Everybody in the press and social media has been commenting on the recent announcement of Mad Magazine’s projected demise, so why not me? As one of “the usual gang of idiots”, I certainly have the credentials to at least make note of this sad turn of events on my blog/archive.
Below is a reprint of my posting, dated August 29, 2006, which told of my brief involvement with Mad. In the next few days, I will reprint another Mad-related posting. Sad news indeed.
Posted by Eli on August 29, 2006 – 2:39am
Gagwriting is one-quarter of the thrill of being a gag cartoonist. The other three quarters are drawing the gag, selling it and finally, seeing it in print. In 1968 I came up with an idea that I couldn’t seem to develop into a cartoon, but it occured to me that it could possibly become a pretty good spread in Mad magazine. I roughed out a layout, wrote a lot of copy, and sent it out.
I soon heard from Mad Editor Nick Meglin, who said he was interested in the concept and the writing, but he wanted to farm it out to one of his regular artists to draw. (See my posting about Tom Wesselmann — the same proposal was made to him by The New Yorker.) I pondered for a while about what leverage I had if I were to insist on doing the artwork myself (absolutely none, I decided), so I said OK to Mr. Meglin’s offer.
The two-page spread appeared in the October 1968 issue, illustrated by Joe Orlando. The images below were taken from the reprint of the article in the paperback book Steaming Mad, which appeared years later.
So I got paid the writer’s fee instead of the artist’s fee, and that’s how I became one of Mad’s “usual gang of idiots” and a hero to my little kids.