Mad Magazine’s Influence on Me

IT ALL BEGAN WITH ONE ISSUE OF MAD

Davy's First Issue of MAD Magazine he ever purchased.
My first Mad Magazine

I was nine years old at a Goodwill store in Galveston, Texas browsing through the books when I came across this insane back issue of a magazine called MAD. I could not believe a magazine full of cartoons by multiple cartoonists existed! There were actually a total of 6 Mad Magazines I purchased that day at Goodwill with my allowance money. I paid fifty cents for each of them. It was the best investment I ever made.

Mad magazine molded me into the cartoonist I am today.

Drawing the cover for this all-important issue was my hero, Don Martin. For the next ten years, I would check back with this Goodwill location and their impressive collection of treasures. Every week found either a MAD Magazine or a MAD paperback on the shelf. When all was said in done. I had an entire closet full of paperbacks and back issues of the magazine. I read them over and over again. I studied them. I dreamed that, one day, I would have a cartoon published in MAD!

You snooze, you lose.

I had just polished off a character I planned on pitching MAD magazine next month. I had 6 great one page gags written and ready to draw up. The news of MAD magazine rang out lat week… They are shutting down operations as we know the today. No longer will new material be published in the magazine I grew up dreaming about. I have failed myself and lost one of the items in my bucket list.

So sad!

There were so many talented cartoonists. I loved them all! From Dave Berg, Al Jaffee, Sergio Aragonés to Mort Drucker, Jack Davis, and Antonio Prohías. There were so many amazing re-occurring characters from Spy Verses Spy to the tiny characters in the teeny margins between the panels and on the edge of the pages. There were so many talented cartoonists working for that magazine.

Who was my favorite MAD artist? Don Martin! Hands down, Don Martin was the biggest influence on my drawing style. The huge eyes I draw on my characters is a direct nod to my hero. I have had so many people of influence tell me that I have to come up with a new manner in which to draw these eyes. I am told my eyes are way to big and too scary. I can never change this aspect of my style. Changing my style would be turning my back on the man who molded my career.

Sadly, Don Martin passed away in 2000. His work reflected the warped views of normalcy that other cartoonists have yet to match. Don had a style and a class all his own. God bless you Don… and may MAD rest in peace.

WHO WAS YOUR FAVORITE MAD ARTIST? – Tell me in the comments!!!

– Davy

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