Sunday, March 24, 2019

Favorite MAD Artist Countdown #7 - Dave Berg!

While we wait for the end of the "Favorite Artist Countdown" to return next month, I'm taking the chance to look at one of my absolute favorite magazines -- MAD. MAD was a regular dose of satire in a world which was often not all that keen on looking askance at itself. The "Usual Gang of Idiots" held up a mirror to society and we all had to lean back and say that maybe, just maybe life deserved more smiles and fewer grimaces.

Leading off my list of MAD favorite artists is Dave Berg. Berg delivered his "The Lighter Side of..." sections with rock solid regularity. It wasn't the first thing I too a look at in a new issue of MAD but it was in the top five features which got my attention. Berg's looks offered a keen understanding of the middle-class suburban lifestyle which had blossomed after WWII, and he made fun of all generations. Berg did have that oddly charming incapacity of some older artists to draw convincing hippies, but that didn't stop him trying. Berg seemed always to want to keep it current and so looking at old strips is almost like exploring a catalog of the distinctive fashions which came and went in American pop culture. Berg came up in comics drawing all sorts of things, often for Atlas. But I've never seen any of that, I know him only from those monthly carefully crafted doses of worldly insight.

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  1. As a kid I preferred the wackier artists like Don Martin, but I now find that a lot of Berg's gags have stayed with me over the years.

    1. And that explains MAD's long running success I think, the audience was always larger than just kids. Berg spoke to an older crowd and as we age his stuff gleams more brightly in our memories.

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