Mad magazine artist Woodbridge dead

posted 2004-01-22 16:21:01 by dmcnelis

George Woodbridge, an illustrator for Mad magazine for nearly 50 years whose exquisitely detailed pen-and-ink drawings were featured in nearly every issue, has died. He was 73.

Woodbridge died of emphysema Tuesday, said his wife, Deborah Woodbridge.

"He had a tremendous eye for detail that showed up in his drawings," Mad Editor John Ficarra said Thursday. "We especially played to his history knowledge. When we gave him a piece on World War I, he would draw the exact gun and belt buckle they were using then."

Woodbridge�s delicate cross-hatched illustrations were the result of careful research, particularly in rendering historical scenes. In fact, Woodbridge had a second career as an illustrator of military history books, including the three-volume "American Military Equipage, 1851-1872."

A native of New York, Woodbridge began as a freelance artist for Mad in 1957, five years after the satirical magazine�s inception.

One of Woodbridge�s most memorable illustrations was for the 1965 sports satire "43-Man Squamish," about a nonsensical game in which the equipment included shepherd�s crooks and diving flippers.

"It�s arguably our most requested piece to reprint," Ficarra said. "It struck a chord. Colleges all over formed teams and played this crazy game, with these ridiculous-looking helmets. George captured that lunacy."

He was a stickler for detail, authenticating even the drape of clothing through the study of historical documents.