Sunday, October 06, 2019

Mad's Maddest Paul

Sunday Repeat Opportunities.

One of the most respected artists working for Mad was Paul Coker. His funny yet charming style helped make many of Mad's most sarcastic pieces become palateble. Similarely, Mad's writers helpen Coker maintain his edge, where some of his other work (for Hallmark or television cartoon design) was simply only charming. But he had that edge himself as well, as you can see from some of the pieces he did outside of Mad. I collected all of the pieces I have shown here before into this one post. The reason was I came across on of his page filling cartoons in Esquire. I don't think it is his only one, but I never saw any others. It is written by his long time collaborator Phil Hahn.

Some of Coker's earliest and most remarkable work were the two reportages he did for Harvey Kurtzman's. For his Warren magazine Help #6, Kurtzman sent Paul Coker on an assignment to Cuba. The result is not that different from the pieces Sol Silverstein was doing for Playboy. But it was the first of many such pieces of cartoon journalism in Help, which impressed me a lot when I saw them first. Paul Coker's remarkable style had been fixed since the start of his career as a cartoonist. In fact, he is still going trong with regular contributions to Mad.

For Help #9 Harvey Kurtzman sent his staffer Gloria Steinem to a New York Women only Turkish Bath (apparently before they became a favorite spot for homosexuals and Bette Midler). She was accompanied by a female cartoonist I have not seen before or ever since. Remember, this was before Steinem went undercover to a Playboy Club as a Bunny and made a name for herself. In fact, it probably is a long forgotten inspiration for that move.

I do not have any of the greeting cards Coker did from his earliest days on, though I have seen them here and there. Here are a bunch of commercial cards Coker did for the York Machinery and Supply Company. The fifth is by a different artist who took over.

In 1967 Coker did a series of ads for the Raid anti-roach company. I am guessing there are more.

Finally Coker and Hahn managed to sell a newspaper strip in 1970. Unfortunately Lancelot was too mysogynistic, even for it's time.

One of the oddest places to find another journalistic piece would be this, an issue of Car & Driver from 1963. I don't know if he was a regular contributor and suggested it himself or if the editor simply was a Mad fan.


blog van michel said...

Heel leuk getekend. Vind hem 1 van de besten uit MAD. bedankt. groetjes.

The Seditionist said...

Apropos Susan Perl:

The Seditionist said...

Oops! That Legacy link is the wrong SP.

Anyway, collected works:

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Thanks for the links!