Xinjinmeng's Style Challenge (2019)

I am not sure how successful I was, but I always learn something from these exercises. Here's some information on the artists homaged in this challenge.


Dubbed "the Maddest MAD [Magazine] artist", Don Martin's unique style has an economy of line, repeated grotesque elements such as large hands and floppy shoes, and a penchant for absurd sound effects. 


First a letterer of comics, then an independent artist in his own right, Stan Sakai is most famous for his "Usagi Yojimbo" character, who is an irregular cast member in the extended Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles canon. His signature style of uniform line, complex hatching, and restrained exaggeration was a natural fit for the black-and-white boom of the 1980s and still looks fantastic today.

 

Originally a simple gag-a-day affair, Tom Batiuk's Funky Winkerbean has become a comic strip with a bizarre mix of anti-humor and ineffable tragedy. His style uses frequent tics and gestures and a command of shape and form that invokes 3-D positions and blocking, mastery of the comic-strip format. 

 

With his creator-owned E-Man superhero, Joe Staton immediately showed how he could mix superhero action with absurdist comedy. Currently, he is the illustrator for the Dick Tracy comic strip, where he has adapted dominant darks and bold lines into a strong idiom that invokes both film-noir and fine cartooning.

 

If you've ever seen an issue a Mad Magazine, then you've probably seen the work of Mort Drucker. His brush-work caricatures headlined most any TV or movie parody, with a wealth of details that was emblematic of the "chicken-fat" house style, more gags than you can take in at once.

 

My personal experience with Howard Cruze's artwork was the joy of discovering his stipple-pen and underground-comix in occasional cartoons seen in magazines like Crazy or Starlog. Years later, I was fortunate to find his longer, personal works such as Wendell and Stuck Rubber Baby.  A balance of the abstract and the concrete, Cruze's style perfectly mixes with the subject matter of the absurdity of life. 

 

Another of the "Usual Gang of Idiots", Duck Edwing wrote and drew for Mad Magazine, among other projects. While other artists might be more remembered for their idiosyncratic styles, Edwing's artwork is exremely purposeful, propping up the gag with just that right level of representation without over-detailing. There is craft in transparency. 

 

My personal favorite of the Mad contributors is Al Jaffee. His art varies between the simple and the detailed, the ordinary and the grotesque, the obvious and the subversive. He is mostly famous for the "Fold-In", a cartoon that becomes something else when portions are folded over others to create a punchline; a unique combination of humor and design. 

 

"The world's fastest cartoonist", Sergio Aragonés has worked in all forms, from the tiny cartoons in Mad Magazine's marginalia, to stand-alone comic books like Groo the Wanderer and Space Circus, and even animated subjects and story-boards. His style of fixed-width pen, flat shading, and a lot of paying detail makes everything he illustrates a joy to look upon.

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