Friday, May 16, 2008

In Memorium: Will Elder

Courtesy of Newsarama:

Will Elder, the successful cartoonist and commercial illustrator whose work helped launch MAD Magazine, died Thursday morning, May 15th, 2008 at the age of 86.
Born Wolf William Eisenberg in the Bronx, New York, Elder changed his name after returning from World War II. During his time of service, Elder was part of the map-making team that was instrumental in the invasion of Normandy.

When Harvey Kurtzman launched MAD Magazine in 1952, he hired Elder along with Wally Wood, Jim Severin, and Jack Davis to produce content for the first issues.

“Willie Elder was one of the funniest artists to ever work for MAD. He created visual feasts with dozens of background gags layered into every MAD story he illustrated,” says John Ficarra, Editor of MAD Magazine, “He called these gags “chicken fat.” Willie’s “anything goes” art style set the tone for the entire magazine and created a look that endures to this day.”

“Willie’s passing saddens all of us here at MAD,” says Sam Viviano, MAD Magazine Art Director, “Everyone who has attempted to draw a funny picture over the course of the last fifty or sixty years owes an enormous debt to Willie, who taught us all how to do it — and no one has ever done it better than he did.”

In addition to his work on MAD, Elder also co-created Little Annie Fanny.


Karswell said...

Very sad news, everyone's talking about this one this morning.

ET said...

I have been crazy about Will Elder and Harvey Kurtzman since the early 50s when I first picked MAD #4. Now, of the original MAD cast, only Jack Davis and John Severin remain.

I concur with Karswell, very sad.