The hilarious and wonderful moment where I discovered the works of Sergio Aragones for the very first time is still so well remembered, I still believe it to have happened yesterday. So many years ago in a small newspaper shop in my hometown I got my hands on a german edition of the Mad Magazine, I was standing there for a couple of minutes enjoying each page of the magazine, it was the one where they made fun out of the recently published movie with the title “E.T.”! Maybe some of you remember this one. Ha.
Most of all I loved the small things that happened between the panels, small animals, figures and/or characters who happen to be funny just by being there. At this time I didn’t know who Sergio was and wasn’t interested in the names of writers, authors or even artists. As many other kids my age I only wanted to be entertained, and entertainment was something that Mad Magazine kindly offered me. From the wonderful Spy vs. Spy, the typical Don Marin page and the “riddle” at the end of each issue.
I grew up and learned a lot about people and/or artists like Rene Goscinny, F. Ibanez, Andre Franquin and many more. Over the years I rediscovered the works of Sergio, especially when I found the series “Groo”. First I thought that it doesn’t work out for me but after some issues I became a huge fan and I remembered my first contact with his work within Mad Magazine.
Since this time I follow each and every work done by him, from his series “Action speaks”, “Louder than Words” and all the DC/MARVEL mash-up stories.
When “Funnies” appeared I started to buy from the very first issue and first I thought that this may be “just” a collection of funny stories, sketches, gags and a little bit more, similar to Mad Magazine but smaller and single-handedly done by Sergio who surely would have been able to draw each single issue of Mad Magazine, due to being the fastest cartoonist for quite some time.
What I loved most about this series was that Sergio included some stories about his personal life, how he grew up, where he went to school, what his father was working, how his relationship with his mother worked out and how he earned his first peso. We are confronted with stories like the one where his father, a producer/director of movies needed some actors for a movie and asked Sergio to bring some students to the set. As you may imagine this didn’t work out well for his father but perfectly good for him. we also see some famous collaborators from the Mad Magazine Team and their trips, one of those trips was even organized by Sergio himself because they decided to go to Mexico.
Each story is hilarious and because of knowing most of his biography I can say that “in the centre” they are true. The included jokes may be pure imagination or may be a little exaggerated but they are well told stories. I specifically love the one story in issue #12 where he tells us about his meeting with the unique actor Toshiro Mifune, you can feel with each and every panel how much he adores the person and how much each meeting meant for him.
Apart from that we also get some short stories from him where he offers us something to think about and sometimes gives us some panels just for the fun of it.
So, with issue #12 it reached its end after three years. In the introduction of the last issue Sergio himself tells us that he will continue to publish “Funnies”, if not at Bongo Comics then maybe somewhere else. We will see and I know that I will be there, like so many years ago, standing in a comic shop and buying the very first issue, again with a smile and a glint in the eyes and I will feel like a kid, again.
Thank you for that, Sergio …! As long as you will keep on drawing I will keep on reading your works.