MAD Mag's Martin Dies

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."

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Rick DeMott
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