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Lot 92: MAD Magazine Publisher Bill Gaines Archive Answers Question: What does the 'E' stand for in Alfred E. Neuman?

Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts

by Lion Heart Autographs

26 October 2016

New York, NY, USA

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  • MAD Magazine Publisher Bill Gaines Archive Answers Question: What does the 'E' stand for in Alfred E. Neuman?
  • MAD Magazine Publisher Bill Gaines Archive Answers Question: What does the 'E' stand for in Alfred E. Neuman?
  • MAD Magazine Publisher Bill Gaines Archive Answers Question: What does the 'E' stand for in Alfred E. Neuman?
  • MAD Magazine Publisher Bill Gaines Archive Answers Question: What does the 'E' stand for in Alfred E. Neuman?
  • MAD Magazine Publisher Bill Gaines Archive Answers Question: What does the 'E' stand for in Alfred E. Neuman?
  • MAD Magazine Publisher Bill Gaines Archive Answers Question: What does the 'E' stand for in Alfred E. Neuman?
  • MAD Magazine Publisher Bill Gaines Archive Answers Question: What does the 'E' stand for in Alfred E. Neuman?
  • MAD Magazine Publisher Bill Gaines Archive Answers Question: What does the 'E' stand for in Alfred E. Neuman?
  • MAD Magazine Publisher Bill Gaines Archive Answers Question: What does the 'E' stand for in Alfred E. Neuman?
  • MAD Magazine Publisher Bill Gaines Archive Answers Question: What does the 'E' stand for in Alfred E. Neuman?
  • MAD Magazine Publisher Bill Gaines Archive Answers Question: What does the 'E' stand for in Alfred E. Neuman?
  • MAD Magazine Publisher Bill Gaines Archive Answers Question: What does the 'E' stand for in Alfred E. Neuman?
  • MAD Magazine Publisher Bill Gaines Archive Answers Question: What does the 'E' stand for in Alfred E. Neuman?
  • MAD Magazine Publisher Bill Gaines Archive Answers Question: What does the 'E' stand for in Alfred E. Neuman?
  • MAD Magazine Publisher Bill Gaines Archive Answers Question: What does the 'E' stand for in Alfred E. Neuman?
  • MAD Magazine Publisher Bill Gaines Archive Answers Question: What does the 'E' stand for in Alfred E. Neuman?
  • MAD Magazine Publisher Bill Gaines Archive Answers Question: What does the 'E' stand for in Alfred E. Neuman?
   
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Description: Question: “What does the “E” stand for in Alfred E. Neuman?” Answer: “Enough!” ********** GAINES, WILLIAM MAXWELL “BILL.” (1922-1992). Influential American publisher of EC Comics and the popular Mad magazine. Archive of 11 letters from Gaines. (“Bill”). To a young fan, Fred L. Holtz. Accompanied by an additional TLS from Mad associate editor JERRY DEFUCCIO (1925-2001; “Jerry DeFuccio”). ********** TLS. (“Bill”). 1p. 4to. New York, April 21, 1975. On red and black Mad letterhead illustrated with two images of Alfred E. Neuman. Signed in purple ink. With an irregular left edge. Folded with normal wear and in very good condition. ********** “Dear Fred, Enclosed find some autographs and a sheet of Mad stationary. Best Wishes, Bill” ********** ALS. (“Bill”). 1p. 12mo. New York, May 5, 1975. Written in red ink on a small piece of notepaper with an irregular left edge and Mad’s Madison Avenue address and the date stamped in purple ink at the top. Normal wear and in very good condition. ********** “Dear Fred, Loved it! OK, Here’s a picture of D[on] M[artin]: Best, Bill” ********** ALS. (“Bill Gaines”). 1p. 12mo. New York, May 29, 1975. Written in red ink on a small piece of notepaper with an irregular left edge and Mad’s Madison Avenue address and the date stamped in purple ink at the top. Normal wear and in very good condition. ********** “Dear Fred, Thank you very much for all your articles & pictures. Very kind of you! I’m sorry we’re out of stock on all old books & back issues. BUT I’m sending you a used “Ridiculously Expensive Mad” - very rare! It’ll take a week or so to get there! Best, Bill Gaines” ********** ALS. (“Bill Gaines”). 1p. 12mo. New York, June 20, 1975. Written in red ink on a small piece of notepaper with an irregular left edge and Mad’s Madison Avenue address and the date stamped in purple ink at the top. Normal wear and in very good condition. ********** “Dear Fred, Many thanks for key chains! Sure I read Plop! My good friend Joe Orlando edits Plop at National! But R[idiculously] E[xpensive] Mad was one of mine! I don’t remember if Don Martin did an article for witzend! Best, Bill Gaines” ********** ALS. (“Bill Gaines”). 1p. 12mo. New York, August 22, 1975. Written in red ink on a small piece of notepaper with an irregular left edge and Mad’s Madison Avenue address and the date stamped in purple ink at the top. Normal wear and in very good condition. ********** “Dear Fred, Do you have a copy of the ad? No - they did not ask permission! You may visit again - call for appointment. Best, Bill Gaines” ********** ALS. (“Bill Gaines”). 1p. 12mo. New York, October 28, 1975. Written in red ink on a small piece of notepaper with an irregular left edge and Mad’s Madison Avenue address and the date stamped in purple ink at the top. Creased with some dampstaining, pin holes and wear. In good condition. ********** “Dear Fred, Thank you for the picture! Don Martin won’t be here until next summer: Lives in Miami, Fla. I love Monty Python! M=Maxwell - Eccckk! Best, Bill Gaines” ********** ANS. (“Bill Gaines”). 2pp. 12mo. [New York], March 30, 1976. Written on a small square sheet of note paper. Gaines has penned his responses directly on Holtz’s letter in red ink (transcribed below in bold). Folded with one piece of cello tape. In very good condition. Accompanied by the original envelope with the recipient’s address in Gaines’ holograph: ********** “I thought you might be interested in this K.K. article! Sincerely, Fred Holtz Thank you! Best, Bill Gaines P.S. Your letting some pretty bad letters get into you magazine (Namely mine) P.S. Who decides which letters get in? Jerry De Fuccio” ********** ANS. (“Bill Gaines”). 2pp. 4to. N.p., N.d. Written on lined notebook paper and in very good condition. Gaines has penned his responses directly on Holtz’s letter in red ink (transcribed below in bold): ********** “Dear Bill Gaines, Im not even going to tell you who this is. Thanks again for answering my letter! Only one question this time. 1) My mother bought me a game at a garage sale. It's called “Screwball - a Mad Mad game” Alfred E. Neuman is on the cover and I think kurtz [drawing of a stick figure] did the art. Do you know about this game? We sued and they stopped. I now only need about 16 Mads to complete my collection. P.S. My friend Mike “Slob” Botwin wants to know what kind of car you have. How did you arrange to get your Mad Zeppelin into Plop #10 They stole it! Very sincerely, grateful, truly, yours Fred [At the bottom of the letter is an acrostic incorporating the words, Mad, Bill Gaines, Alfred E. Neuman, A.E.N., Don Martin, Sergio Aragones, Dave Berg, Antonio Prohias, and Joe Orlando.] Thank you for the beautiful designs Bill Gaines” ********** ANS. (“Bill Gaines”). 1p. 4to. N.p., N.d. Folded and creased. In good condition. Gaines has penned his responses directly on Holtz’s letter in red ink (transcribed below in bold): ********** “Dear Bill Gaines, It’s me again! 1) Did you go to the comic convention at the Commodore Hotel? I bought some Mad back issues there. Yes—briefly on July 4th 2.) I also bought some Panics and Humbugs and I found that there [sic] all just as bad as Mad. Better MAD than GLAD. That’s all, Fred L. Holtz Thanks for the poem, Bill Gaines” ********** ANS. (“Bill Gaines”). 1p. 4to. N.p., N.d. [1977] Written on lined notebook paper. Folded and in very good condition. Gaines has penned his responses directly on Holtz’s letter in purple ink (transcribed below in bold): ********** “Dear Bill, In a recent article about television, I read that CHEVY CHASE had previous experience with Mad. Not to my recollection! Could you please tell me what he did and when? How do you think the new “King Kong” compares with the original? Haven’t seen it yet! P.S. The new calendar is much more interesting and unique than the 1976 calendar. Glad to hear it! HAPPY NEW YEAR! And a very [he has circled Holtz’s “Happy New Year”] to you! Best, Bill Gaines” ********** ANS. (“Bill”). 3pp. 4to. N.p., N.d. Written on lined notebook paper. Folded and in very good condition. Gaines has penned his responses directly on Holtz’s letter in red ink (transcribed below in bold]): ********** “Dear Bill Gaines, This is Fred again! First of all THANKS! (for the R[idiculously] E[xpensive] M[ad]). Me and my friend Mike compiled this list of mad questions, We realize you can’t answer all of them, but we’ll be satisfied if just one is answered. Please also find the horrendous! article. Here are the questions. 1. Where are Mad magazines actually printed? Brooklyn 2. What is your home address? I’ll never tell! 3. Where can I get a Mad record album? All gone! 4. Will the Mad show ever be redone or made into a movie? I doubt it 5. Did you appear on the Mad show. No – it was animated 6. May I have a personal original drawing by Al Jaffee and/or Don Martin and/or S. Aragones and/or you? No! 7. How do you arrange what bonus goes in which Super Special? We just decide! 8. How do you put up with me? It isn’t easy. 9. What does the "E" stand for in Alfred E. Neuman? Enough! 10. What is on the cover of Mad #111 (since it is one of the only ones I dont have) 11. What do you do with all the Mad misprints? Burn them 12. What are the middle initials of the Mad people (m.) X. 13. What do you think of your competitors? Ecch! 28. Can I have a checklist of all the Mad books (paper and hardcover?) NO 29. Does Don Martin have an office? No. Best Bill Thats all. Thank you. Very sincerely, yours truly Fred Lee Holtz With honorable mention to: Michael Alan Botwin (the slob)” ********** Accompanied by a TLS from Mad associate editor JERRY DEFUCCIO. (“Jerry DeFuccio”). 1p. Oblong 4to. New York, Aug 10, 1977. Typed on the blank right side of an illustrated flyer for Clods’ Letters to Mad, which he edited and which was illustrated by Al Jaffe. Signed in black felt-tip ink. Folded and near fine. ********** “Fred, What’s the word after ‘already’...? George Lucas has helped us with lots of material from STAR WARS and British artist Harry North has just finished the seven pages. Plus a striking cover by Jack Rickard! MAD-ly, Jerry DeFuccio” ********** After inheriting EC Comics from his father, the initials of which stood for “Educational Comics,” Gaines changed the meaning to “Entertaining Comics” and the editorial mission followed suit. Gaines’ revamped EC Comics published such popular series as Tales from the Crypt, Shock SuspenStories, Weird Science, and Two-Fisted Tales, whose sensational nature became the subject of a Senate Subcommittee investigation in 1954. The resulting negative publicity led to the demise of EC’s comics but, luckily, in 1952, Gaines had suggested that Harvey Kurtzman (1924-1993), who began his career at EC Comics writing Two-Fisted Tales and Frontline Combat, create a satire comic, the result of which was Mad. Kurtzman edited the wildly popular comic and, later, magazine until 1956, when Gaines refused his demand for financial control of Mad. It was Kurtzman who adopted as the magazine’s mascot the “Me Worry” kid, who had begun appearing in popular culture around the turn of the century, and was later named Alfred E. Neuman by Mad. Kurtzman went on to write the Little Annie Fannie comic for Playboy for several decades. Mad’s success was such that numerous imitators sprang up, including Panic, itself published by EC and mentioned in our correspondence. ********** Our letters mention other major Mad cartoonists as: ********** Don Martin (1931-2000) who, between 1956 and 1988, was billed as “Mad’s Maddest Artist.” Martin’s unique cartoons were one of the hallmarks of Mad and bore the heading “Don Martin Dept.” which probably inspired our young fan to inquire if Martin had an office at Mad. After falling out with Gaines over royalties from omnibus reprints of his work, Martin joined Cracked, one of Mad’s rivals. ********** Sergio Aragones (b.1937) was a refugee from the Spanish Civil War who grew up in Mexico. Upon immigrating to the U.S., he brought his work to the Mad offices, and his first contribution appeared in 1963. His drawings were published in a remarkable 424 issues of Mad, many under the heading “A Mad Look At...” Aragones, who was known for the speed of his output, also contributed marginal art throughout his tenure. Extremely prolific, he co-created Groo the Wanderer and drew numerous comics for DC Comics (officially known as National Periodic Publications between 1961 and 1977 when the name changed to DC) including Plop! ********** Dave Berg (1920-2002) worked with Stan Lee, Will Eisner and other comic publishers before beginning at Mad in 1956, where he became known for his popular comic “The Lighter Side.” His tenure at Mad lasted for 46 years. ********** In 1960, after Fidel Castro accused him of working for the CIA, Antonio Prohias (1921-1998) fled to the U.S. and, despite his inability to speak English, brought his Spy vs. Spy cartoons to Mad, for which he became famous. ********** In addition to his work for EC Comics beginning in 1951, Italian immigrant Joe Orlando (1927-1998) was a book illustrator and drew covers for such magazines as Newsweek. From 1960-1969, he contributed to Mad. He eventually joined the staff of DC, where, among other things, he edited Plop!, which beginning in 1973 dubbed itself “The New Magazine of Weird Humor!,” and became one of the company’s vice presidents. Following Gaines’ death in 1992, Mad became part of DC and Orlando its associate publisher. He continued to work at Mad even after his retirement. ********** Between 1964 and 2013 Al Jaffee’s (b.1921) cartoons appeared in every issue but one of Mad. He is the originator of the magazine’s trademark Mad Fold-In. After a career drawing for comics and newspapers throughout the 1940s and 1950s as well as a stint as an artist in the Army during World War II, Jaffee first joined Mad in 1955 and is still a contributor. ********** Among the topics on which pen pals Gaines and Holtz corresponded were Mad’s many imitators; the 1976 remake of King Kong; actor and comedian Chevy Chase (b.1943) who wrote a spoof of Mission: Impossible for Mad in 1970 but whose acting career actually began with The National Lampoon Radio Hour; wildly influential British comedy troupe Monty Python whose sketch show Monty Python’s Flying Circus was first broadcast in 1969; Mad’s bi-monthly companion humor comic Panic; Kurtzman’s satire magazine Humbug which was published in 11 issues between 1957 and 1958; and witzend, an underground comic anthology first published in 1966. ********** An eccentric businessman, Gaines had a reputation for his miserly ways, including the exclusive use of freelance talent and repackaging previously published content, as in the Super Specials mentioned in our correspondence. The latter had the effect of creating collectors such as Holtz while enhancing the company’s bottom line. ********** Also included is a small poster of Alfred E. Neuman captioned “What -- me worry? (I read MAD !)” Stamped “Confidential” in the upper right corner. ********** Special thanks to comic expert Rich Koller for his research assistance.

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