I just learned the news from The Daily Cartoonist that Will Elder has died. Alan Gardner links to a great tribute by MAD cartoonist Tom Richmond. Tom links to Mark Evanier, as well as some great stories about Elder at Journalista!.
For those who don’t know, Elder was among the original stable of MAD Magazine cartoonists and a frequent collaborator with Mad founder Harvey Kurtzman. As a kid of the 1970s, I grew up reading MAD, absorbing stylistic tics from Mort Drucker, Sergio Aragones, Al Jaffee, George Woodbridge and, of course, Don Martin. Then one day, I picked up one of MAD’s anniversary issues that had a bonus reprint of one of the original incarnations of the magazine from the 1950s – the Kurtzman era. It was like a whole other world, a completely different take on a magazine I had known so well. It was wilder, more anarchic, more irreverent, and screamingly funnier. I loved this MAD. I wanted more of this MAD. At the time, I didn’t know where to look, so I re-read that one issue, trying to suck in through my eyeballs all the drawing lessons I could absorb from both Elder and Wally Wood. To this day, as I draw I consciously and sometimes unconsciously ape elements of the detailed, gorgeously rendered yet highly energetic style Elder pioneered.