Thursday, May 15, 2008

Will Elder, R.I.P.

Comic book artist Will Elder passed away earlier today. I've posted before about some of his work at EC, both the solo humour work (here and here) and inking John Severin on the adventure work (here and here). He was an incredibly talented humourist, especially in his skill in mimicking different art styles and adding an insane level of background gags.

Here are a handful of great pages from his pen. First is a collaboration with John Severin from PRIZE COMICS WESTERN, before their EC work. Several pages from the comic book version of MAD follow, showing some of his range. The loose adaptation of Poe is a great example of his own style. The parody of the Howdy Doody show is probably the first Elder story I read, in the Smithsonian reprint book. The Gasoline Alley and Disney parodies are just line for line perfection in how they capture their targets. The "L'il Melvin" page is from PANIC, looking back on the preceding story and making fun of Elder's own hidden detail style, as well as the anti-comics hysteria of the era ("These... are phonographic pictures!" cracks me up every time). And the two page spread from the magazine version of MAD shows that everyone was fair game.

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