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 George C. Woodbridge  (1930 - 2004)

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: Comic and military book illustration, cartoon, ink drawing

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Al Williamson, Angelo Torres, and Roy G. Krenkel Classics Illustrated #144 First ...
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Following is The New York Times obituary of the artist.

George Woodbridge, 73, Artist For Mad Magazine Since 1950's
By ERIC NASH
Published: January 22, 2004
    

George Woodbridge, a cartoonist and illustrator whose hapless, baggy suburbanites peopled Mad magazine for nearly 50 years, died in a hospital on Staten Island on Tuesday. He was 73 and lived on Staten Island.

The cause was emphysema, said his wife, Deborah Woodbridge.

Known for his delicately crosshatched pen-and-ink style, he was equally adept at caricature, at evoking historical styles and skewering Madison Avenue. A typical Woodbridge target was the suburban dweller, who progressed over the years from his early-1960's incarnation as a commuter-train-chasing executive in a button-down shirt to his overweight, barbecuing 1970's counterpart clad in polyester and plaid.

Sometimes using his middle initial, as George C. Woodbridge, he had a second career as an illustrator of historically accurate military-history works like the three-volume 'American Military Equipage, 1851-1872,' published in the 1970's.

As an American Revolutionary War enthusiast, he would show up at re-enactments to command the Brigade of the American Revolution, a loosely federated group of history buffs.

Mr. Woodbridge was born in Flushing, Queens, in 1930, and attended the School of Visual Arts, where he met a group of young artists who included Frank Frazetta, Angelo Torres and Al Williamson, who all went on to work for Mad's parent company, E. C. Comics. Nick Meglin, a longtime editor for Mad who brought Mr. Woodbridge into the fold, recalls that one day the group walked into the office and the cartoonist Harvey Kurtzman looked up and said, ''It's the Fleagle Gang!'' The name stuck, and Mr. Woodbridge was a full-fledged member.

He sold his first piece to Mad, an illustration of lyrics by Tom Lehrer, in 1957. Perhaps Mr. Woodbridge's most fondly remembered piece for the magazine was the 1965 sports satire ''43-Man Squamish,'' written by Tom Koch: it featured a nonsensical field game played with shepherds' crooks, diving flippers, polo helmets and impossibly complicated rules.

''The different equipment was hysterical,'' Mr. Meglin recalled. ''George was able to make that real.'' College students from all over the country sent in photographs of themselves playing the game.

''George was a humorous illustrator, not a cartoonist,'' said John Ficarra, the current editor of Mad. ''He had a tremendous eye for detail. We knew that if we asked him to draw a canteen, it would not be just any canteen, it would be the exact model the government issued in 1876 for a story about Custer's Last Stand.''

''My work in the pages of Mad,'' Mr. Woodbridge wrote in a hand-written autobiographical note, ''matured apace with my historical efforts. Indeed I believe the former strongly complemented -- even aided -- the latter.''

Mr. Woodbridge's first marriage, to Ines Woodbridge, ended in divorce. In addition to his wife, he is survived by three sons from his first marriage, George, Curtis and Chris.


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