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 Don Martin  (1931 - 2000)

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Lived/Active: New York/Florida/New Jersey      Known for: comic strip, Mad magazine

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Ad Code: 3
Don Martin
from Auction House Records.
Mad's Don Martin Forges Ahead Cover Original Art (Warner Books, 1977).
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Don Martin (1931-2000)

Don Martin was born on May 18, 1931 in Paterson, New Jersey, and studied illustration and fine art at Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts between 1949 and 1951 and subsequently graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia.  
He settled in New York and began his career doing illustrations for records, postcards and the science-fiction magazines Fantasy and Galaxy.  He joined Harvey Kurtzman's Mad magazine in 1955 and his work first appeared in Mad in the September 1956 issue.  He stayed with the magazine for nearly the rest of his life.

Martin's immediately recognizable drawing style (which featured bulbous noses, and the famous hinged foot) was loose, rounded and filled with broad slapstick. His inspirations, plots and themes were often bizarre and at times bordered on the berserk, earning him the the name of "Mad's Maddest Artist". In his earliest years with Mad, Martin used a more jagged, scratchy line.  His style evolved, settling into its familiar form by 1964.  It was typified by a sameness in the appearance of the characters (the punchline to a strip often was emphasized by a deadpan take with eyes half open and the mouth absent or in a tight, small circle of steadfast perplexity) and by an endless capacity for newly coined, onomatopoetic sound effects, such as "BREEDEET BREEDEET" for a croaking frog, "PLORTCH" for a knight being stabbed by a sword, or "FAGROON klubble klubble" for a collapsing building

Martin became one of the most important satirical comic makers of the United States, with characters like Fester Bestertester and Captain Klutz.

He was a member of both the National Cartoonists Society and The Graphic Artists Guild.

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