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Mad artist Sergio Aragones looks back at career

Word Balloons: “Sergio Aragones: Five Decades of His Finest Works” features cartoons by the Mad Magazine artist from the 1960s to the 2000s.
by Matthew Price Published: January 28, 2011
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Considered one of the world's fastest cartoonists, Sergio Aragones and his team had plenty to choose from for his entry in the book series “Mad's Greatest Artists.” “Sergio Aragones: Five Decades of His Finest Works” features cartoons from throughout the Mad Magazine artist's career, dating back to the early 1960s.

“It was almost impossible to start choosing,” Aragones said in a recent phone interview. “I would have published it all ... ‘The Complete Works,' but since I'm still working for the magazine, that cannot be done.”

The 272-page book, published in late 2010, features cartoon stories such as “A Mad Look at the Olympics,” “A Mad Pictorial Look at the United States,” and “A Mad Look at UFOs.” The ongoing series “The Shadow Knows” featured characters whose true thoughts were revealed by the actions of their shadows.

“It was very interesting seeing the progress and the changes,” Aragones said, who was hired by the magazine at age 24, and continues to work there today.

Aragones is well-known for his wordless “marginals,” cartoons that run down the side of the magazine's pages.

It wasn't common to see wordless cartoons in the United States at that time, but Aragones convinced the powers that be at Mad to give him a shot drawing the marginal cartoons, replacing topical jokes that once were on the page borders.

“They said, ‘Let's run him until he runs out of ideas,'” he said. “That was it. I'm still coming up with them.”

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by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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