Showing posts from May, 2005


A panel from Drucker's "Patton"

Mort Drucker is the genius caricaturist who was a centerpiece of MAD magazine for decades. His ability to capture a likeness from many different angles and with a variety of expressions bordered on the supernatural. If Drucker had been born 500 years earlier, he might have been burned at the stake for witchcraft. But practicing his art on the pages of MAD magazine for almost 50 years, he remained safely below the radar of most people over the age of 18.

Drucker's Jack Lemmon

One of the most striking characteristics of Drucker's work was how liberally he dispensed his abundant talent. He was able to lavish creative attention on background details and inanimate objects without restraint. While other more prominent caricaturists such as Al Hirschfeld or David Levine might labor for a week over a single likeness in a fixed position, a torrent of superior drawings flowed nonstop from Drucker's miraculous pen. He might easily draw a hun…


In my opinion, the best "story" strip of the past 50 years was unquestionably Leonard Starr's On Stage, which ran from 1957 to 1979. At its height in the 1960s, On Stage was unsurpassed by any other strip in its genre, including Alex Raymond's Rip Kirby , Milton Caniff's Steve Canyon, and Hal Foster's epic Prince Valiant. Starr combined a full range of talents to produce On Stage: his drawings sparkled with his fine brushwork and his compelling use of blacks; he captured subtle facial expressions that went beyond anything his peers were doing; he employed strong compositions, his pictures were dramatically and intelligently staged, and he sure knew his anatomy. Above all Starr wrote like a dream; thoughtful, witty and as erudite as his comic page audience would permit. Starr bound all these components together into a consolidated work product that set a new standard for the genre.

John Updike once noted that writers and artists share a common urge to put black…