Wednesday, October 17, 2007

MAD's Greatest Artists: The Completely MAD Don Martin

Above: a set of stamps from the Fall 1975 Mad Special (which I bought in downtown Lawrence, KS back in the day) by the late, great Don Martin, reprinted in THE COMPLETELY MAD DON MARTIN. Is his family compensated for this?

To have a collection of all of the cartoon work that Don Martin ever did for MAD Magazine would be wonderful, right? All of us fans would shout, "Thank you, God!" just like the Lucky Boy character in Animal House when blonde Babs Jansen hurtles thru his window, landing on his bed. This is an unexpected fulfillment of a want we got!

And it's here, in a fancy schmancy 2 volume, slip cased edition on better paper than Gaines ever thought of buying, with photos and extras from MAD's Usual Gang of Idiots. THE COMPLETELY MAD DON MARTIN set, which retails for $150 (but can be bought for under $100 from discount places), has all of Martin's cartoon work from 1957 to 1987. Yeah, another grand hardcover set, like the now precedent setting slipcased FAR SIDE, and the CALVIN & HOBBES collections. The place that put the book together is the same place that did the C&H collection.

Martin left MAD in the 1980s over a dispute about money and rights. Mr. Martin has since passed away. Twenty years later, I wonder: is Time Warner cutting a check to the man's family?

If I'm buying it, without the cartoonist's family getting a serious cut, I am making a statement with my purchase that this is all just peachy keen.

If all of the dough is going into Running Press' pockets and Time Warner's, then I would rather not help. This isn't an indictment on the idea of the book. It's a grand idea for a book! And it was wonderful to read at Craig Yoe's Arflovers blog, in his interview with Running Press publisher Jon Anderson, that it's sold out, with no chance of a reprint pre-Holiday season.

But I haven't read anything to assure me that the creator's heirs are seeing money.

As I wrote earlier this year, PLAYBOY and NATIONAL LAMPOON are putting out complete DVD editions of their mags without compensating the people who actually created the content. If that's the future of content providers like me, then I won't support that. Nope. No sir. No, thank you -- God, or Time Warner. No thank you!


Unknown said...

I haven't heard anything about Don Martin's heirs being compensated, but I would hope that DC would see fit to do so.
I have heard that The Completely Mad Don Martin is a bit of a misnomer, as the original Mad paperbacks by Don Martin are NOT included.

Mike Lynch said...

Good point, D. D. Don Martin's Signet paperback work (including Captain Klutz!) is not included in this 2 volume set.

Mark Anderson said...

I have to admit I'm torn. I REALLY want this book, but now... Hrm... Maybe I can salve my soul by calling it good for the economy in general?