My first issue of MAD magazine was purchased near the checkout counter at a Stop & Shop supermarket in my hometown of North Brunswick, New Jersey, in July 1970. I’ll never forget the cover: a parody of the summer’s big hit, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, featuring a couple of actors named Redford & Newman.
I no longer have it, but I suspect that that was my first exposure to legendary artist Sergio Aragones.
Sergio has been producing illustrated gags for MAD since 1963 and for many fans, his work and the humor mag’s name are forever entwined. He has been one of the Usual Gang of Idiots for longer than I’ve been able to spell “ee-diots.”
This month, Sergio — who has already won the National Cartoonist Society’s top honor, the Reuben Award, as well as the Will Eisner Hall of Fame Award and the Comic Art Professional Society’s Sergio Award, named after, um… him — is being recognized in a different way with a book retrospective.
MAD’s Greatest Artists: Sergio Aragones: Five Decades of His Finest Works, is an oversized coffee table collectible that reproduces some of his finest, crazy material in a hardcover format that will no doubt outlast us all. It is a great honor to have him as a guest today.
SERGIO ARAGONES audio excerpt: “I did about 20 Pocket Books for MAD with new material. The characters are what sell the book. I thought, ‘Why not draw myself on every cover? That way they know it’s my book.’ So I became a comic book character.”
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Bob Andelman is the author or co-author of 10 books, including ‘The Profiler’ with Pat Brown, ‘Built From Scratch’ with the founders of The Home Depot, and ‘Will Eisner: A Spirited Life.’ • Follow Bob on Twitter or Facebook.
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