The Artist as a Young Mutant

The Artist as a Young Mutant
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Mutant

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Maim of the Game

Some of you may remember CRACKED, prior to its current incarnation as a text/video-oriented humor website, back when it was MAD's main rival in the cartoon humor magazine racket. Working as a freelancer, I was a regular CRACKED contributor for over a decade, starting in late 1989.

Here's what I think was one of my better pieces from my early days there, art from the first of a two-page feature called "TV Gameshows Through History", written by Rob Weske, and published in the pages of CRACKED back in 1992. All the art and lettering are mine, done with Higgins waterproof black ink in dip pen and brush, plus some fine-point Rapidograph pen. 

Like the "mutant artist" banner art at the top of this blog (itself originally done for CRACKED), this was done on Duo Shade board, which was a special, chemically-treated paper that had 'invisible' diagonal hatching and crosshatching lines printed on it, that could be brought out by using two separate chemical solutions with a brush or pen. So, basically, you could draw or paint in a couple of values of grey tone in a black and white illustration, which would show up nicely in reproduction/printing. With the advent of Photoshop tools and high-res computer printers, Duo Shade eventually became both prohibitively expensive and, ultimately, obsolete... but it was an interesting medium to use, at the time.

Here are some detail shots--

I liked to put in old pop culture reference gags, wherever they might fit... so in the arena above, around Kirk Douglas, you can find forgotten 1950s Terrytoons character, "Flebus"; Super Chicken's crime-fighting partner, "Fred"; the lion logo from Random House's old "Step-Up Books" line and, hidden somewhere, the Little Caesar's "Pizza! Pizza!" guy.


  1. Ah, the wonders of Craftint. I used to use wash (diluted ink) for the same effect.

    Hey, it's been a year since you updated this and the Smoking Holes blog. Any updates planned, or are these blogs pretty much done?

  2. Pete! Where are you, man? You really should be posting more art. I need it to swipe from!