November 29, 2003

An unexpected visit from an old friend

Mookie (who blogs dead people) and I had the house to ourselves today while mom did her last day of work for awhile. We did some chores and straightening up, then sat down to watch George of the Jungle together. If you haven't seen that movie, then you need to be smacked upside. If you saw it and thought it was stupid, well... duh!

So as the closing credits rolled, we were watching for the song titles because one in particular had caught our fancy, when a name jumped out at me.

Sergio Aragones. He was listed as one of the animators for the opening credit cartoon. Does that name ring a bell? I spent years loving his little doodles in the margins of MAD magazine. Each issue had countless little masterpieces scribbled in random corners of each page.

And that brought back names I didn't even know I remembered. Don Martin (master of odd sound effects), Dave Berg (The Lighter Side...), Antonio Prohias (Spy vs. Spy) and Mort Drucker. These guys were my heroes growing up, because I wanted to be a cartoonist too. I wasn't bad, but nowhere near talented enough to make a living at it. Oh well.

On the first trip to the grocery store every month I'd scan the magazine rack and snag the latest issue of Mad. My mom would just roll her eyes and add it to the pile at the checkout. She never complained much because I would read them cover to cover. Heck, most of my popular culture came from those pages, as I read parodies of the movies of the day - movies I'd never see in their original versions. I'd carefully fold each back cover to find their secret message (thanks to Al Jaffe), and cover my lunchbox with Mad stickers trumpeting inane sayings.

Once my brother got old enough, he started to get Cracked magazine, and I always looked down on him for it. Cracked was funny (remember "Shut up's"?), but it wasn't the original, ya know?

I have a box of old Mad magazines in my basement that I rescued from my parents house a few years ago. I was actually kind of amazed that they had kept them for all those years. I was proud to introduce my kids to 'the usual gang of idiots'.

Update: While doing some research for this post, I found references to early illustrations done by Basil Wolverton. I loved his work, but only found it in the complilations and paperbacks. He was a little before my time.

Also, fans should check out Doug Gilford's Mad Cover Site, especially his very cool cover trivia pages.

Posted by Ted at November 29, 2003 08:35 PM
Category: Cult Flicks

Taking a break between plumbing jobs today...and I *still* read Mad Magazine. I stopped for about ten years or so...but two years ago I started getting it again. They're taking on advertisements, and rehashing some old stuff ("The Lighter Side" is all repeats as far as I can tell) but they've added some new stuff--Monroe is a particular favorite, and a Grey Spy (female!) has been added. I highly recommend it.

Also, see if you can find Sr. Aragones's "Groo the Wanderer" comic book somewhere. Hilarious!

Posted by: Victor at November 30, 2003 12:28 PM

Hey cutie! 'Nother MAD fan here. I love old MAD's. The ones these days are kind of a letdown, compared to the way they were. Since Bill Gaines died, it just isn't the same.

Posted by: Stevie at November 30, 2003 01:37 PM

Big MAD fan here, too! I had quite a collection. I had every issue but for about 65 or 70 (mostly very early issues). I sold the whole lot on eBay last year for $400. I hate myself. *sniff*

Posted by: Tuning Spork at November 30, 2003 09:26 PM

*sigh* Aaaaaah, MAD...Another MAD fan here. CRACKED always struck me as a dinky knockoff--they even had their equivalent goofy-looking-dude mascot, only blonde. Screamed "copyright infringement", if you ask me.
And I couldn't pore through an issue of MAD without searching out every Sergio Aragones mini-cartoons in the margins. Those were pure friggin' GENIUS!

And of course the Fold-Ins were always a hoot. I don't ever recall one being lame.

Great--now I'm pining for a good issue of MAD and an ice-cold Dr. Pepper to sip while reading it. And I can't get either right now because the store is closed. AAAAAARGH!!


Posted by: Denita TwoDragons at November 30, 2003 09:42 PM

What Victor says: Groo the Wanderer is wonderful. I have eight or nine volumes of the collected editions.

A fray!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 1, 2003 12:30 AM
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