Dave Berg (cartoonist)

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.

Dave Berg
Dave Berg (self-portrait)
Self-portrait
BornJune 12, 1920[1]
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
DiedMay 17, 2002 (aged 81)
NationalityAmerican
Known forCartoonist
Notable work
The Lighter Side of...
Spouse(s)Vivian (2 children)

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]

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]

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]

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 for 46 years until his death, appearing in 368 issues.[9] 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

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

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. ^ a b c 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.
  9. ^ http://users.pfw.edu/slaubau/mad/madcontributor.htm

External links

1920 in the United States

Events from the year 1920 in the United States.

2002 in the United States

Events from the year 2002 in the United States.

Berg (surname)

Berg is a surname of North European origin. In several Germanic languages (e.g. German, Dutch, Norwegian, and Swedish (Danish: Bjerg)), the word means "mount", "mountain" or "cliff".

Bomb Rack

Bomb Rack was a 9.5×13-inch-size free magazine-newspaper produced by the 20th Air Force for United States Army Air Forces airmen serving at AAF bases on Guam, Tinian, and Saipan in the months following World War II. Although serious articles occasionally appeared within, Bomb Rack's tone was often light-hearted and humorous with numerous photos and pin-ups, as well as a full page of locally drawn cartoons. Sports were covered extensively, as were topics important to airmen at the time such as education and returning to the United States as quickly as possible. The exact number of issues published is unknown, but copies were distributed at least between October 7, 1945, and January 21, 1946, and ran through number 16. Bomb Rack's length was eight pages, but sometimes also included a one-page bulletin containing official information. Unlike the Air Force's official histories from the time that focused on operations, manpower, and so forth, periodicals such as Bomb Rack provide a glimpse of everyday life in the Air Force.

Dave Berg

David Berg or Dave Berg may refer to:

Dave Berg (infielder) (born 1970), retired Major League Baseball infielder

Dave Berg (cartoonist) (1920–2002), American cartoonist

Dave Berg (songwriter), American country music songwriter

David Berg (1919–1994), founder of the Children of God (now Family International) cult

David Berg (pitcher) (born 1993), professional baseball pitcher

Dave Berg (producer), American producer of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

List of Jewish American cartoonists

This is an alphabetized list of notable Jewish American cartoonists. Jewish Americans took the lead role in creating the comics industry.

The Usual Gang Of Idiots: Contributors to Mad
Editors
Writers
Writer-Artists
Artists
Photographers
Infrequent contributors
Related
General
Editors
Lists
Related
Publications
People
See also

Languages

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.