In its heyday, MAD magazine was required reading for happy mutants. Every (cheap!) issue was jam-packed with terrific cartoons, highlarious parody, social commentary disguised as sophomoric humor, and quite a few jokes that I pretended to get but was secretly too young to understand. The Don Martin Department was always my favorite section (along with Dave Berg's strips and the sacred fold-in) so I'm salivating over the publication of The Completely MAD Don Martin, a beautifully-packaged two-volume collection of everything Martin ever did for MAD, from 1957 to 1987. Over at the Arf Lovers blog, Craig Yoe interviewed Jon Anderson of Running Press, publishers of the mighty tomes. From the interview:
How did the project come about?
I had been talking with the folks at Mad for years about wanting to collect the works of their best and most prolific artists. The result is going to be a series of deluxe boxed sets concentrating on one artist at a time. We've begun with Don Martin, but future years will bring Jack Davis, Al Jaffe, Sergio Aragones, Mort Drucker, etc.
And I hope my very fave Wally Wood! Anyhoo, this Don Martin set is the perfect beginning for things to come. It doesn't look like you spared anything.
That was the idea. We were so determined to produce a true collector's item that we went and hired the same folks who had produced The Complete Far Side and The Complete Calvin & Hobbes collections of a few years ago. The set is two volumes, 1,000 pages, slip-cased, and is printed on such high-quality paper that it weighs in at over twenty pounds. The retail price is $150 (Cheap!). And we were able to get appreciation pieces from almost all of Martin's Mad colleagues as well as a wonderful introduction from Gary Larson… The end result is a celebration of Don Martin's Mad Magazine career, and it does include every single illustration he produced over a span of thirty years as a contributor, including the stickers, posters and other ephemera.