Basil Wolverton is one of comics' great individual stylists, a creator whose idiosyncratic imagination has impacted generations of artists, and influenced a broad spectrum of popular culture. Cartoons, hot rod art, underground comix, skate design, and nearly every form that revels in the humorous and grotesque has drawn inspiration from the exaggerated absurdities that Wolverton called forth with his twisted-yet-delicate ink lines.
Today, Mad Magazine #533 goes on sale on newsstands and in comic shops nationwide, and it sets itself aside from the previous five hundred and thirty-two issues by being the first-ever issue of the magazine to feature a celebrity guest editor: the legendary (and famously funny) musician, Weird Al Yankovic. A couple of weeks ago, we got the chance to speak with Weird Al and Mad editor-in-chief John Ficarra about this special issue. Our conversation touched on Al's personal connection to the magazine, his comedic influences, and his plans for the future.
Try to picture the prototypical Mad magazine cover in your mind. There's a good chance that whatever you're imagining is in the style of cartoonist Jack Davis, who announced his retirement today at the age of 90.
Each weekday, ComicsAlliance brings you a carefully selected variety of links from around the web about comics and comics-related media, including movies, video games, toys, and whatever else might be worth noting. Quite frankly, these are items you may just need to know about to have a productive day. Take a look at today's hand-picked links after the jump.
It's hard to work out how Robot Chicken creative director and increasingly busy comic book writer Kevin Shinick found the time to complete 100 episodes of Mad for Warner Bros. Animation, but he did it, and it's an accomplishment he and the studio are celebrating with a double-sized anniversary show tonight on Cartoon Network. Perhaps most enticingly for ComicsAlliance readers, the episode's centerpiece is what's surely to be a biting Man of Steel parody starring "Weird Al" Yankovic as Superman and Henry Winkler as Jor-El.
Devised and written by (and usually starring) Shinick, the Mad cartoon is, in his words, the magazine brought to life in animation. It's a bold statement but honestly Shinick isn't wrong. Besides just being very funny, Mad translates the venerable humor magazine's signature irreverence, silliness and other naughtiness for television, segueing from one sketch to another with animated page tears and everything. The series actually employs some of the cartoonists who continue to define the voice of Mad, including Sergio Aragonés, who contributes all-new in-the-margins strips that find their way into every episode, as do topical film and television parodies, fake commercials and, of course, Spy vs. Spy. In every case, sketches are presented in visual styles reminiscent of Mad masters like Don Martin, Mort Drucker and Al Jaffee, and by way of different animation techniques such as Flash, stop-motion and puppets, to further honor the stylistic diversity of the magazine. But the series updates the magazine's scope for the extremely memetic world of today, going all-in on mashups (the ThunderLOLcats comes immediately to mind) and other highly bloggable jokes.
That any contemporary animated series makes it to 100 episodes is remarkable, but Mad has the additional distinction of being explicitly based on a comics magazine -- and with the help of that comics magazine's current contributors like Aragones and Tom Richmond -- makes the Emmy-nominated series that much more interesting. It's obvious from talking to Shinick (who's also writing Superior Carnage for Marvel) that the mantle of Mad is hugely important to him. In the following interview you'll find out why that is, as well as an inside look at Mad's impressive production workflow, Shinick's philosophy about comedic content for children, and what else to expect from tonight's 100th episode.
Longtime MAD Magazine artist Sergio Aragones is well known for how much stuff he can get on a page -- he's been filling the magazine's margins for decades. So just imagine what he could do with a gigantic pullout poster!
Well, you don't have to imagine it. Aragones has condensed more than 60 years of MAD history in one big image for Entertainment Weekly.
Al Jaffee is an icon of cartooning. Though the artist was working for Marvel precursors Timely and Atlas comics in the 1940s and '50s, he is easily best known for the work he's produced for Mad Magazine, with his signature creation for the publication being the Mad Fold-In's he started in 1964, and still produces today. In a career that has spanned more than 70 years, Jaffee has amassed an incredible body of work, and now he's donating much of that collection to the rare book and manuscript library at Columbia University, located in the Harlem section of New York, the city the cartoonist calls home.
Toys: MTV has a first look at Playmates' upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics Rocksteady and Bebop figures.
Movies: This is
Toys: Sideshow Collectibles has released more images of its upcoming premium 1/6 scale DC Comics figures as part of its "12 Days of Sideshow" reveals.
TV: The Today Show's Jenna Wolfe visited the MAD Magazine offices over the weekend and chatted with Editor John Ficarra, Art Director Sam Viviano and longtime MAD artist Al Jaffee.
Merchandise: Zippo is rolling out a line of lighters fea