MAD magazine's Sergio Aragonés still at the drawing board at 85

In 1962, a young Mexican cartoonist, Sergio Aragonés, knocked on the door of the New York MAD magazine offices hoping for a job. Little could he know that 60 years later, he would still be one of the magazine's "usual gang of idiots." But what he found was not what he expected.

…[T]he recent college student was introduced to a relatively staid Madison Avenue office. Where was the whimsy? The MAD-cap frivolity? This was no clubhouse of high jinks.

"I thought it was going to be a lot of jokes on the walls," Aragonés says by Zoom from his home in Ojai, Calif., where he celebrated his 85th birthday last month. After he was hired that day he walked in to sell his work, he suggested to publisher William Gaines, "Why don't we paint one of the doors to make it look like an elevator — putting fake numbers at the top?" — befuddling visitors attempting to exit. Or perhaps better yet: "Why don't we put a bomb in the roof with the sound effect 'tick-tock-tick-tock' ?"

"Bill looked at me like: 'Sergio, this is an office of working people.' He wanted the office to be very functional."

What cartoonists cannot create in life, however, they are armed to imagine on the canvas. So for a new comic, Aragonés has drawn busy MAD office workers momentarily donning character masks — think "Spy vs. Spy" and grinning mascot Alfred E. Neuman — to entertain kid visitors taking phone photos.

Read the rest at The Washington Post.

Aragonés' new strip appears in a special edition of MAD, out on Oct 4, which marks the magazine's 70th anniversary.