comic art by Don Martin

Don Martin was an American cartoonist and one of the most prominent and productive artists of Mad Magazine. He was born in Paterson, New Jersey, and attended the Newark Art School and the Philadelphia Academy of Arts. He settled in New York and began his career doing illustrations for jazz records, postcards and the science-fiction magazines Fantasy and Galaxy. He joined Harvey Kurtzman's Mad magazine in 1956 and his work was published in the magazine until 1988. Unlike other artists, Martin had his own section in Mad, called the 'Don Martin Dept.'.

Cartoon by Don Martin

He became one of the most important satirical comic makers of the United States, with characters like Fester Bestertester and Captain Klutz. He became legendary for his zany sound effects. American superheroes were a topic Martin especially liked to pick on. He left Mad in late 1987 after an argument with publisher Bill Gaines. He then worked with Cracked for six years, before launching his own shortlived title, Don Martin Magazine. He had a daily strip called 'The Nutheads' between 1989 and 1989, initially through Universal Press Syndicate, but later through self-syndication.

The Frog Prince by Don Martin
More Fairytales Scenes We'd Like To See (The Frog Prince)

Failing eyesight forced him to reduce his production, but Martin remained active well into the 1990s. Martin, who had lived in Miami for most of his life, died of cancer in Coconut Grove, Florida, in the year 2000. Many humorous comic artists mention Don Martin as an important influence. He is often called "Mad's Maddest Artist".


Original Don Martin watercolor dedicated to Lambiek

Last updated: 2015-01-14

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