So who are your heroes? And no, I'm not talking about that new TV show on NBC. I'm talking about your personal heroes, people who have inspired and influenced your life. Who would be on your own personal Mount Rushmore? Here are a few of mine from MAD Magazine. I recently got to draw a tribute to one of my all-time heroes, the legendary Jack Davis. CAPS (Comic Art Professional Society) is honoring him with a lifetime achievement award banquet this month and this was my small contribution to what will no doubt be a massive book full of sketches and tributes to Mr. Davis. When I was a kid, I grew up on Mad Magazine. It inspired me to draw and taught me a lot about cartooning and drawing in general. I was especially drawn to the work of these four cartoonists: Jack Davis, Don Martin, Antonio Prohias and Sergio Aragonés.
Jack Davis is a living legend, his work transcending all boundaries. From MAD, TIME, Sports Illustrated, EC Comics, movie posters and tons of commercial and advertising work you've undoubtedly seen his work. He was, at the height of his career, the highest paid illustrator in the world. Of course, I didn't know any of that when I was a kid reading MAD Magazine. I just loved his drawings.
Don Martin (1931–2000)
Don Martin was called "MAD's Maddest Artist." His style was unlike anything young Aaron Sowd had ever seen (or will ever see again, for that matter)! Mr. Martin was truly an original. His floppy feet and giant noses cracked me up. His bizarre hairstyles and slapstick humor always made me laugh. So much so, my own character Dr. Pimento from Masterminds has a little of the classic Don Martin-isms:
Antonio Prohias (1921-1998)
Antonio Prohias created Spy vs. Spy. When I was very young, it was one of my favorites. With no dialogue and clever contraptions and gadgets, the cartoon was perfect for a kid to follow. You didn't have to read, or even know English, to get the humor and the story. Brilliant stuff. I was lucky enough to get to draw Mr. Prohias' characters for the Spy vs. Spy video game box cover. How cool is that?
Sergio Aragonés went on to create Groo The Wanderer, one of my all time favorite comic books. But when I was a kid, Sr. Aragonés was famous for his wordless "drawn-out dramas" or "marginals" in MAD Magazine. Again, cartoons everyone could understand! Worldwide (and world class) humor!