I had a brief chat with The World on ABC TV about MAD tonight:
(Please disable your Ad-Blocker to see images and links in this review.)
I’ve been using a pen this last year that I have to share with my fellow cartoonists and illustrators… the Soft and Hard Tip Fudenosuke Brush Pens for Calligraphy and Art Drawings. (The Amazon code is 62038.)
I always loved the idea of brush pens and had been using the Tombow N15 (black) for such a long time. The problem was twofold; they’re water-based and smudge under my palms, and they fray too quickly. Within an hour of drawing, that nice, firm tip becomes soft and begins to become shaggy, not to mention lose its deep black. The N35 (Process black) is a nice alternative, too for deep blacks… just don’t get them wet, or you’ll have a purple mess on your hands.
The Tombow Fudenosuke brush pen maintains that consistently firm brush tip, so if you’re working on several pages over time, you don’t have to worry about the line fattening out or trying to manage line-widths. It also seems to last a lot longer than other pocket brush pens like the double-tipped Kuretake pocket pens.
Oh, and yes! They are, mercifully, waterproof. I’ve been using them for New Yorker cartoons lately and they’ve been holding up nicely with a wash.
Give them a try and let me know what you think!
Click above to listen to the interview on NPR on “AirTalk with Larry Mantle” from today, Monday July 8 2019.
I was interviewed along with Tom Richmond, Marty Dundics, Kit Lively and a slew of other artists, writers and call-ins.
Southern California Public Radio (NPR Los Angeles)
When I was a kid in Perth, I was exposed to a huge stack of classic MAD Magazines my friend Ben’s dad had collected over the years. That discovery began my lifelong obsession with MAD. (My parents will never forgive them.)
I remember Ben and I poring over those pages for hours. I meticulously studied the Mort Drucker parodies- the compositions, the hands, (those HANDS), trying to guess the Al Jaffee fold-ins, reading and re-reading the mag for the extra chicken fat in the backgrounds, for Don Martin's innovative onomatopoeia like Fweep! and Sproing! It introduced me to the work of -among dozens of others- my favourite cartoonist- Sergio Aragones.
MAD shaped who I became as a cartoonist, as a comedian and as a deranged man-child of a human today.
You only have to scroll through this blog to see what a huge part of my life MAD has been.
I'm endlessly grateful for having got to spend so much time with the Usual Gang of Idiots these last 5 years, to call them friends and finally, in a surreal twist, colleagues.
Being published in MAD was a massive life-long dream, and I'm grateful to have been part of it before the door slowly swung shut. Thank you to Bill Morrison for giving me the opportunity. I'll never forget that.
As Tom Richmond reports in his excellent, definitive blog post on the event:
Despite all the signs, I actually had a lot of optimism that the new MAD had a chance. First, their choice of hiring Bill Morrison as Executive Editor/VP was inspired. Bill was a guy who knew humor, who had a deep affinity and knowledge of what made MAD “MAD”, was very smart, savvy, and plugged in to the greater world of comedy, and was a terrific artist in his own right. He put together a young and hip staff of editors and really took MAD into the 21st century, especially with social media.
Then they fired him in January of this year. We all knew it was over then… just a matter of time for the rest of it to catch up.
What’s sad is that MAD was actually having a mini-creative renaissance under Bill. Their cover for issue #4 won a Rondo Hatton award for horror genre art. The feature ‘The Ghasilygun Tinies” in that same issue, written by Matt Cohen and drawn by Marc Palm, received a major amount of national attention and is nominated for an Eisner Award. The magazine itself is nominated for an Eisner for best Humor Publication this year. Several high profile comedians contributed articles for the magazine. But critical success is meaningless. The bottom line is all that matters. Ironically circulation has increased but obviously not to the point that the numbers worked.
Then they fired Bill. Did I already say that? It bears repeating.
In a morbidly bad year for cartooning opportunities, when we've seen a slew of unjust cartoonist firings, the end of The New York Times daily editorial cartoons and now, the greatest comics/cartoon magazine in history, it's hard not to feel the overwhelming weight of this gravitational shift in the industry.
Yes, it's an opportunity and a new era for cartoons to find a home in other mediums, but it is important to recognise the gravity of this moment.
The contributors of MAD received an email yesterday detailing the plan for the 67 year-old iconic MAD Magazine’s wind-down. After issue #10 (the numbers were set to 0 after the reboot in California) the magazine will no longer publish any new content from contributors. It will run old content with new covers, publish collections and special collections only.
I can’t say it was a big surprise, but it’s a devastating blow in a year that has already seen a morbid downturn in opportunities for cartoonists.
I’m still gathering my thoughts on this, so stay tuned. Dropping the news the day before July 4th seems like a very deliberate move on DC Entertainment’s part in a hope to bury the story.
I sincerely hope that is not the case.
One big lesson I learned as an artist in the past year is this:
Create for yourself. The people who like it will find you. Those who don’t will fall away. But, you’ll be left with a loyal core of people who like what you’re doing.
Don’t curate your art to what gets likes. Curate it to what you like.
Hey friends! Terrible news... I have my first full-colour full-pager in MAD, out this week!
Even better is I get to share the great dishonour with fellow NYC comedian and hopelessly deranged MAD devotee, Ian Hunt. I'll be on his show tomorrow night at Parkside Comedy! Drop by for a drink and a laugh. Maybe a spew.
June 12th, 2019
Re: Response to Editorial Page Editor, James Bennet’s statement: June 10th, 2019.
On behalf of the membership of the National Cartoonists Society, the NCS Board of Directors express our great dismay at the decision announced to cease running daily editorial cartoons in all international editions of the New York Times as of July 1st, 2019 as they have already done for the domestic edition.
Editorial cartooning is an invaluable form of pointed critique in American newspapers that dates back to the 19th-century work of the legendary Thomas Nast, as well as to pamphlet images published by Benjamin Franklin. The history of our great nation can be read through the pens of our editorial artists and cartoonists. Journals of record are the conduits to this history.
The cartoonists that contribute to your publication are not mere hobbyists, but deeply committed life-long devotees to the art of political commentary. It is not a job that is taken lightly, nor done with ease. It is a passion that not only feeds the national and international conversation, but just as importantly, feeds their families.
The contribution of cartoonists to your publication are as important and viable as those of op-ed contributors, and yet you would never consider dropping the op-eds.
We find ourselves in a critical time in history when political insight is needed more than ever, yet we see more and more cartoonists vanishing from the pages of our publications. If we are to dull the voices of our most valued critics, satirists, and artists, we stand to lose much more than the ability to debate and converse; We lose our ability to grow as a society. We rob future generations of their opportunity to learn from our mistakes.
We would implore the management of the New York Times to reconsider their decision, and reinstate daily editorial cartoons to both the domestic and international editions of The New York Times in print and online.
National Cartoonist Society
Keep a less-than-keen eye out in the next issue of MAD magazine for a jolly old cartoon by yours truly and the very funny Ian Hunt.
Ian and I met doing stand-up in New York and he’s been writing for MAD for just over a year now. It was a lot of fun collaborating with him and the team at MAD on this crazy one-pager.Read More
Please forgive the sound quality!
Today's episode features special guest, New Yorker Cartoon Editor emeritus, Current Cartoon & Humor Editor of Esquire Magazine and Creator of the Cartoon Collections, Bob Mankoff.
Thank you for your support and to those who came out to the show, recorded live on stage at NCSFest 2019 in Huntington Beach, California.
Stay tuned to the YouTube channel for the video version of this episode.