Don 'Duck' Edwing lands in Life [timeout] with Duckles Chuckles

Longtime Mad Magazine readers will know Donald "Duck" Edwing for his work on such feature cartoons as "Spy vs. Spy," Don Martin's full-page features and for his own "Tales from the Duckside."

Beginning Friday, Duckles Chuckles, a new cartoon panel created by Mr. Edwing exclusively for the Chattanooga Times Free Press' Life [timeout] section will begin appearing weekly. It will focus on life in the South.

The 76-year-old Mr. Edwing has worked for Mad since 1961 as a writer and cartoonist. His early strips also appeared in the New York Post, Playboy and Look.

Below is an edited question-and-answer session with Mr. Edwing, who recently moved into the region with his wife, Julie.

What brings you guys to this part of the country?

Mr. Edwing: She has a very close friend (in North Georgia) who she knew way back 30 years. You tell the story.

Ms. Edwing: My dearest friend moved to Blue Ridge and has a bed and breakfast and an alpaca farm, and I've always loved the country, and I wanted to raise chickens.

The little town of Blue Ridge is very exciting and artsy, and we are as happy as we can be.

I'm guessing with the Internet, you can work from anywhere?

Mr. Edwing: I just have to live near a mailbox. That's how I communicate with Mad. And, of course, e-mail.

How much work do you still do with mad?

Mr. Edwing: Well, I not only work for Mad, but one day a man came in from IGT (International Gaming Technology) -- that's a slot machine company -- and he came to Mad Magazine and said, 'Give me your funniest man because funny is money.' They said, 'You want Duck Edwing.'

I went to Reno, Nev. I never expected a General Motors conglomeration of buildings. The buildings stretched more than three miles down this one road. It was like going to the CIA. They frisked me. It was like going into the airport with their security.

They say, 'Let's do a slot machine. Let's do one with a circus.' I said, 'Let's do a circus where they kidnap the elephant.' We batted it back and forth, and out came a machine.

You were hired at Mad as a writer, right, not a cartoonist?

Duck tracksDon "Duck" Edwing has published numerous books including: "Mad's Creature Presentation," "Duck Edwing's Mad Bizarre Blast," "Mad Disasters" and "Mad Fantasy, Fables and Other Foolishness."Duck triviaFor years, Mr. Edwing has worked for International Gaming Technology, designing graphic art for slot machines. He holds patents on two designs, one involving a Bingo slot machine and another that uses a digital camera that puts the game player's picture on the spinning reels.

Mr. Edwing: Yeah.

Did you do both?

Mr Edwing: Yes. Even when I did a script, I would draw it like I would draw, then I'd hand it to somebody who would redraw it his own style.

I've been with Mad since 1961. They gave me two of the biggest features to write. I wrote for Don Martin. I did all of his writing. I did Spy vs. Spy. It originated from a guy (Antonio Prohias) from Cuba.

When I went into cartooning, I didn't know that cartoonists did not do their own material. They have writers. I didn't know that.

When I went into the Saturday Evening Post -- which was a very popular magazine at the time -- I put 30 cartoons that I did that week down and all the cartoonists said, 'You did 30 cartoons in one week?' I said, 'Yeah,' but, they didn't believe me. I kept bringing them in. I sold my first strip to the Saturday Evening Post.

The editor said, 'Of all the cartoonists that come in here, you have the most unusual sense of humor.' I do. I'm a sick puppy.

Your cartoons don't have dialogue. Is it easier or harder to do cartoons with no dialogue.

Mr. Edwing: It's easier, and of course it's easier to sell a cartoon because it's understandable in any language.

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