Last night, I attended a Graphic Artists Guild panel on the Art and Business of Cartooning. Among others Al Jaffee was part of the panel, and I was really struck with his story on how he got into the comics and cartooning business. He felt his knowledge of anatomy wasn’t good enough to do the popular superhero books, so he decided to write his own scripts so that he could be the one to draw the art. I suppose I feel much the same way since my type of drawing is far from what would be acceptable in mainstream comics.
Of course the thing that Al is best known for is the Famous Mad “Fold-In”. He explained how at the time Playboy, Life event Sports Illustrated all had these beautiful full color Fold-outs in the center of the magazine. Since Mad was a satirical ‘zine, he thought let’s do just the opposite, a simple black and white ‘Fold-In’ cartoon. He meant to do it just as a one-off, but then they requested one for the next month, and so one right up to present day.
Another great artist/writer Mark Alan Stamaty who was also on the panel said many things that stuck in my mind. He said was to trust your feelings and when an idea just feels right then it’s good. Also that whether its comics or kids books what he does is tell stories using words and pictures. To me this the the best kind of storytelling and why I still love comics.