Friday, May 16, 2008

Will Elder (1921-2008)

I just received word from my friend Pappy of Golden Age Comics that Will Elder died yesterday. He was 86 years old.

I have been keeping up with his antics in the comics and magazines since I was a preteen. He was one of the four original artists of MAD comic book and the co-creator of Annie Fannie in PLAYBOY.

In fact, the very name of this blog, "Chicken Fat" was inspired by Elder making the greasy globby stuff funny.

When I was about in the 7th grade I wrote him a fan letter c/o MAD and he sent me back an excellent cartoon of a man plucking the legs and wings off an insect saying, “She loves me, she loves me not….” I framed it and hung it on my bedroom wall. When I returned from the Navy it was no longer there… I never figured out what happened to it.

However, less than ten years ago, I sent him another fan letter and explained that the first one got misplaced and he sent me another hand drawn cartoon, this time of Annie Fanny, and a personal note saying how he regretted that some of his fellow cartoonists became a negative force later in life. I can only speculate who he was referring to.

At a future date I will have to do something on the art and antics of Will Elder, you can’t beat him.

I seemed so in-tuned to his wit and humor it is like losing an old friend I never met.

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