Feliz Cumpleaños, Sergio: A Birthday Tribute To Cartoonist Sergio Aragonés
Sergio Aragones was born in Spain in 1937, moved to Mexico with his family in the early 1940s, and after attending the University Of Mexico, settled in the United States in 1962. His cartoons first appeared in Mad Magazine at the end of that year, and he quickly became one of the publication’s most popular contributors. In the years since, he’s become well-known to comic readers as the co-creator and writer of DC Comics’ western hero Bat Lash and a contributor to countless other titles (including Plop!, Fanboy, The Mighty Magnor, The Simpsons, and Actions Speak); he’s continued his association with Mad (appearing in 452 of the 453 issues published since his debut); he’s produced a number of bestselling paperback books; and, of course, he continues to produce comics telling the stories of his best-known creation, the bumbling barbarian with a weakness for cheese dip, the inimitable Groo The Wanderer.
To mark the occasion of his birthday (September 6), we’ve reached out to a few of our favorite pros to join us in paying tribute to Sergio and celebrating his life and work.
Groo by Andy Hirsch, artist of Kaboom’s Garfield, cover artist for Regular Show
Vivek J. Tiwary
Because of Sergio Aragonés, I spent my childhood living in the gutters. I read Mad like it was a rebellious religion, and I particularly sought out Sergio’s between-the-panels creations. These were literally marginalized people, living between the cracks but refusing to fall through them– unwilling to be ignored, and dedicated to spreading laughter and joy in places least expected. In other words, they were fine role models for impressionable albeit slightly weird kids like me. Sergio Aragonés taught me to seek out and appreciate the fine details in our crazy world, to find happiness in the small, unexplored places. I’ve tried to take that lesson from the gutters of Mad and apply it to ever other corner of my life– and I have Sergio to thank for it… Feliz Cumpleaños, Sergio!!
I liked Sergio Aragonés before I knew he was Sergio Aragonés. I knew of Groo as a kid, but never saw a copy. I did see Mad Magazine, though, and Aragonés’ contributions were regularly my favorite parts of the issues. The marginals captivated me. All the other comics I was reading were deadly serious and would never put an unrelated story between the panels of another tale. I didn’t have the language for it then, but Aragonés showed me that the gutters were a storytelling tool, too.
Aragonés might be the funniest man in comics. He’s not mean or snide. He’s just good at pointing things out in a funny manner, and has a style of drawing that makes everything look hilarious. Sergio Aragonés Funnies, his twelve-issue solo series from Bongo, is must-reading, the kind of low-key comics that’s consistently good month-in and month-out.