Will Elder documentary project on Kickstarter

Harvey Kurtzman may have invented MAD, but for 99% of MAD's readers, it's the work of Will Elder that comes to mind when they think of the magazine.

Elder remained on good terms with Kurtzman -- a childhood friend -- after Kurtzman left MAD, and they continued to work together on various projects, such as Playboy's Little Annie Fanny and Goodman Beaver. But despite his immense talents as an artist and humorist, Elder always worked in the shadow of the charismatic Kurtzman.

That's why I'm excited to learn that Gary VandenBergh is making a documentary about Will Elder. He's seeking $3000 on Kickstarter to make it.

Chicken Fat is a feature length documentary about the legacy of MAD Magazine's seminal artist Will Elder. It is on it's way to being completed in 2011. We already have interviewed an impressive array of artists, writers, publishers and pop-culture experts which you can see by visiting www.ChickenFat.tv . Your donations will be used to complete our production interviews with Playboy founder, Hugh Hefner; American author, screenwriter and artist, Daniel Clowes; Film Director, Joe Dante and William Stout, one of the few artists who worked with Will on Playboy's Little Annie Fanny. To date this project has been funded using a generous grant from the Laurie Foundation and my own hard-earned cash! Once these interviews are complete we hit the edit room and plan to have a completed documentary by year's end. Any donation, no matter how small, is very much appreciated!
Here's a review I wrote of a book about Elder called The Mad Playboy of Art.

Kickstarter: Chicken Fat 2011


  1. This looks fun. Good luck to Mr. VandenBergh on this project.

    I’m proud to say that I’m currently helping out on a documentary about Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson that was also funded on Kickstarter. You can read more about it by searching for ‘Watterson’ on Kickstarter.com.

  2. 99% of MAD readers think first about a guy who was only there for the first 25 issues? I love love loved MAD as a kid (I sold my Barbies to buy a 5 year subscription), had a number of their 1960s paperbacks from the used bookstore and I couldn’t place the name when I read this entry and had to do a bit of searching to figure out why.
    I doubt 99% of MAD readers could agree on anything, but if asked to name a MAD artist I suspect most people would name Dave Berg, Don Martin, Sergio Aragones or Al Jaffee.

    1. I don’t know if I’d always think of Elder’s work itself, but Elder in general will always be the face of MAD to me.

  3. I’ve been tempted to chip in and fund something before, but this one finally did it for me and I chipped in.

    I’m too young to have read Elder’s work in MAD directly, I discovered it in ratty paperback books at garage sales when I was in middle school. Mickey Rodent. Shermlock Shomes. The layering of details and gags. I’d already been reading MAD — the folks mentioned by naturegrrl were dominant at the time — but I could spend hours reading and re-reading Elder’s (and Wood’s) work. (Wood’s reference to Elder and his background details in Julius Caesar is just great, BTW.)

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