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.