Most of the creator portraits for the last couple of years have been chosen by a need for them in biographical articles at Wikipedia. As an active editor for about 5 years now, I’ve become enamored by the comics projectthere. A unique synergy of the collaborative encyclopedia and a medium rife with content, has made the project one of the more fascinating and informative among its sister entertainment industries.
The portrait of Al Feldstein below is the latest. In this case, the biography itself was in dire need of repair. No inline citations caused it to be saturated with obtrusive tags directing editors to try to improve the article. The few external references it had were mostly dead links that needed some research to be restored. There was also an important section hidden in the editor text box because it was a large quotation from an interview Feldstein had once given. Wikipedia prefers not to use such large bodies of text directly from sources, and advises editors to paraphrase them in their own words, to uphold encyclopedic style. I spent some time finding and formatting citations, and reshaping hidden texts, as I was joined by a project editor who helped with final polishes. The result was an effective and gratifying fix for a biography of an important artist and editor, well deserving of good representation.
Feldstein’s interviews about his early career carry some of the more fascinating and revealing stories about the “wheeler-dealers” who shaped the comics industry in its infancy. His covers at EC Comics became an imprint of look and design for their time.
My generation grew up on the editing brilliance of Al Feldstein. At the helm of Mad magazine from 1956 to 1985, he shaped one of the more memorable satiric journals to ever see publication. An era wherein an entire generation affirmed the cultural relevance that Mad had achieved. Under his tenure, the publication grew to 8 times its circulation, from the time he started editing it.
Soon after retiring from Mad, Feldstein moved into rural Wyoming and then to Montana, where he lives today, producing detailed and colorful Americana paintings of landscape, cowboys and wildlife. He also manages a guest house on his 270 acre ranch, the proceeds of which go to rescuing injured wildlife in the region.
Al Feldstein – Portraits of the Creators Sketchbook