As a kid, I was introduced to Mad Magazine by my older brothers. It was outrageous and funny in a way you knew your parents would not approve, which made it somehow even more enjoyable. From time to time, MAD would re-cycle old material, by including a reprint of one of their earlier issues from the 50’s, and it is from those reissues that I was introduced to the work of one of Mad’s original artists, Will Elder.
It was in the second issue of MAD that Elder’s comic ‘MOLE!’, in which criminal Melvin Mole has a talent for digging with whatever he has at hand (a spoon, a toothpick, a nosehair), and when arrested and re-arrested after digging his way out of jail, he is tossed into his cell with the line, “In-side Mole!”.
Mole was just one of Elder’s many creations. He also created a hilarious parody of the Archie comics with this take titled ‘Starchie’, and his comic ‘Shermlock Holmes’ pariodied, well, you figure it out. It was not until reading his obituary in the Washington Post yesterday that I was aware that Elder was also the creator of ‘Little Annie Fanny‘, a comic found in Playboy magazine that I never ever saw before, ever (because I was reading the articles of course).
From the same obit, comes this tidbit of Mr. Elder’s sense of humor:
Among the pranks that earned the young Mr. Elder renown: putting clothes on cattle carcasses from a meat-processing factory, placing them at railroad crossings and screaming to horrified passersby that his friend “Moshe” had been killed.
Wow. R.I.P. Will Elder, and thanks for the laughs.
Will Elder, 86; Zany Cartoonist for Mad and Playboy
The Washington Post, 5/17/08