Athens, Ga. – Sergio Aragones, one of the world’s most-honored cartoonists and an early contributor to the famed MAD magazine, will deliver the 2009 Jack Davis Distinguished Visiting Artist Lecture on the University of Georgia campus.
The event will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 13, in the Lamar Dodd School of Art Building on UGA’s East Campus and is open free to the public.
That same day, the Southeast Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society will be meeting at the Lamar Dodd School of Art. On the morning of Feb. 13, all members present will be part of a “draw off,” featuring UGA students and Aragones.
Aragones has won every major award in the field of cartooning, including the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben Award and the Will Eisner Hall of Fame Award.
According to his Web site, he was born in 1937 in Castellon, Spain, but his family soon relocated to Mexico during the Spanish Civil War.In Mexico, Aragones received his education, eventually studying architecture at the University of Mexico. But his heart was always in cartooning, a craft he discovered in the third grade, “to the delight of his classmates and the annoyance of his instructors.”
He contributed to school newspapers and anywhere else he could get his sketches printed and, at age 17, began selling professionally to a wide array of Mexican publications. He maintained a weekly spot for more than 10 years in Manana magazine.
In 1962, he decided to try his luck in the United States, and arrived in New York with only $20 and a folder bulging with his cartoon work.At first, work was slow in coming and what he did sell did not pay very well, forcing him to work as a singer/poet in Greenwich Village restaurants and to pick up other odd jobs.Things changed when he mustered the courage to approach the top market for silly pictures, MAD magazine.
Embarrassed by his halting English, he went to their office and asked for Antonio Prohias, the Cuban refugee who drew their popular “Spy vs. Spy” feature. Aragones figured that Prohias could translate for him, but Prohias spoke even less English than Aragones. He did, however, introduce his new “brother” about, and the MAD editors liked what they saw.
Aragones first contribution–“A Mad Look at the U.S. Space Effort”– appeared in MAD #76, cover-dated January 1963.For that same issue, he also contributed the cover gag (the first of many) and his first “Marginal Thinking” cartoons to be printed in the magazine’s margins. He has since appeared in every issue of MAD and has done thousands of his unique pantomime cartoons. He also produced 16 best-selling original MAD paperback books.
In the early eighties, Aragones teamed with writer Mark Evanier to bring forth the adventures of Groo the Wanderer. Groo quickly became one of the longest-running “creator-owned” comic book properties, outlasting many of the companies that published it. Together, Aragones and Evanier have also produced other comics, including Fanboy, Boogeyman, Magnor, Blair Witch? and an acclaimed series in which together, they trash famous characters: Sergio Aragones Massacres Marvel, Sergio Aragones Destroys DC, and Sergio Aragones Stomps Star Wars. For their comic book work, they have received multiple Eisner awards. Aragones has also “soloed” with two all-pantomime series, Actions Speak and Louder Than Words.
Aragones has appeared as an actor-performer on television (on, among others, Laugh-In and Speak Up, America) and motion pictures (in, among others, Norman, Is That You? and To Kill A Stranger). His artwork has appeared on hundreds of advertisements and editorial features, and his animation has been featured on numerous TV shows, including The Shirley MacLaine Special, The Cher Special, The Half-Hour Comedy Hour and Dick Clark’s TV Bloopers and Practical Jokes.
He lives and works in Ojai, Calif.
Jack Davis is one of the best-known and most important American illustrators of the past 50 years. His work spans every genre in the illustration field from MAD magazine to Playboy and Time.
Davis is noted for his style of wild, free-flowing brushwork, wacky characters and incredible crowd scenes. He has also received the Reuben Award and was inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame at the Museum of American Illustration in New York. Davis attended UGA in the early 1950s.
The intent of the Jack Davis Distinguished Visiting Artist program is to honor Davis and his contributions to popular culture, and to bring outstanding professional illustrators who share in this tradition to the UGA campus for a public lecture and creative exchanges with students and faculty.
Editor’s Note: Much of the biographical information about Sergio Aragones comes from his Web site www.sergioaragones.com.