Sunday, March 18, 2007


Anyone who's a fan of good TV knows that sound accompanies the logo for Joss Whedon's company Mutant Enemy at the conclusion of the credits of every one of his programs.

Apparently, the logo was drawn and voiced by Whedon himself. And according to Wikipedia, the name "Mutant Enemy" is taken from the song "And You And I" by the band Yes, of whom Whedon is a confessed fan.

But it's the 'Grrr Argghhh..." that has always stuck in my brain...much like the innumerable 'sounds' Don Martin wrote for Mad Magazine over the years.


When I was a boy, I loved MAD Magazine. I loved it for the parodies of movies and TV shows. I loved it for Spy vs. Spy. I loved it for the 'fold 'em's' on the inside of the back cover. And I loved it for Don Martin.

I thought Martin’s illustrations were hilarious. I loved the big funny heads, the lolling tongues, the limp wrists, and, especially, the spittle flying everywhere.

But most of all, Don Martin was the master of the written sound. There's even been a dictionary created listing all the sounds he concocted...

When we write, we have to try to convey what we mean with words. This can be difficult, especially when we need to be effective yet efficient. But why use five words to evoke images, meaning, feelings, and emotions, when one word might do. And sounds and sound effects can sometimes do that better than any description. Even when we blog, there is some kind of hybrid between prose and conversation that can elicit a more effective response....SPLAAAT can pack a far greater punch than 'he falls down'.

I used to buy back issues of MAD at the local used book store. And before long I was seeking out the Martin-only books. Now comes word that The Completely MAD Don Martin will be published this October.

Running Press Book Publishers, an imprint of the Perseus Books Group, has joined MAD Magazine in announcing the October 2007 publication of The Completely MAD Don Martin, the first title in Running Press’s MAD’s Greatest Artists series.

Weighing in at seventeen pounds with more than 1,000 pages and a foreword by Gary Larson, this tribute to one of MAD Magazine’s most recognized and best-loved artists will be beautifully formatted as a deluxe two-volume slip-cased special edition and will include every single work Martin created for the magazine over the course of his 30-year affiliation.

John Ficarra, Editor of MAD Magazine, states “This is a wonderful book celebrating the art of one of the greatest cartoonists of the twentieth century. Don Martin’s work is a cultural touchstone for generations of MAD Magazine readers. Old-time fans will rediscover his genius; new readers will pick up this hefty tome and be instantly hooked.”

Thanks to Martin, we now know what things might sound like that could/should never enter into our life experience (I hope). For instance, when a sword is pulled out of someone's arm (BLIOMP), or a man's head being crushed by a woman with a large bottom (BPLFLT!), and a cannibal shuffling shrunken heads (SHWIK SHWIKA SHK SHHHSK SHASHWIK SHWIKA SHWIK SHASH SHAK).

Don Martin died in 2000 of cancer at the age of 68. The world misses him and his wackiness. Check out this online gallery for many examples of his genius. And call me MAD, but I wouldn't be surprised if Whedon hasn't visited there a few times himself for inspiration.

And I'm wrong and he hasn't...DOH!

SONG&ARTIST? - "I’ll be the round about
The words will make you out ’n’ out
You change the day your way
Call it morning driving thru the sound and in and out the valley..."


DMc said...


daddy want.

Riddley Walker said...

Hehehe, also a big fan of Martin-isms. Not sure if they originated with him, but FATOOMSH and BLADOOSH get rolled out around here every once in a while to add a little more than BOOM or KABAMM to an occurrence.

I also have a vague recollectoin of being told that Chris Squire’s bassline for Roundabout was ripped off by The Miracles for Love Machine, but I think (having just listened to them both) that it’s a muso myth.

Bill Cunningham said...

Don Martin's THE ADVENTURES OF KAPTAIN KLUTZ made me throw up because I was laughing so hard.

Mom came into the bedroom, saw the flashlight under the covers and me heaving all over the place...

"She Who Must be Obeyed" was not all.

Klutz was on a forced hiatus from the Cunningham household for the summer.

Bill Cunningham said...

Oh, by the way I was eight at the time.

Taken out of context, the previous comment was extremely damaging to this poor bastard's rep...

wcdixon said...

Bill...I liked it better picturing it happening to you last month