Acting Madly: the secret history of the lost MAD-alike magazines of the satire boom

It's been a bumper year for documentary evidence of the lost, weird history of MAD Magazine: first there was the gorgeous hardcover that uncovered the two-issue, unlimited-budget Trump Magazine (created by MAD's founding editor Harvey Kurtzman after a falling out with publisher William Gaines, Jr, operating with a bankroll provided by Hugh "Playboy" Hefner); now there's Behaving Madly, which assembles a timeline of the short-lived, incredibly proliferated MAD rip-offs that popped up as Kurtzman and his successor proved that there was big bucks to be found in satire.

Pop culture detritus illustrated as abandoned, overgrown ruins

What would some of the most iconic items of recent pop culture look like if they were real, enormous, and left to rot away? Filip Hodas explores the possibilities in his cool illustrations. Read the rest

Interview with the first artist in the US to be convicted of artistic obscenity

Brian H writes, "Cartoonist Mike Diana is the first artist in the US to receive a criminal conviction for artistic obscenity. Here he recounts (MP3) the trial that barred him from drawing for three years and has made it impossible for him to return to Florida nearly 25 years later." Read the rest

Gorgeous "Monster Zen" book of Japanese-styled monsters with haiku

Chet Phillips's Monster Zen is a book of 16 beautiful, "Japanese-styled" drawings of monsters, accompanied by haikus by the artist -- you can get the book for $24 or get individual prints. Read the rest

NIGHTGARDENERS: eerie familiarity, illustrated

Belgian artist Jan Pypers created NIGHTGARDENERS, a series of evocative photorealistic illustrations depicting nighttime scenes that are both recognizable and foreign. Each invites the viewer to make up a story. Read the rest

The Big Bad Fox: hilarious tale of predators, parenting, and poultry

Benjamin Renner's hit French comic The Big Bad Fox isn't just being adapted as an animated feature, it's also now available in English, thanks to the good graces of Firstsecond, whose translation keeps and even enhances all the comic timing of the original.

Pictures of dinosaurs, by a flower-drawing algorithm

Chris Rodley fed some pictures of dinosaurs to a "style transfer" machine-learning system that had been trained to draw flowers, and this was the gorgeous result. (via Kottke) Read the rest

Cute single-panel comic about relationships

Yehuda Devir and his wife Maya are both artists, so it was natural for him to create a charming illustrated blog of their relationship. Read the rest

A legal victory for the kickstarted Star Trek mashup censored by Dr Seuss's estate

Last October, the Dr Seuss estate used legal threats to halt a wildly successful crowdfunded Seuss/Star Trek mashup called "Oh, The Places You'll Boldly Go," whose contributors included comics legend Ty Templeton and Tribbles creator David Gerrold. Read the rest

Kickstarting gorgeous, illustrated slipcased classics with art from Pope, Shimuzu and Sienkiewicz

Zachary Zmith writes, "A Kickstarter is funding beautifully-designed and illustrated editions of classic stories, with illustrations from Paul Pope, Yuko Shimizu and Bill Sienkiewicz. They have already met their initial goal to fund a version of Algernon Blackwood's 'The Willows' with art by Paul Pope. If they reach $100k, Bill Sienkiewicz will illustrate H.G. Wells' vivisection classic." Read the rest

The Realist: trenchant, beautifully surreal Israeli comics about a sweet and complicated existence

Asaf Hanuka is a celebrated Israeli cartoonist whose astonishing, surreal illustrations serve as counterpoint to sweet (sometimes too-sweet) depictions of his family life, his complicated existence as a member of a visible minority in Israel, the fear he and his family live with, and his own pleasures and secret shames -- a heady, confessional, autobiographical brew that has just been collected into The Realist: Plug and Play, the second volume of Hanuka's comics.

Dan Hillier on working with Alan Moore on a gorgeous limited edition of "The Call of Cthulhu" for the Folio Society

I was approached by The Folio Society last year to see if I would be up for working on some illustrations for their planned collection of stories from H.P. Lovecraft, 'The Call of Cthulhu & Other Weird Stories', and after a bit of figuring out whether I'd be able to do it justice, due to having preparations for a solo show on the boil at the same time, I jumped right in and ended up having a large hand in its overall design too. Read the rest

The gorgeous, surreal GIFs of Adam Pizurny

Adam Pizurny's Tumblr is an endless font of stupendous and surreal GIFs. Read the rest

Illustrator Drew Friedman writes about working for Jared Kushner

"Hi Drew, I'd really like to talk to you, but there are many far more important people here for me to talk to right now." -- Jared Kushner, publisher of the New York Observer

In 1987, Arthur Carter began publishing The New York Observer, the salmon-colored broadsheet covering NY politics, show business, gossip and media. The Observer's first editor was SPY magazine co-founder E. Graydon Carter. Journalist Peter W. Kaplan became the Observer's new editor in 1994 and one of his first objectives was to line up four artists to create the newspaper's weekly covers each month. Peter first called me with an assignment to draw senator Al D'Amato and we instantly hit it off, realizing we shared a mutual love of old comedy films, Frank Sinatra and MAD magazine. Peter soon lined up the great caricaturists Philip Burke, Victor Juhasz and Robert Grossman as his other cover artists. He referred to the four of us as his "Murderer's Row", referencing the unbeatable 1927 New York Yankees starting lineup. Working directly with Peter, The four of us would create weekly covers for the NY Observer, (the NYO), for the next 15 years, with Barry Blitt drawing the small black-and-white cover caricatures.

In 2006, 25 year old real estate developer Jared Kushner bought the Observer and Peter Kaplan continued on as editor. When I first talked with Peter about the new publisher, he seemed excited about the future prospects of the NYO with this young, wealthy new publisher, equating him to Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane, purchasing a money-losing newspaper and injecting new life into it. Read the rest

Illustrator 1000DAY's lovely work inspired by MΛX

Korean illustrator Jang Suk-Woo (aka 1000DAY) was inspired by the music of Max Schneider to create some lovely layered illustrations. Read the rest

Adobe Illustrator is 30 years old

My favorite application is Adobe Illustrator, which turned 30 this week. I have used it for decades and still learn new things about it almost evert week. Here's a great video series about the beginnings of Adobe Illustrator. In the first episode, graphic designers talk about Rapid-O-Graph pens, rub-on letters, French curves, and how Adobe worked to digitize those tools. My only complaint is that the series wasn't longer.

Part 2:

Part 3: Read the rest

Illustrations depict future noir in brooding shapes and shadows

Illustrator Maxim Zhestkov demonstrates how simple shapes and gradients can convey a mood in his Future Noir series. The small silhouettes of humans give an eerie sensibility to the images. Read the rest

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