Mimi Pond: "MAD was our communist manifesto"
This episode of Gweek is brought to you by Bombfell, the glorious clothing service for men that sends handpicked outfits to your door. Go to bombfell.com/gweek to get $10 off your first purchase. And by Stamps.com — get a $110 sign-up bonus with the offer code GWEEK!
In the 1980s Mimi Pond was a cartoonist and illustrator for such publications as the National Lampoon, the Village Voice, The New York Times, Seventeen Magazine, Adweek, and too many more to mention, as well as writing and illustrating five humor books, beginning with the national best-seller, The Valley Girls’ Guide to Life. She wrote the first episode of the animated series, The Simpsons, and has written for other television shows as well.
With her husband, the artist Wayne White, she moved to Los Angeles in 1990 and since then has continued to write and to draw cartoons for numerous national magazines.
In 2014, her graphic novel, Over Easy, a fictionalized account of her post-art school waitressing career in Oakland, California in the late 1970s, was published by Drawn & Quarterly and has been on the New York Times Best Seller List.
Dean and I enjoyed chatting with Mimi. Her are a few things she talked about:
Graphic novels: I have been enjoying a number of graphic novels recently. My favorite artists include Vanessa Davis, Miriam Katin, Joe Ollman, Joyce Farmer, Seth, Rutu Modan, Esther Pearl Watson, Leela Corman, Lauren Weinstein, Judith Vanistendael, Derf Backderf. I prefer things that have real storylines, real narratives. There’s so much stuff out there that may be well-executed from a technical standpoint, or really perfect-looking, but when there’s a real dearth of good writing, it just adds up to a big fat nothing. Also it’s kind of unnerving when things are too perfect. I prefer the drawing to look a little funky, like the artist got their boogers and their blood on it while they were drawing. Mad Magazine, both the Bantam paperback re-issues of the EC originals, and 1960s Mad Magazine were like our bible, our communist manifesto in my house while I was growing up. I will just straight up tell you I have no interest in anything superhero, or action-adventure, or science-fiction related. I just don’t care about that stuff! I resent being made to feel like because of some comics tradition I should school myself and APPRECIATE the artistry of all the “great” superhero comics artists. I mean, I do appreciate it, but at the same time, especially growing up as a girl, there was ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IN IT FOR ME. The girls very rarely got to be in on the action, they were just there to get in trouble and then get saved. That’s boring. And even with characters like Wonder Woman, who goes around saving the world...I’m not interested in saving the world. I’m interested in complex characters and human relationships and moral ambiguity.
Books: I could go on and on. I love to read biographies and autobiographies from high to low. Like, everything from a bio of Edith Wharton (brilliant author! horrible anti-semite!) to Zsa-Zsa Gabor’s One Life is Not Enough - (big fat liar). I read ‘em all. In terms of fiction, I love (like I said) Edith Wharton, Nabokov, Patricia Highsmith. I love narratives where the hero or heroine is really kind of horrible, but the author MAKES you cheer them on anyway. I love that kind of complexity.
Subscribe on iTunes!
GET GWEEK: RSS | On iTunes | Download episode | Stitcher
There’s nothing like an Alex Schomburg Golden Age comic book cover. Feast your eyes on Sub-Mariner #12, Winter 1943. I’m not a WWII historian, but I don’t recall the Germans having pink helmets, pink rifles, or pink and green swastika flags. Stan Lee on Schomburg: “Alex Schomburg was to comic books what Norman Rockwell was […]
Ed Piskor drew this cool pin-up of an X-Men family tree (abridged). Each row represents a decade of the X-Men from 1963-1992. [Download]
When you are trying to imagine the details of an alternative world, try Moebius. Moebius (one of the pseudonyms for the French artist Jean Giraud) practically invented the now-common idea of a well worn future – that place far ahead that is gritty, patched up, organic, and old and new at the same time. Think […]
Plastic is so 2013. You don’t want to buy something only to throw it away or lose it and barely care. You like nice things and want to hang onto them. The Plazmatic lighter here is a high quality, high tech alternative to the typical cheap, plastic lighter you get at the old gas station. […]
Real engineers build things. Super cool engineers build things with their hands and fingers, like our engineering forefathers did. No idea where to even begin to do that? This step by step Arduino course is now 92% off and is going to get you up and running, from zero to hero, in no time. So […]
How do Google and YouTube really work? It turns out, Python kind of runs things around those parts. And with this bootcamp, you’ll get whipped into shape and ready to start programming yourself. Whether you’re a Python pro and just want to sharpen your skills, or a total tech newbie with little or no coding […]