Thirteen years ago today saw the passing of one of the strangest, highly creative, and most gleefully insane cartoonists in the mediums broad and rich history, one Don Martin, whose wacky, off-center, and superbly memorable cartoons graced the pages of Mad Magazine for much for that publications heyday.
The style of Martin’s work was instantly recognizable, his characters had bombastic traits about their physicality, huge noses and feet, and borrowed heavily from and also acted as a drawn homage to the broadest, wildest forms of inane, surreal, and crazy slapstick and all its slapdash manifestations. Martin coupled this with a technique he pretty much pioneered, the usage of sound effects created in Martin’s own language, utilizing an onomatopoetic approach to them, which were at once ridiculous and hilarious, examples being “Blib, Blib, Blib, Blib,” which emulated the sounds of the whirling blades on a helicopter, to a car shifting gears to the wild strains of “Brak Brak” to the altogether startlingly original and wackiness of “Fluk, Groon, Groon, Splazitch, Spalzatch,” which illustrated the noise of a vending machine that put check marks onto luggage. These examples here just scratch the surface of Martin’s warped, genius mind, and he arguably became the lightest light in Mad, a strong statement considering the creative gene pool at the magazine during its peak years was full of artists and writers who were all in a higher class of surreal insanity at their respective crafts.
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