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.