Monday, April 20, 2020

Dave Berg, "Biting Criticism", Mad Magazine, "Dave Berg Looks at Things"

"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. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). This specific page saw print in “Dave Berg Looks at Things”, a paperback published by EC Comics in 1967. The image area is 12 x 20”, on a sheet of 14.5 x 24.5” sheet of 3 ply Strathmore.

I won this page at the Heritage Auction Weekly on line auction on July 10, 2016. The virtual hammer price was $110.00, the “Buyer’s Premium” (i.e. commission) was $21.45, postage handling and fees $15.25 and sales tax $13.20, resulting in a grand total of #159.90.

I bought the page out of a sense of nostalgia- I may have even read that paperback as a child, when my favorite comics were MAD and ARCHIE. In the present day, I rather like Berg’s realistic style of caricature. His subjects are specific, idiosyncratic and precise, simultaneously realistic and broad. 

Side note #1: Recently, through Heritage Auctions, I’ve become aware of the work of W. E. Hill. Quoting The Library of Congress>>Researchers, “TOPICS IN CHRONICLING AMERICA: W.E. HILL: MAKING THE WORLD SAFE FROM HYPOCRISY.
“Although cartoonist W.E. Hill ha now been largely forgotten, he was hailed as the artistic genius of his time… Every Sunday for years (1917-1962(?)), Americans eagerly awaited “Amon Us Mortals”. a full page pf satirical illustrations devoted to the everyday citizen. The drawings were so believable that readers swore every sketch was modeled after someone they personally knew.” It would be interesting to learn whether or not Berg was aware of and influenced by W. E. Hill.

Side note #2: While researching this blog, I saw, for the first time, photographs of Dave Berg. These reminded me that Mad Magazine was part of my sexual upbringing. Part of the reason I aspired to be a cartoonist was so that I could “get with” the cartoonists of my parent’s generation. I’ve always been sexually attracted to men in their 40’s to 60’s, around the age of my father when I hit puberty. Dave Berg’s  fits firmly within that category. Even stranger. 

Interesting Irony #1: Mr. Berg resembles my first lover/spouse, Dennis, who was 46 when I met him at age 21.

Interesting Irony #2: AT age 60, the “older man” is now usually my age or younger.

Interesting Irony #3: Berg’s satiric depictions are frequently “my type of guy”. 

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