For over thirty years, Don Martin's crazy comics filled the pages of MAD
magazine. On Sunday, January 9, 2000, Marin died in a Miami hospital at the
age of 68. A representative of Baptist Hospital says the cartoonist died of
cancer. No further details were disclosed. Martin's weirdo humor disgusted
mothers and delighted young rebels for nearly three decades. No person or
tale was free from Martin's eye for twisted satire. For example, his strips
would feature a woman in a French bistro nibbling on her frog legs only to
see them become the disembodied legs of a prince. "Is it funny? That's the
only test I know when it comes to cartooning," Martin once said. "Not
whether it's sick, or whether it's going to ruin people's values or morals.
You only have to ask a simple question: Is it funny?" During the 1950s and
'60s, Martin had become a staple at MAD magazine until 1987 when he jumped
ship over a reprint rights and profits dispute with the late publisher
William Gaines. Martin then joined the staff of rival mag, Cracked. Even
with a degenerative eye condition that required him to undergo cornea
transplants, wear painful contact lenses and use a magnifying glass to
draw, Martin produced then sold more than 7 million copies of his books.
When asked by the Miami Herald about his influences, Gary Larson, creator
of THE FAR SIDE, said, "Don Martin was the one who really stood out. I
really always loved his work. He was such a great artist."