Monday, September 03, 2007

Mort Todd on Don Martin's Influences, more Dentist

Mort Todd

is a cartoonist, comics editor and all around cartoon
/comics buff. He was the guy who was responsible for getting my Spumco COMIC BOOK off the ground at Marvel comics a decade or so ago.

He knew Don Martin personally, worked with him and did a lot to help Don get some rights back to his original artwork. I asked him in my last post to let us know who Don's influences were and he kindly replied.

Mort Todd on Don Martin

I talked with Don Martin about his influences and, believe it or don't, he wasn't much of a comics fan as a kid. He was certainly inspired by Virgil Partch (VIP)

which is evident if you've seen his early album covers.

He also liked Milt Gross (Banana Oil)

and Bill Holman (Smokey Stover

** Note that my Cigarettes the Cat is pretty much stolen from "Spooky". I actually got the idea for the design from the retard cat in Clampett's Kitty Kornered and changed him into a non-retarded cat and then later discovered Smokey Stover and Spooky. So, I'm caught. Hopefully I took it a lot farther and changed the personality.

[his fire hat may have inspired Martin's way of drawing feet, no?]). He dug the Popeye comics and cartoons but wasn't aware of Tex Avery or Bob Clampett (by name anyway).

All artists are influenced by others which is most evident by their early work. To see later stuff by Jack Kirby, it'd be hard to realize his early swipes were of Alex Raymond and Hal Foster.

Also, concerning the humor art of Gene Colan, I had him do some stuff at Cracked, shot from his pencils. Beautiful stuff from an underrated artist who was rarely successfully inked by other artists.

Great blog, John, and a true service to mankind!

Beast regards,

Mort Todd

Hey Mort, what are you up to these days? How do I find you?


Bob Flynn said...

Great follow up...I didn't know about Virgil Patch. Another cartoonist for me to check out. I was wondering if you could write some time about Basil Wolverton, and how you think he may have influenced you.

Anonymous said...

Those Don Martin pages have cracked me up!

angello ///// said...

spumco comic´s is GREAT!!!

(Jim is real Idiot - This is Cool)

Jim Rockford said...

Hey John,
Whats your opinion of Jack Davis?
His work for MAD was both cartoony and realistic.
Great example are his work for RCA's Homer and Jethro albums.
(I love the cover for "life can be miserable")
"Flob was a Slob" is a great example of his work.the subject matter was pretty adult too! the girl choose to stay with the jerk and in the end winds up selling reefers to school kids!
Its a real shame what MAD's become today.

Bluedog said...

We're getting perilously close to discussing Crumb and the Freak Brothers and Fritz the Cat stuff that many of us Mad and Marvel aficionados (consumers) of the 60s turned (deviated) to in the 70s. Any discussion of that stuff?

J. J. Hunsecker said...

I'm glad to see that there are other Gene Colan fans out there. He was always my favorite comic book artists from the 70's.

Sean Worsham said...


I was also always a fan of Jack Davis and Paul Coker as well. There stuff for Rankin Bass rocked too! :)

Jim Rockford said...

"We're getting perilously close to discussing Crumb and the Freak Brothers and Fritz the Cat stuff that many of us Mad and Marvel aficionados (consumers) of the 60s turned (deviated) to in the 70s. Any discussion of that stuff"

Robert Crumb was a huge admirer of MAD magazine and Harvey Kutzman.
he cites as his many influences Carl Barks,Basil Wolverton,Segar,and many others as influences.
I think Crumb is a good example of what John is talking about.
he was influenced by many past greats,but used them to create something personal in his own style.
His work is incredibly introspective and satirical.He holds our societys "culture" under a microscope and forces people to see the mindlessnes and stupidity.

Jim Rockford said...

Hi Sean,
Coker's good too!
"horrifying cliches"
Mad had such an amazing wealth of talent....where did it all go?

Alexei Martins said...

Oh my!! I love your blog!!!You have such a AMAZING experience! and all that stuff!!just awesome!
Can you visit my blog, please?
if you don't want,ok...:)Hah!
thank you!


Sean Worsham said...

Hey there again Jim,

Well I saw some Coker art for this months Mad (which had a Simpson parody cover) which parodied Harry Potter, which in turn had Mort Drucker do a parody of "300" and the greats like Sergio Aragones still work on it as well as Al Jaffee. I also occasionally see Duck Edwing's stuff on some of the newer issues as well.

I like some of the new artists too, like Bill Wray for example (although I miss him as he's gone now, he was definitely the best Monroe artist in my opinion). and I love Herman Mejia as well (he is second only to Drucker in terms of the current movie parody artists).

Overall I will always love Mad, I plan to buy the DVD that contains every issue up to 2005.

To close things off, here's a clip from an unaired Mad tv special from 1974 (note the pause in the end, that's where they would've put the sponsor name, but since it didn't air it wasn't placed in so you get that weird pause where the Don Martin art appears):

toon_monkey said...

thanks mort! i had no idea about the holman thing but it makes so much sense.

>>john k wrote: Note that my Cigarettes the Cat is pretty much stolen from "Spooky".<<

mmm-hmmm.... like i said, everyone steals... glad you admitted it....

JohnK said...

some people only steal, and water down what they steal

Greg said...

Good news about Don Martin, Mad is releasing a deluxe two volume set of Don Martin's work. It is being released October 23 and according to the info I have it will contain all of the work Martin created for Mad over the course of 30 years. Both volumes will be over 1000 pages of material so for all of us Don Martin fans it is something to look forward to. Thank you Greg

toon_monkey said...

john---yes, you are correct there. its really really important to note that distinction, though. and this is the first time i've read it from you...all makes sense now...

The Jerk said...

hey john, i finished one of the bosko cycles, if you care to take a gander...

Ironhorse said...

John: I'll be posting some Virgil Partch from the Famous Artists School Cartoonist series on my blog this week. Finished installing the new hard drive in my Mac today so VIP and the Harvey interviews will finally resume!

Paul B said...





Looney Moon Cartoons said...

Great stuff as always John, I roughed out Bosko's first dance, These lessons are a great way too learn. Is this how you learned to animate?

Colter said...

Sorry John, but the Milt Gross stuff tops your Spumco comics. BANANA OIL!!!