William ‘Willie’ Elder, R.I.P.
William "Willie" Elder, one of the illustrators instrumental in launching MAD Magazine, passed away today at age 86, according to various reports.
Elder was one of several creators hired by MAD founder Harvey Kurtzman when the popular parody magazine first launched in 1952.
No details have been released regarding Elder’s cause of death. His funeral will be held Sunday in New Jersey.
From the official statement on behalf of DC, the current publisher of MAD Magazine:
“Willie Elder was one of the funniest artists to ever work for MAD. He created visual feasts with dozens of background gags layered into every MAD story he illustrated,” says John Ficarra, Editor of MAD Magazine, “He called these gags “chicken fat.” Willie’s “anything goes” art style set the tone for the entire magazine and created a look that endures to this day.”
“Willie’s passing saddens all of us here at MAD,” says Sam Viviano, MAD Magazine Art Director, “Everyone who has attempted to draw a funny picture over the course of the last fifty or sixty years owes an enormous debt to Willie, who taught us all how to do it — and no one has ever done it better than he did.”