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MAD's Greatest Artists: Sergio Aragones: Five Decades of His Finest Works Hardcover – October 5, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The MAD’s Greatest Artists series debuted with The Completely MAD Don Martin (2007), a two-volume, slipcased collection of the durable cartoon humor magazine’s indisputably maddest artist. It was a very hard act to follow, and truth be told, Aragonés’ work can’t match Martin in extravagant, alternate-reality ludicrousness. Aragonés is simply a gag cartoonist’s gag cartoonist, most comfortable with the pure sight gag or, as he calls it, the pantomime style of cartooning. His imagination for how things can turn out risibly differently than intended or expected seems inexhaustible, and so MAD has made him its equivalent of a photo-essayist, rendering the “MAD look” at everything from the space program (his first feature in the magazine) to dating to bullfighting and much more. His freehand, single-gauge line work (obtained by using just a fountain pen nib and no other, wider and narrower points) and sparely deployed shading constitute a cartoonist’s dream of a personal medium, capable of sustaining lightness no matter how much detail is rendered. --Ray Olson

Review

René A. Guzman San Antonio Express-News blog 10/14/10
"MAD's Greatest Artists: Sergio Aragonés." there's something extra special about Aragonés' hilarious doodles. Maybe it's how these mostly pantomime cartoons speak volumes without saying a word… All this hardbound treasure for $29.95? "Cheap!" indeed. But also as priceless as Aragonés is peerless.

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.

Bookviews.com
“If you’re a fan of MAD Magazine (and who isn’t?) then you will want to add Sergio Aragones: Five Decades of his Finest Works to your list of books you must have ... In black and white, and in color, this book provides laughter on every page.”

Arizona Republic, 11/19/10
“a gorgeous hardcover book”

Journal Sentinel, 12/3/10
It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad world because of Aragones' snarky 'tooning as a member of Mad Magazine's famous "usual gang of idiots." Both artist and writer, Aragones has lampooned every ingredient of pop culture from "Star Wars" to cell phones. Experience the giggles all over again in this book.

Library Journal Reviews, 1/1/11
"…wonderful oversized collection… A delight and an excellent tribute to a master cartoonist."

Popmatters 12/16/10
“…beautifully designed with page after page of the artists’ works.  One of the treats of the collection is new drawings by Aragonés’ that illustrate each phase of his career, often including hilariously unflattering portrayals of himself in the best MAD style.”

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Product Details

  • Series: Mad's Greatest Artists
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press; Har/Pstr R edition (October 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762436875
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762436873
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 9.2 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #206,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bob Fingerman on November 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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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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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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Sergio Aragones is the single most creative cartoonist alive -- primarily in his ability to convey without any words an energy or emotion. I imagine that he has world-wide appeal because you don't need to speak English to "get" 95% of his work. My favorite feature is "A MAD Look At...." and there's plenty of that here. But I would love to see a companion book that is 100% "A MAD Look At..." with every single one Sergio has done. I would also like to see an entire book of "MAD Marginals" in large size to accommodate my vision. But until those two books are written, this is the book to get -- and at almost 300 pages, there is no shortage of genius inside.
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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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I have always loved Sergio's drawings. His features are the first things I read in MAD. Yes, I'm 55 and still read MAD! I was excited when this collection came out and more so when Amazon offered it.
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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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