An Elvis Stamp and Mad Connection

Freelance artist, Mark Stutzman, did the Elvis stamp in 1992.
He illustrated #382 and #385 in 1999 and more as time went on.

Mad #382 Mad #385

But before those covers, Mark was responsible for one of the most popular images in Mad history. It came from the special color section of issue #374 as the #1 dumbest thing of 1998. It seems people couldn't resist spreading scans of the image around the world at the height of the Clinton/Lewinski affair. Mark wrote to me as a fan of this site and was kind enough to offer the following account of his first dealings with Mad at the time of the "Starr Wars" image:

Starr Wars Just the day before the Starr Wars assignment came in I was ranting and raving about how the media had made the Clinton scandal into a huge political battle that had totally consumed the news. I hadn't followed the story out of disgust of the media's brash handling of the whole issue. The following day after my verbal cleansing, the phone rings, and it's MAD Magazine. WOW! As a kid I was a tremendous fan. I couldnąt wait for the next issue to come out. Then I would sit down and read it in a day, copy a few of my favorite drawings and wait for the next issue. I couldn't believe I was getting such an opportunity to work with the MADcap crew. The editor, trying to keep a straight face, explained the concept to me and I immediately said "Yes" to the job. So much for my scruples! I was putty in his hands. It was a blast to work on since I remember oh to well the original Star Wars poster I was now satirizing. I think developing the Monica character was the most fun of all. I wanted her to look voluptuous and terribly pleased with herself. Most importantly her scant chiffon had to subtly reveal the infamous thong. When I finished the painting I sent it FedEx and waited for their response. No one was calling, so I was getting increasingly nervous as to whether I had met their expectations or not. All I could picture was the whole group standing around the artwork shaking their heads in disappointment. Finally it was getting to be lunch time and I couldn't wait any longer. Laura and I stepped out for an hour. Upon my return, in true MAD tradition, I had a message on my voice mail. "Hi Mark. This is Nick. This is the worst piece of crap we've ever commissioned and you'll never work in this town again." My heart was pounding and I was temporarily shattered as he finished by saying, "Now here's John to tell you what we really think!." I fell for it hook line and sinker. Fortunately what they really thought was that it was more than they had expected. So I guess I may work in "this town" again after all.
Thank God!
--Mark Stutzman