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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2010
Sergio Aragones is one of my heroes. I grew up enjoying his work and still do. He is one of the most gifted and natural cartoonists of all time and his gags are consistently fresh and funny. My complaint with this book has nothing to do with Aragones and everything to do with modern reproduction. The spreads are all scanned in grayscale (though printed via four-color process) and as a result are somewhat muddy. Aragones's beautiful sharpness of line is replaced by the soft-edged quality of most of these collections of late (same went for the two-volume Don Martin collection). Curiously, the "marginals" that augment many of the pages are line scans and look better than the full-page spreads. I still recommend this book, as it's likely the only collection we fans will get. And bear in mind that I am approaching this as a cartoonist, myself. Most people wouldn't even notice or care, satisfied as they should be by the genius of Aragones's work.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Cartoonist Sergio Aragones, often referred to as the "World's Fastest Cartoonist" has been a mainstay in MAD Magazine for nearly fifty years. He's contributed to every issue of the magazine since 1963, except one...when his work for an issue was lost by the post office. In those nearly 50 years Aragones has contributed some 15,000 cartoons, many of which are his famous "marginals". These are the little cartoons that appear within the mag's margins.
The best of Sergio's five decades of work is collected in this beautiful, 272 page hardcover book. His wild cartoons, filled with sight gags and never requiring word balloons, is some of the most hilarious work ever seen in MAD or any other magazine for that matter. The book presents his work by decade with many of his greatest strips and yes, dozens of the great marginal cartoons as well.

Sergio's work is timeless even when dealing with topical subjects such as his glorious remembrance of Woodstock. This was a two page spread with Sergio drawing literally hundreds of characters and accompanied by a poem written by Frank Jacobs, a MAD writer who has contributed even longer than Aragones, since 1957!!! You can literally spend hours looking at this meticulously crafted cartoon and you should...Aragones has each character doing something different. Even with his speed I can't imagine how long this piece took to draw. He would do similar two-page spreads through the years like "A Peek behind the Scenes at a Comic Book Convention", a look at a shopping mall at Christmas Time, and Behind the Scenes at a Terrorist Training Camp

Occasionally, even in the early days, Sergio got to work in color as he did with his strip "The Vampire". Here a hungry vamp bites a barefoot hippie wearing a peace sign medallion and gets a hypnotic high from his blood. One of his most clever, reoccurring stripes was "The Shadow Knows". These strips featured characters with shadows that showed what the character was truly thinking or imagining. Such as the fat woman's shadow strangling the shadow of her much skinnier friend while they are dining at a restaurant. Sergio also lampooned what was hot in pop culture through the years such as his look at Star Wars, Disney World, The WWE, Spider-Man, and Harry Potter.

Sergio has remained popular all these years because he is able to take on any modern topic...His strips in recent years have tackled airport security, cell phones, illegal immigration, dieting, video games, and religion. Few topics have managed to elude the biting wit of Sergio Aragones. If you're a MAD magazine fan you have to have this book. If you've never read MAD you need this book even more as you don't know what you've been missing out on all these years.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2010
I am a big fan of the artist and have continued my MAD subscription into my 50's mostly so I can keep seeing his work. This book contains a lot of very funny drawings, but I was hoping for a lot more material- at 200+ pages, it just didn't seem to be enough. Other than that, my only complaints are that some of the drawings in the margins were repeated several times (at least one of them was repeated 3 times) and the margin drawings could have been bigger. The book contains a section of margin drawings but they are so tiny I had trouble reading them. It would have been nice if the margin drawings were at least twice as big. All complaining aside, I enjoyed this book very much
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2013
When my wife and I first got married, we made it a point to go out to a 'special' dinner, once a month.

We would pick up a copy of the latest Mad Magazine, bring it to the restaurant, and order the meal. Then, while waiting for the food to arrive, we would look ONLY at the wordless cartoons by Sergio. My wife is Chinese, and was fairly new to English, so she wouldn't be able to understand the text-based humor. But Sergio's masterpieces, as you know, didn't usually require a handle on English.

We did that for the first few years of marriage, and always laughed hard. That was about 15 years ago.

So it was a very pleasant surprise, to see that Amazon was selling a collection book of cartoons, from this comedic genius. I received the book yesterday, and today we cuddled in bed, and looked through some of the cartoons, picking pages at random. Our capacity for intense laughter has not changed.

It will probably take us 3-6 months to finish this, because we want it to last, we don't want to overexpose the funny bone.

Universal. You can share this with teenagers, with foreign friends or relatives. You can stop by your friend's desk, out of the blue, and say 'Hey, take a look at this one'. Gets a laugh, every time.

Thanks for choosing cartooning as a profession, Sergio. Live long, don't stop.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I love Sergio Aragones' cartoons. I grew up reading Mad in the 60s and squinting to see his little doodles in the margin. When I heard about this book, I thought "Great! Finally his marginal cartoons will be printed big enough to really appreciate!" No such luck. The marginal cartoons are maginal to this book. Most of it consists of double page features printed directly out of Mad. And not printed very well. The original magazine looks much more crisp than this. The marginal gags are printed EVEN SMALLER than they were in the magazine, crammed onto an unreadable pullout at the back of the book. Also, the book is arranged chronologically by decade, with the same number of pages for each decade. This means that the spectacular work Aragones did in the 60s is just a short section at the beginning, and we get a huge pile of stuff from after Mad jumped the shark.

This book makes me feel bad when I look at it, because I know what it could have been. It shouldn't be like that with such a joyful and exuberant cartoonists like Sergio.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2012
I really enjoy Sergio Aragones' work. He is a delightful artist and each little cartoon must be read, rather than "looked at."

The problem with "MAD's Greatest Artists: Sergio Aragones: Five Decades of His Finest Work" is that there really isn't enough of his work reproduced. We should be reading hundreds of marginals in this collection, along with more relevant silent comics.

There seems to be an over-emphasis on his more recent work. I would have liked to see more from the '60s and '70s. A great feature in the past was "The Shadow Knows..." in which Aragones drew emotions in the shadows of people. To me, those were much more creative than the Star Wars jokes that they reprint in this book.

The poster that includes tons of marginals actually cuts off a lot of them. That's pretty disappointing. Some of the two-page spreads are great, like the huge maps or schoolyard scenes.

If you're an Argones fan or are just looking for some great gags, this is a nice book. I just wish it had a little more of his early work and a lot more of his marginals.
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on February 14, 2011
Artist behind such works as the comic "Plop!", "Groo", and of course "MAD Magazine", Sergio Aragones is perhaps best known for his ingenious "pantomime" comic strips. "MAD's Greatest Artists: Sergio Aragones: Five Decades of His Finest Works" collects some of his best work in Mad Magazine from his very early days to more recent stuff to his famous "marginals", alone and in collaboration with one or more members of that "usual gang of idiots". I was delighted to find 'toons in here that I had never seen and some that I had forgotten -can you tell that I'm a fan? There's lots to laugh at, separated in sections by decade (and even within the dust cover) as well as some imput from the artist himself. I am quite pleased with this collection. In fact, the only thing lacking is a volume 2!
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After growing up with MAD, this purchase was only fitting. My husband is an artist so we frequent the comic conventions and had the pleasure of meeting Sergio. This book is funny, cute and a great collection of all his fine work. If you were or are a fan, you won't go wrong with this purchase. Amazon also had this cheaper than some of the Art Books that have it, so compare prices.
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on June 23, 2014
I got a copy for my birthed and was so excited for the giant fold-out poster. Well, it wasn't included! Then someone had ordered one also on amazon as a gift for me for Christmas, i didn't know they did but THAT copy didn't have the poster either!!!!
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on February 25, 2014
Love this book. If you like Sergio you will like this book too. If not...
It is a book. There is not much to review other than content. It is all reprint stuff so you should know if you are going to like it prior to purchase.
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