Here’s a really nice video featuring Sergio’s work. I met Sergio when I was in high school. He was married to a teacher at my school and he came in and talked with us. I knew his work well and was delighted to see him. Years later at the Book Festival in LA I saw him signing books at a booth and told him about it and he laughed. When I told him I was an artist too and my work tended to be comical he laughed harder.
Sergio Aragonés Domenech (born 6 September 1937, Sant Mateu, Castellón, Spain) is a cartoonist and writer best known for his contributions to Mad Magazine and creator of the comic book Groo the Wanderer.
Among his peers and fans, Aragonés is widely regarded as “the world’s fastest cartoonist.”The Comics Journal has described Aragonés as “one of the most prolific and brilliant cartoonists of his generation. Mad editor Al Feldstein said, “He could have drawn the whole magazine if we’d let him.”
According to the artist, he arrived in New York in 1962 with nothing but 20 dollars and his portfolio of drawings. After working odd jobs around the city, Aragonés went to Mad’s offices in Madison Avenue hoping to sell some of his cartoons. “I didn’t think I had anything that belonged in Mad, said Aragonés. “I didn’t have any satire. I didn’t have any articles. But everybody was telling me, ‘Oh, you should go to Mad.”
Since his knowledge of English wasn’t very extensive, he asked for the only Mad artist he knew of that spoke Spanish, Cuban-born artist Antonio Prohías, creator of the comic Spy vs. Spy. Aragonés hoped Prohías could serve as a interpreter between him and the Mad editors. According to Aragonés, this proved to be a mistake, since Prohías knew even less English than he. Prohías did receive Aragonés very enthusiastically and, with difficulty, introduced the young artist to the Mad editors as his “Sergio, my brother from Mexico,” temporarily leading to even further confusion, as the Mad editors thought he was “Sergio Prohías.” Mad editor Al Feldstein and publisher Bill Gaines liked what they saw, and Aragonés became a contributor to the magazine in 1963. His first sale was an assortment of astronaut cartoons which the editors arranged into a themed article. As of the 500th issue in 2009, Aragonés’ work had appeared in 424 issues of Mad, second only to Al Jaffee (451 issues). “They told me, “Make Mad your home,” said Aragonés, “and I took it literally.”
The cartoonist has a featured section in every issue called “A Mad Look At….”, featuring 2-4 pages of speechless comic strips, all related to the same subject. Aragonés also became famous for his wordless “drawn-out dramas” or “marginals” which were inserted into the margins and between panels of the magazine. The drawings are both horizontal and vertical, and occasionally extend around corners. He always draws his male characters overweight. Prior to Aragonés’ arrival at Mad, the magazine had sometimes filled its margins with text jokes under the catch-all heading “Marginal Thinking.” Aragones convinced Feldstein to use his cartoons by creating a dummy sample issue with his Marginals drawn along the edges. The staff of Mad enjoyed his marginals, but expected him to only last one or two issues. They did not expect him to be able to maintain the steady stream of small cartoons needed for each issue. However, Aragonés has provided marginals for every issue of Mad since 1963 except one (his contributions to that issue were lost by the Post Office). Associate Editor Jerry DeFuccio said, “Writing the ‘Marginal Thinking’ marginals had always been a pain in the butt. Sergio made the pain go away.”
Aragonés is a very prolific artist; Al Jaffee once said, “Sergio has, quite literally, drawn more cartoons on napkins in restaurants than most cartoonists draw in their entire careers.” Writer Mark Evanier estimated that, as of 2002, Aragonés had written and drawn more than 12,000 gag cartoons for Mad alone.