Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Hoosiers Cartoonists in Mad Magazine

We heard around the middle of this year that after nearly seven decades in print, Mad magazine is ending in a way that things end only in the twenty-first century: it's only kinda, sorta ending. Mad began in 1952 under editor Harvey Kurtzman. After 550 consecutively numbered issues, it began again in June 2018 with issue number one. The renumbering coincided more or less with a move from New York City to Burbank, California. On July 3, 2019, The Hollywood Reporter did its thing, reporting that with issue number 10 (which was released on October 16, 2019), Mad would be available only in comic book shops, and that with number 11 (which evidently has not yet been released), there would be no more original content, except for year-end specials. See what I mean by only kinda, sorta ending? Or as Billy Crystal would say, "There's a big difference between all dead and mostly dead." Maybe Mad is only mostly dead, or maybe not even mostly.

Anyway, I wish I could say that there have been lots of Hoosier cartoonists who have joined the ranks of the usual gang of idiots and contributed to Mad. Instead I have only two. There may be more, but without an Internet Mad Magazine Database (IMMDb), searching for Hoosiers who have contributed to the magazine might take me years, while I have just twenty-five days before my blogging year ends. Anyway again, here they are, Kevin Pope and Scott Nickel.

Kevin Pope was born in 1958 in Carmel, Indiana, and attended Warren Central High School in Indianapolis. While studying art at Indiana University, he did something that nobody of college age does anymore: he got married. After graduating in 1981, he followed his wife Kim to Chicago, where she had found work, in 1983. Mr. Pope drew cartoons for Campus Life, Chicago Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, Outside, and Playboy, among other publications. From October 1985 to January 1988, his single-panel cartoon Inside Out was syndicated in as many as thirty newspapers. After that, he drew designs for greeting cards and calendars and published two collections of cartoons, The Day Gravity Was Turned Off in Topeka (1985) and The Dance of the Seven Veals (1991). His other clients have included Anheuser Busch, Bloomberg News, Coca-Cola, ComputerworldDunkin Donuts, Fortune, Frito Lay, Kellogg’s, KFC, the Los Angeles Times, McDonalds, NBC, the New York Times, Paramount Pictures, Pepsi-Cola, Rolling Stone, Sony, SpinSports Illustrated, and the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Pope has also of course contributed to Mad. His website gives a Smithville, Indiana, address. For those unfamiliar with extremely small, unincorporated places in out-of-the-way Indiana, that's located in Monroe County, in the south-central part of the state.

Born in 1962 in Denver, Colorado, Scott Nickel had Hoosier-ness bestowed upon him by his being employed at Paws, Incorporated, the cartooning factory where Jim DavisGarfield and countless pieces of Garfield-related merchandise were produced. (You will see the rest of that story pretty soon, right here in this space.) After having lived in California, Mr. Nickel moved to Indiana in 1995. Besides working at Paws, Incorporated, he freelances his cartoons, comic strips, jokes, and writing to Boys' Life and Reader's Digest, among other publications. He has written and/or illustrated more than two dozen children's books and graphic novels. On his blog, called A Nickel's Worth, Mr. Nickel wrote in 2012 that he had made his twentieth contribution to Mad Magazine, this one to issue number 515. I suspect that he contributed more before Mad mostly-died (or not) this year.

Here are some websites (click on the words):
You might want to have a look.

Copyright 2019 Terence E. Hanley

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