Dave Berg (cartoonist)

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Dave Berg
Davebergself.jpg
Self-portrait
Born(1920-06-12)June 12, 1920 [1]
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
DiedMay 17, 2002(2002-05-17) (aged 81)
NationalityAmerican
Known for Cartoonist
Notable work
The Lighter Side of...
Spouse(s)Vivian (2 children)

Dave Berg (Brooklyn, June 12, 1920 – May 17, 2002) was an American cartoonist, most noted for his five decades of work in Mad of which The Lighter Side of... was the most famous.

Brooklyn Borough in New York City and county in New York state, United States

Brooklyn is the most populous borough of New York City, with an estimated 2,648,771 residents in 2017. Named after the Dutch village of Breukelen, it borders the borough of Queens at the western end of Long Island. Brooklyn has several bridge and tunnel connections to the borough of Manhattan across the East River, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connects it with Staten Island. Since 1896, Brooklyn has been coterminous with Kings County, the most populous county in the U.S. state of New York and the second-most densely populated county in the United States, after New York County.

Cartoonist visual artist who makes cartoons

A cartoonist is a visual artist who specializes in drawing cartoons. This work is often created for entertainment, political commentary, or advertising. Cartoonists may work in many formats, such as booklets, comic strips, comic books, editorial cartoons, graphic novels, manuals, gag cartoons, graphic design, illustrations, storyboards, posters, shirts, books, advertisements, greeting cards, magazines, newspapers, and video game packaging.

Mad is an American humor magazine founded in 1952 by editor Harvey Kurtzman and publisher William Gaines, launched as a comic book before it became a magazine. It was widely imitated and influential, affecting satirical media, as well as the cultural landscape of the 20th century, with editor Al Feldstein increasing readership to more than two million during its 1974 circulation peak. From 1952 until 2018, Mad published 550 regular issues, as well as hundreds of reprint "Specials", original-material paperbacks, reprint compilation books and other print projects. The magazine's numbering reverted to 1 with its June 2018 issue, coinciding with the magazine's headquarters move to the West Coast.

Contents

Early life

Berg showed early artistic talents, attending Pratt Institute when he was 12 years old, and later studying at Cooper Union. He served a period of time in the Army Air Corps. In 1940, he joined Will Eisner's studio, where he wrote and drew for the Quality Comics line. Berg's work also appeared in Dell Comics and Fawcett Publications, typically on humorous back-up features. Beginning in the mid-1940s, he worked for several years with Stan Lee on comic books at Timely Comics (now known as Marvel Comics), ranging from Combat Kelly and The Ringo Kid to Tessie the Typist. He also freelanced for a half-dozen other companies, including EC Comics. Berg retains notoriety as a contributing “good girl artist” during the 50s and 60s for such publications as editor Abe Goodman's Humorama, rendering attractive women using pinup stylings generally in the form of one panel humorous gags. Berg’s body of contributions during this period rank him alongside recognized contemporaries such as Bill Ward and Bill Wenzel. Beginning in 1983, he worked for a Jewish children's magazine, The Moshiach Times. [2] [3]

Pratt Institute private art college located in Brooklyn, New York, USA

Pratt Institute is a private university with its main campus in Brooklyn, New York. It has a satellite campus in Manhattan and an extension campus in Utica, New York. The school originated in 1887 with programs primarily in engineering, architecture, and fine arts. Comprising six schools, the Institute is primarily known for its highly ranked programs in architecture, interior design, and industrial design, and offers both undergraduate and master's degree programs in a variety of fields, with a strong focus on research.

Cooper Union college in New York City

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, commonly known as Cooper Union or The Cooper Union and informally referred to, especially during the 19th century, as 'the Cooper Institute', is a private college at Cooper Square on the border of the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. Inspired in 1830 when Peter Cooper learned about the government-supported École Polytechnique in France, Cooper Union was established in 1859. The school was built on a radical new model of American higher education based on founder Peter Cooper's fundamental belief that an education "equal to the best technology schools [then] established" should be accessible to those who qualify, independent of their race, religion, sex, wealth or social status, and should be "open and free to all".

United States Army Air Corps Air warfare branch of the US Army from 1926 to 1941

The United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) was the aerial warfare service of the United States of America between 1926 and 1941. After World War I, as early aviation became an increasingly important part of modern warfare, a philosophical rift developed between more traditional ground-based army personnel and those who felt that aircraft were being underutilized and that air operations were being stifled for political reasons unrelated to their effectiveness. The USAAC was renamed from the earlier United States Army Air Service on 2 July 1926, and was part of the larger United States Army. The Air Corps became the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) on 20 June 1941, giving it greater autonomy from the Army's middle-level command structure. During World War II, although not an administrative echelon, the Air Corps (AC) remained as one of the combat arms of the Army until 1947, when it was legally abolished by legislation establishing the Department of the Air Force.

Mad

Berg began at Mad in 1957. For four years, he provided satirical looks at areas such as boating, babysitting, and baseball. In 1961, he started the magazine's "Lighter Side" feature, his most famous creation. Berg would take an omnibus topic (such as "Noise," "Spectators" or "Dog Owners") and deliver approximately 15 short multi-panel cartoons on the subject. Beginning in #218 (October 1980), he covered multiple topics in each article. Berg often included caricatures of his own family—headed by his cranky hypochondriac alter ego, Roger Kaputnik—as well as of the Mad editorial staff. Occasionally he drew fellow artists, including Don Martin in #110 (April 1967) and Al Jaffee in #119 (June 1968). [4] [5]

"The Lighter Side of..." is an American satirical comic strip series written and drawn by Dave Berg and published in Mad Magazine from 1961 to 2002.

Don Martin (cartoonist) cartoonist

Don Martin was an American cartoonist whose best-known work was published in Mad from 1956 to 1988. His popularity and prominence were such that the magazine promoted Martin as "Mad's Maddest Artist."

Al Jaffee American cartoonist

Allan "Al" Jaffee is an American cartoonist. He is notable for his work in the satirical magazine Mad, including his trademark feature, the Mad Fold-in. As of 2019, Jaffee has been a regular contributor to the magazine for 64 years and is its longest-running contributor. In the half-century between April 1964 and April 2013, only one issue of Mad was published without containing new material by Jaffee. In a 2010 interview, Jaffee said, "Serious people my age are dead."

His artistic style made Berg one of the more realistic Mad artists, although his characters managed to sport garish early-1970s wardrobes well into the 1990s. The art chores for a 1993 article, "The First Day of School 30 Years Ago and Today", were split between Berg and Rick Tulka, since Berg's old-fashioned appeal made him an ideal choice to depict the gentle nostalgia of 1963. The artist's lightweight gags and sometimes moralistic tone were roughly satirized by the National Lampoon's 1971 Mad parody, which included a hard-hatted conservative and a longhaired hippie finding their only common ground by choking and beating Berg. However, "The Lighter Side" had a long run as the magazine's most popular feature. Mad editor Nick Meglin often did layouts of "Lighter Side" panels. Sixteen original collections by Berg were published as paperbacks between 1964 and 1987. [2]

Rick Tulka is an illustrator and caricaturist whose work has appeared in Mad magazine since 1988. He has been living and working in Paris since the mid-1990s.

<i>National Lampoon</i> (magazine) magazine

National Lampoon was an American humor magazine which ran from 1970 to 1998. The magazine started out as a spinoff from the Harvard Lampoon. National Lampoon magazine reached its height of popularity and critical acclaim during the 1970s, when it had a far-reaching effect on American humor and comedy. The magazine spawned films, radio, live theatre, various sound recordings, and print products including books. Many members of the creative staff from the magazine subsequently went on to contribute creatively to successful media of all types.

Nick Meglin was an American writer, humorist, and artist. He was known for his work as a contributor, comics writer, illustrator and editor for the satirical magazine Mad. He also scripted Superfan, a 1970s comic strip by Jack Davis. He was active as a lyricist of musical theatre, and had columns in various specialized magazines about culture and sports.

Berg held an honorary doctorate in theology. He produced regular religious-themed work for Moshiach Times and the B'nai Brith newsletter. His interaction with Mad's atheist publisher Bill Gaines was suitably irreverent: Berg would tell Gaines, "God bless you," and Gaines would reply, "Go to Hell."

Fellow Mad contributor Al Jaffee described Berg's unique personality in 2009: "Dave had a messianic complex of some sort. He was battling ... he had good and evil inside of him, clashing all the time. It was sad, in a sense, because he wanted to be taken very seriously, and you know, the staffers at Mad just didn't take anything seriously. Most of all, ourselves ... It came out in a lot of the things he did. He had a very moralistic personality ... He wrote a book called My Friend God. And of course, if you write a book like that, you just know that the Mad staff is going to make fun of you. We would ask him questions like, "Dave, when did you and God become such good friends? Did you go to college together, or what?" [6]

In this faith connection, Berg was additionally hired to contribute content to The Magazine For Jewish Children, The Moshiach Times, by Rabbi Dr. Dovid Sholom Pape. According to Pape: "He was a wonderful writer and humorist, and he had a great Jewish heart. I asked him to prepare a series of cartoons that would, in a humorous way, illustrate basic ideas in Torah. To do this, he invented a fat character called Schlemiel who would always misunderstand things, and then there would be a couple of boys who would correct him." [7]

His characters occasionally made their way into other artists' works, such as Kaputnik finding himself a patient in a Mort Drucker spoof of St. Elsewhere , tagged "with apologies to Dave Berg". [8]

Berg contributed to Mad until his death, a total of 46 years. His last set of "Lighter Side" strips, which had been written but not penciled, were illustrated after Berg's death by 18 of Mad's other artists as a final tribute; this affectionate send-off included the magazine's final new contributions from Jack Davis and George Woodbridge. In recent years, Berg's Lighter Side strips have been rewritten for Mad with inappropriately "un-Berg-like" humor by longtime Mad writer Dick DeBartolo and others; this irregular feature is called "The Darker Side of the Lighter Side."

Berg's other work included the comic strips Citizen Senior (1989–93), Roger Kaputnik (1992) and Astronuts (1994).

Death

After a long battle with cancer, he died in his home in Marina del Rey, California, shortly after midnight on May 17, 2002. Berg was survived by his wife of 52 years, Vivian, and their two children. [2]

Berg paperbacks

YearTitleISBN
1964Mad's Dave Berg Looks at the U.S.A. 978-0-446-35422-6
1966Mad's Dave Berg Looks at People 978-0-446-86132-8
1967Mad's Dave Berg Looks at Things 978-0-446-94403-8
1969Mad's Dave Berg Looks at Modern Thinking 978-0-446-30434-4
1971Mad's Dave Berg Looks at Our Sick World 978-0-446-94404-5
1972Mad's Dave Berg: My Friend God 978-0-451-06976-4
1973Mad's Dave Berg Looks at Living 978-0-446-75697-6
1974Mad's Dave Berg: Roger Kaputnik and God 978-0-451-06106-5
1975Mad's Dave Berg Looks Around 978-0-446-30432-0
1977Dave Berg: Mad Trash 978-0-446-87938-5
1977Mad's Dave Berg Takes a Loving Look 978-0-446-88860-8
1979Mad's Dave Berg Looks, Listens and Laughs 978-0-446-88667-3
1982Mad's Dave Berg Looks at You 978-0-446-34792-1
1984Mad's Dave Berg Looks at the Neighborhood 978-0-446-30350-7
1986Mad's Dave Berg Looks at Our Planet 978-0-446-32310-9
1987Mad's Dave Berg Looks at Today 978-0-446-34423-4

A hardcover reprint collection of Berg's work, Mad's Greatest Artists: Dave Berg: Five Decades of the Lighter Side of... was published in 2013.

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References

  1. "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JTBK-FPG  : accessed February 21, 2013), David Berg, May 17, 2002; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
  2. 1 2 3 Whitcomb, Dan. "Mad Magazine Cartoonist Dave Berg, 81, Dies in L.A.", Reuters. May 24, 2002. Archived July 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  3. Evanier, Mark. News from ME, May 17, 2002 Archived March 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  4. http://www.mindsnackbooks.com/mad/mad_110.html
  5. https://www.madmagazine.com/blog/2013/09/03/the-lighter-side-ofhobbies
  6. Sacks, Mike, And Here's the Kicker, Writer's Digest Books, 2009, p. 223
  7. Pape, Dovid Shalom. "How Drawing Pictures Can Influence People". TheRebbe.org. Chabad.org. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
  8. Mad No. 281, September 1988.