Tuesday, April 27, 2010

MAD'S maddest...

After working for MAD magazine for three decades, Don Martin left in a dispute over royalties. He went to CRACKED magazine, then had his own short-lived DON MARTIN MAGAZINE in 1993. These are color pages from the first issue of that magazine.

The slipcased, two-volume set, THE COMPLETELY MAD DON MARTIN, which reprints every page Martin did for MAD, and which was originally priced at $150.00, is now being sold for the amazing price of $25.00. You can find it from various booksellers that handle remaindered books. This gets my highest recommendation. Its large-size pages show off Martin's crazy artwork to its best advantage.

Martin died of cancer in 2000, age 68.



  1. Don Martin was the first artist I could identify and was drawn to in Mad when I was barely old enough to hold the magazine up in the '60's. Always loved his sound effects!

  2. My mother recognized Don Martin. When I was a kid she pointed to a page of his in MAD and said, "This is the most warped and ugly thing I have ever seen. I don't want you bringing this into the house ever again."

    Of course it just made me love it all the more.

  3. HGE: When first attempting to draw, Don Martin was the first cartoonist I chose to copy. Thus, he has a near Godlike status in my head. I just thought his world so unique and brilliant. I can still remember a cartoon where a guy eats a dirty mop in a restaurant, thinking it a plate of spaghetti. Thanks for this post.

  4. Don Martin WAS Mad magazine to me and considering the other greats who also worked on that fine mag, that is saying something.

  5. Like Mykal, he was the catalyst for my artistic style, which still persists to this day in everything I draw.
    He was one of the best.

  6. Reading that, I didn't come across a single character named Fonebone. Don't tell me Mad owned the rights to that name.

  7. I recall this magazine ending very badly for Martin, possibly with the publisher throwing out all of his artwork. Does anyone remember anything more specific about that?

  8. John, I hadn't hear that and it's awful to contemplate.

    Wasn't there an issue of the DON MARTIN MAGAZINE where he (Don) took one of the stories from one of his Signet paperbacks (originally written by, if I remember correctly, MAD regular Frank Jacobs), reprinted it -- but with a completely rewritten story (by Mr. Martin). I mean, all the art was the same, but the story was changed. I'm guessing it's because he couldn't get Jacobs' permission to reprint his words. This is only a vague recollection and toward the end of the run of the mag.

    Regardless, it's impossible to measure Martin's influence. My wife, who is by no means a MAD fan, or a fan of most popular culture, can recite the entire Near-Sighted Strongman's Club cartoon which, of course, impressed the shit out of me when we were dating, and pretty much cinched that whole "you're the one for me" deal.

  9. "Pull Up, Tear Down" 'Nuff said.


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