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MAD's Greatest Artists: Mort Drucker: Five Decades of His Finest Works Hardcover – October 23, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Steven Spielberg, Director, Jaws
"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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Product Details

  • Series: Mad's Greatest Artists
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press; Har/Pstr edition (October 23, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762447133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762447138
  • Product Dimensions: 12.1 x 9.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Paco Calderón on October 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First of all, I'm rating the BOOK, not the cartoonist!. Mort Drucker is the best one around; PERIOD!

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.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Fernando Llera on November 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First of all, this is a beautifully edited volume with great reproductions of Mort Druckers' fine artwork for MAD magazine, spanning 52 years of first-rate contributions. Most are in crisp black and white but there are some color reproductions of several of his fantastic covers. Included is a beautiful pull-out poster from 1965 in color, originally published in Mad Follies #2. You will find here some of his best parodies from movies and TV shows like Bonanza, Batman, True Grit, The Godfather, American Graffiti, Serpico, Jaws, Raging Bull, Law & Order, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Rocky, Spider-Man, Mission: Impossible and many, many more! I am old enough to remember Mort's work from the earliest years and to me, he was the main reason to buy MAD. That was the first thing I turned to when picking up every new issue and I miss his work from the current editions. No artist has come close to capturing celebrities' likenesses like he did. His line work was extremely precise but somehow loose and free-wheeling and he enjoyed filling his panels with little gags and funny details. You had to go back several times to absorb every nuance Mort inserted here and there. And every satire mirrored the original inspiration exactly. His feel for ambiance, settings and space composition has gone largely unmatched by subsequent Drucker wannabes. All in all, a beautiful volume and a fine tribute to one of MAD's greatest artists. If I had to quibble, I'd only wish some of my favorite parodies had been included, like Bullitt, The Towering Inferno, The Fugitive, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Spy Who Loved Me or The Godfather II...but that's only on a personal note. If you admire Mort Drucker, if you're a MAD magazine reader from way back or if you appreciate the fine art of caricature, this book will not disappoint. I only hope we get a Volume 2 sometime in the future with more jewels from Mr. Drucker, my all-time idol!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By harveymushman on February 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I grew up with Mort Drucker's work. I love his attention to detail and his humor in his artwork. I thought I was going to get his finest work here. No way. Of course being a realist, I understand that his finest work is subjective to anyone who is choosing it. If Mort chose the work then so be it, I disagree. Left out were many of his older works in favor of the new stuff. I think its obvious the target audience they were going for her was a younger generation. I grew up in the 60's and read MAD every week. The older we get, the numbers drop off, so much of his newer TV shows were chosen to attract a younger buyer. I can understand this being commerce minded, but the words "sell out" come to mind. Either way, Mort has always been and always will be an artist who inspired me. If you like Mort's older stuff, chances are its not in this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Chris Melton on October 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a struggling cartoonist, Mort Drucker has been a huge influence and inspiration to me as far back as I can remember. In the first 20 pages this book has already brought back so many memories of reading MAD magazine and being mesmerized at the talent that was within. The most surprising element is to hear and read about the other iconic actors and film makers and their memories of being awe struck and inspired as well, e.g. Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, J.J. Abrams and the list goes on. This is an encyclopedia of greatness and every artist regardless of genre or medium would benefit from this book. If not to learn tricks of the trade but to simply read some of the funniest comics you'll ever come across, period.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert Pallais on November 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I started reading MAD magazine in the '50's. For its time, its humor was outrageously over the top. The artists that they had like Wally Wood, Dave Berg, and Don Martin were outstanding and they made the magazine a "must read" every month. But above all, I looked forward to Mort Drucker's artistry. Frequently paired with writer Frank Jacobs they created some parodies that I read until the pages of my magazine fell apart. When I discovered this book I knew I had to have it. The work itself is timeless even though some of the humor was distinctly topical (e.g., a "Cold War" parody of "West Side Story"). The amazing thing was how quickly the memories came back to me. The musical parody of James Bond ("007, the musical") was always a classic and I was proud of myself for remembering most of the music and lyrics. I don't know if any artist today is in Mr. Drucker's class when it comes to the art of caricature. His ability to capture facial features and then add expressions that reveal their personalities amazes me. If you enjoyed his work over the years, or tried to copy what he did (like I did...poorly), or want to understand what made MAD a successful humor publication for the ages, I highly recommend acquiring this book.
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