Sunday, May 18, 2008

Elder Mistake

Will Elder, 86; original cartoonist for Mad magazine - Los Angeles Times

Yesterday's LA Times printed this excellent obituary for Will Elder, who was a singular satirical comics artist renowned for crowding his comics panels with hilarious throwaway gags.

Well, it's excellent except for an odd mistake: A Mad Magazine editor raves for a couple of paragraphs about Elder's purported work on Mad's classic Superman parody from the '50's, SUPERDUPERMAN.

That's odd because Elder didn't draw SUPERDUPERMAN; Wally Wood did.

Nor is it an easy mistake to make. Wood and Elder have completely different styles -- indeed, two of the most unmistakable styles in comics. Further, Wood signed the SUPERDUPERMAN story in the first panel, complete with a poster with a caricature of himself and a bit of doggerel. And SUPERDUPERMAN is not an obscure story; it's one of the most reprinted stories from Mad's days as a color comic book. (In fact, the reprints below are taken from the SMITHSONIAN BOOK OF COMIC-BOOK COMICS.)

To illustrate, here's the first page of SUPERDUPERMAN:

And here's a page of Elder's satire of Howdy Doody, HOWDY DOOIT:

Both are copyrighted by EC Comics/Warner Communications.

I can tell the difference. I'm sure the quoted editor can too. I am guessing the reporter pulled a quote from the editor before he could confirm his memories by doing some research.

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