAD, and submitted material sporadically over the years, always receiving rejection slips. A couple of years ago I began to submit again and actually received a response from one of the editors He liked TRIPLE TAKE and invited me to submit more material. Many submissions and rejections later, he finally accepted a piece for publication.

I received my comp copies of issue 483 today -- the "Zombie" issue. Flipping to page 27, I found my cartoon: "Product Placement in Horror Movies." Yes!

MAD may not quite be the same magazine it was when I was a kid: Jack Davis stopped working for it years ago and Mort Drucker contributes material only sporadically. But Sergio Arragones is still there every issue and a new generation of cartoonists has taken up the MAD mantle: John Caldwell, Tom Richmond, Hermann Mejia, Tom Bunk, Drew Friedman, to name but a few. And Al Jaffee continues to do the inside cover fold-in.

One of the usual gang of idiots. Me? I couldn't be more proud.


Brubaker said...

Congrats, Scott!

I subscribe to MAD, so I'll be sure to see it.

richardcthompson said...

Congratulations, man. That's a dang cool roster to join.

Rick Ellis said...

Good going. Another thing to add to your growing list of cartoon accomplishments.

Go for the cover of Time Magazine next.

Jarrett said...

Ok...I'm just gonna come out and say it. I'm willing to wager Brubaker is really Kazoo from The Flintstones...the dude pops up everywhere, out of nowhere.

Congrats on the Mad Magazine cartoon...well done.

I was in Crack once. No, not Cracked Magazine. 'Crack'

I'm not even gonna tell you what kind of magazine it was or the illustration I did, Brubaker is young, and this isn't for young ears.

Go for TIME Canada first...

Rick Ellis said...


Isn't "Crack" Magazine the Plumber's Monthly?

Chris said...

Congratulations, Scott!

Seeing your own cartoon in "MAD" must be an great feeling. This cartoon was very funny, and actually might have fit in with "EEK!" although the irreverent humor of "MAD" is a good fit.

"EEK!" is still awesome, by the way. Keep it up.

Scott Nickel said...

Thanks guys!

Chris, funny you should mention EEK! This chainsaw gag was actually written for the strip and was part of the initial submission package (although the art's since been revised).

When I sold the gag to MAD, I pulled it from the pile before EEK! launched.

Scott Nickel said...

Brubaker is like the wind...the ghostly wind....

Anonymous said...

Hey Scott did you hear about how they're making a new Jason movie -- what a coincidence!!!!

Anonymous said...

I mean I assume that it's Jason in the cartoon. lol