One of Mad Magazine’s leading illustrators has died. George Woodbridge–whose detailed drawings helped introduce million of teens to satire beginning in the mid-1950s–was 73.
Woodbridge was known for using his signature delicate cross-hatched, pen-and-ink style of drawing to hit a wide range of targets–the advertising world, wicked suburban caricatures and detailed historical evocations.
“He had a tremendous eye for detail that showed up in his drawings," Mad editor John Ficarra said in a New York Times obit this morning. “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 was born in Flushing, Queens, in 1930, and attended the School of Visual Arts, where he met the group of young artists who would go on to found Mad Magazine. He sold his first piece to Mad, an illustration of lyrics by Tom Lehrer, in 1957.
Among the works of Woodbridge longtime fans remember the most was the 1965 sports satire Man Squamish, written by Tom Koch. It featured a nonsensical field game played with shepherds’ crooks, diving flippers, polo helmets and impossibly complicated rules.
“It’s arguably our most requested piece to reprint,” Ficarra said. “It struck a chord. Colleges all over [the country] formed teams and played this crazy game, with these ridiculous-looking helmets. George captured that lunacy.”
Woodbridge is survived by his wife Deborah and three sons from his first marriage, George, Curtis and Chris.