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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Culture: Will Elder, Brilliant "Mad" -man, Dies

An Appreciation by Noah Mallin

Will Elder, the graphic artist who stuffed his panels full of sight gags and wordplay for Mad Magazine and Playboy died today. He was 86 years old. After attending high school with future Mad founder Harvey Kurtzman and fellow Mad artist Al Jaffee, Elder helped draft maps for the Normandy landing on D-Day during World War II.

At Mad Elder pioneered a style that influenced the entire magazine as well as the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker creative filmmaking team behind Airplane! and The Naked Gun and even the non-sequitur filled design of the much ballyhooed Spy magazine in the 1980s.

He would go on to create and draw the strip "Little Annie Fanny" for Playboy magazine, filling it with his bawdy humor and dynamic action.

1 comment:

Mike Lorah said...

Will Elder was a genius. Check out "Chicken Fat: Drawings, Sketches, Cartoons and Doodles" or "Will Elder: The MAD Playboy of Art" for great looks at his life and art.

Two volumes of "MAD Archives" collect the first ten issues of MAD magazine, and two volumes of "Playboy's Little Annie Fanny" compile the entire run of Fannie strips that Elder and Kurtzman collaborated on for Playboy.