RIP Mad Magazine's Mort Drucker: The Funniest Cartoons of His Career

Mad Magazine cartoonist Mort Drucker died in his Woodbury, New York home on Wednesday at 91.

Drucker began his career in comics in 1947 at age 18, assisting Bert Whitman on his Debbie Dean series before joining the staff at DC (then National Periodical Publications) until the early 1950's. After a few years of freelancing, Drucker joined Mad Magazine in 1956, becoming the longest working cartoonist for Mad at 55 years.

Drucker became known for his film and television parodies, with many stars considering it a rite-of-passage to be caricatured by Drucker. "I think I've drawn almost everyone in Hollywood," Drucker told The New York Times. During a 1988 appearance on The Tonight Show, actor Michael J. Fox said that Drucker's caricature of him was the moment he knew that he'd made it.

Michael J. Fox told Johnny Carson that he knew he made it when “Mort Drucker drew my head.” pic.twitter.com/Ch8kF4jU7d

— Ian Brill (@ibrill) July 4, 2019

Among Drucker's most famous parodies include his Star Wars spoofs, and creator George Lucas took note, praising Drucker and Mad for their work. "Special Oscars should be awarded to Drucker and DeBartolo, the George Bernard Shaw and Leonardo da Vinci of comic satire. Their sequel to my sequel was sheer galactic madness," Lucas wrote in a letter after Drucker and Dick DeBartolo satirized The Empire Strikes Back.

Drucker had also drawn the poster for Lucas' 1973 film American Graffiti.

RIP to the legend Mort Drucker. in his honor I will now perform the entire Mad "Star Wars Musical" pic.twitter.com/UZYL16ScMq

— rob sheffield (@robsheff) April 9, 2020
american graffiti
American cartoonist Mort Drucker's poster for 'American Graffiti', directed by George Lucas, 1973. Silver Screen Collection/Getty

Drucker's exaggerated and larger-than-life style was all too fitting to spoof the already massive wrestling icons like Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold Steve Austin, which he did for a number of Mad covers. This also worked well for his depiction of Terminator actor (and later governor) Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Damn RIP Mort Drucker pic.twitter.com/eKYJNP3jzK

— virtualpros (@VRTLPROS) April 9, 2020

We lost another legend, friends. Mort Drucker was the master of the MAD caricature, as you can see here with his legendary @Schwarzenegger piece. pic.twitter.com/uMrZysP4z3

— Comic Book Couples Counseling (@CBCCPodcast) April 9, 2020

Other hilarious parodies by Drucker included his take on Batman ("Bats-Man") and grotesquely life-like portraits Popeye and Olive Oyl for the cover of Mad. Drucker had also drawn iconic horror movie monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein's monster and the Wolfman.

I just heard that longtime @MADmagazine artist Mort Drucker passed away yesterday at 91. Mort was such a huge part of my childhood, I just adored his work.

Once tried to get him to do some IDW covers but he'd already retired from doing that kind of work. pic.twitter.com/rGd0ifm8pb

— Chris Ryall (@chris_ryall) April 9, 2020

More sad news... MORT DRUCKER, a giant and legend of comics has passed away. His contributions to the cartooning and comics world were the work of a true genius. We'll miss him but his legacy lives on! pic.twitter.com/9PZANWpHaS

— Francesco Francavilla (@f_francavilla) April 9, 2020

Drucker's style is instantly recognizable like when he drew Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Lyndon B. Johnson on the balloons in the following cover. Other noteworthy caricatures of historical icons include Edgar Allen Poe and Albert Einstein alongside actors like Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando.

mort drucker
MAD Magazine 1968. Artist Mort Drucker died on Wednesday. Getty

He was a legend, a genius, his art alone could make you laugh without any dialogue. R.I.P. Mort Drucker @DallanB @realmarkrez @BiLLYd_licious @AaronMeyers @ayars_d @MADmagazine pic.twitter.com/VOzXgyb9EV

— GW1972 (@ward_camden) April 9, 2020

Comic artists and satirists mourned Drucker's death on Twitter. "Fred and Can" creator Scott Johnson wrote that he was sad he never got the chance to meet the artist. "Have all kinds of feels about the passing of Mort Drucker, easily my #1 inspiration as an artist. I wish I had had a chance to meet him," he tweeted.

"Grew up with Mort Drucker. Mad Magazine satires were my master class, starting in 5th grade. Rest in peace," tweeted author Christopher Moore.