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MAD's Greatest Artists: Mort Drucker: Five Decades of His Finest Works Hardcover – Oct 23 2012
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"Mort Drucker's timely sense of parody mixed with commentary first made me aware of the culture of our generation. Mort's irreverent and historical caricatures have never been nor will they ever be equaled. He poked fun at all my favorite movies when I was a teenager and when I was a filmmaker, he started going to town on the ones I was making and I loved every frame of his."
Joe Dante, Director, Gremlins
As a lifelong MAD devotee from the time it was a four-color comic, I can tell you that there are few thrills in life quite like seeing your own movie parodied in the pages of MAD! So you can imagine my shock and glee when I glommed on to the cover of the September 1984 “Grimlins” issue with Alfred E. Neuman as Gizmo, surrounded by horrified Gremlins holding their noses behind him. And even better, what was inside was almost too good to be true: several hilarious pages of clever spoofery by Stan Hart illustrated with the usual brilliant Mort Drucker comic art!
What an honor.
Let’s be clear—Mort Drucker is simply right up there with Hirschfeld as the master American caricaturist.
His pure, unmistakable graphic style has captured an astonishing array of 20th century celebrities and public figures. Even if you didn't know a performer’s name you could always place the face. His movie-like staging and composition were unmatched, and the result was artwork that could be revisited time and time again and still yield something new. That particular facet of MAD influenced many nascent filmmakers, including myself.
I never actually met the absurdly prolific Mr. Drucker, but I feel I know him through his years of work.
Now there’s a legacy few of us can even aspire to!
George Lucas, Director, American Graffiti
Since I first read MAD Magazine as a kid, I've been drawn in by its mix of highbrow satire and lowbrow laughs that pokes very funny holes in the stuffiest of institutions. Mort Drucker's signature artwork captures and exaggerates the world around us and the people in it in a way that makes them more real. His caricatures are the best, and he is the artist that defines MAD for me.
When I had to choose an artist for the American Graffiti poster, Mort was the first and only person who came to mind. Since then, he's been redrawing my movies as funny parodies. You never mind being the subject of one of Mort's jokes, because he executes them so artfully.
JJ Abrams, Filmmaker
The influence of Mort Drucker on readers of MAD Magazine cannot be overstated. I remember with vivid clarity sitting in my elementary school classroom, while I was supposed to be working, desperately trying to copy his brilliant caricature style. It didn’t work. Not then and not now. Drucker’s eerie ability to absolutely capture the heart and soul of his subjects—and put them in hysterical tableau—is unmatched by anyone. Even the way he signed his work was something of inspiration; I remember as a kid trying to create my own signature in a style as cool as Drucker’s. I wished I had an “M” and an “O” in my name so I could do the three lines and circle thing like he did. I am and always was, like so many others, a huge fan of Mort Drucker. One of the greatest comic artists of all time.
About the Author
Mort Drucker is one of 'MAD' magazine's longest-tenured cartoonists; he joined the staff in 1956 and still contributes today. He lives on Long Island, NY, with his wife of over 50 years, Barbara. Please
visit him at mortdrucker.com.
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That's why his work deserved a much better anthology than this one. I think the editors of MAD (now owned by Time-Warner) picked the most commercial movies ("Gremlins", "Jaws", "Batman") instead of the artist's finest works. Mind you, there's no such thing as a "bad" Drucker movie satire -each one is drawn superbly- but there are good ones and outstanding ones. "The Oddfather Too", for instance, is rendered in pen and ink when depicting the Pacino scenes (1959) and in gorgeous shaded pencil work for the DeNiro ones (1920). "Blue Eyed Kook" has the funniest Paul Newman likenesses ever caught, and "The Great Gasbag" or "Chinaclown" look better than the actual movies! None of these are featured in the book. Also, I would have liked to see Mr. Drucker's first MAD assignment, his first movie satire, his first cover, and his first full color parody. Last but not least, I would have loved to get a meatier interview by about his work and career. Still, it is a lovely edition (compare it with the awful Fantagraphics book on Jack Davis), but for my money, I'd wait for a truly great retrospective of Mort Drucker, done in the same luxurious manner!
P.S.: In the meantime, try "Familiar faces: the art of Mort Drucker" by David Duncan, or the now unavailable "The art of Humorous Illustration" by Nick Meglin. Books on Drucker for "druckerians", if you know what I mean.