MAD for our artists
These six illustrators contributed their talent and humor to the parody project.
Several supremely talented illustrators made possible Madison Magazine’s tribute to MAD magazine. And lending the project legitimacy, two of the artists have done extensive work for MAD itself.
The MADison cover — which served as the upside down back cover of Madison Magazine’s January issue — featured a hilarious and convincing mashup of longtime Madison Magazine columnist John Roach and MAD mascot Alfred E. Neuman with the Madison skyline in the background. (Upon seeing the caricature of himself, Roach said, “My only negative note is that I look better as Alfred than myself.”) The creator of the image, Mark Fredrickson, has done cover art for numerous magazines, including MAD, over his 30-year career. Fredrickson’s cover art for the September 2008 issue of MAD magazine — a merging of Barack Obama and Neuman — was included in Time’s top 10 magazine covers of 2008.
Another caricature by a bonafide MAD illustrator appeared in the January issue. Tom Richmond drew Neuman in the company of Wendy Bucci, a Madison resident and the daughter of MAD cofounder William Gaines. That illustration appeared with Doug Moe’s story about Bucci in the January issue. Richmond, originally from La Crosse, is known for the countless caricatures of celebrities and politicians he’s done for MAD magazine since 2000.
The artist who drew a four-page comic strip for our MAD parody was Dan. E. Burr. The strip depicts a contrived conversation about Madison’s comedic history between Madison Magazine Editorial Director and News 3 Now “Off the Record” host Neil Heinen and several guests: former mayor Paul Soglin, local historian Stu Levitan, Roach and Bucci. The strip was colored by Debbie Freiberg, Burr’s wife and art partner. Burr drew the award-winning historic graphic novel “Kings in Disguise” and its sequel “On the Ropes” and has worked on titles for DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics and others. Burr has contributed illustrations to Madison Magazine periodically over the past 10 years.
Artist and Madison native Tommy Washbush created four faux future covers of MADison Magazine for the parody project, including one showing a University of Wisconsin–Madison food delivery robot becoming sentient and going on strike until it is granted tenure. “I loved working on this project since I’m a huge fan of parodies and all things Madison,” he says. “I could basically draw it from memory.” An Edgewood High School graduate, Washbush worked in the art department at Isthmus, the weekly newspaper, before moving last year to New Hampshire to join his girlfriend who is going to grad school at the University of New Hampshire. He is currently doing freelance work and drawing cartoons that he shares on Instagram as @washbeast.
Daniel Shaw, aka SAWBLADE, drew the caricature of Roach that accompanies the columnist’s “Last Word” column. Tim Burton, creative director for Madison Magazine, said he found Shaw’s artwork on Instagram. While Shaw specializes in extremely detailed, black-and-white horror and fantasy illustrations for heavy metal and punk bands, he cites MAD magazine on his website as influential during his childhood.
Nicole Peaslee, whose food photography regularly appears in Madison Magazine, contributed three drawings to illustrate alternative Best of Madison categories, including “Madison’s Lease Attentive Bartenders.” Peaslee has gone back to school to earn a degree in graphic design.
Joel Patenaude is associate editor for Madison Magazine and cowrote the MAD magazine tribute.