Journalista: The Comics Journal Weblog is reporting that Will Elder, the famed illustrator and one of the founders of Mad Magazine, has died at 86. (This comes via boing boing.) Elder was considered a major influence on artists like Robert Crumb and Daniel Clowes.
Gary Groth, an editor at Fantagraphics, which published several Elder books (including Will Elder: The Mad Playboy of Art and Chicken Fat) told the Media Mob, "He was such a fabulous talent in the sense that he could do almost anything." Recalling his penchant for pranks, Mr. Groth called Mr. Elder "instrumental in making Mad."
In David Hajdu’s recent book The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America, the author described Elder as follows:
"He really was one of the sweetest, most generous guys I’ve met in this profession," said Groth, who is currently compiling a complete reprinting of Humbug, a post-Mad project by Elder, Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Davis, and Al Jaffee for a new Fantagraphics book.
"He really was wonderfully helpful and incredibly sweet. Which is probably why he didn’t become an enormous success in this business. He was too nice a guy."