Ralph Reese is a brilliant illustrator whose art I first discovered in Choose Your Own Adventure books; he was my personal favorite. His work leapt off the page more than the others, owing to his apprenticeship under the great Wally Wood. In my teens, I found reprints of Ralph’s collaboration with Byron Preiss for National Lampoon, “One Year Affair”. I dreamed of being able to draw like Ralph Reese.
When Ralph did a feature in CRAZY magazine, it was a cause for celebration. Because Ralph wasn’t just a master illustrator.
Ralph was also a master of making you crap your pants.
The venerable satire magazine MAD has had countless imitators during its lifespan. CRACKED, one of the strongest, went from a gag periodical to an online site in 2007, and is now devoted to politically correct clickbait in numbered list form. But the best MAD rip-off came and went in a scant ten years. It showcased artists and ideas too edgy and weird for Will Gaines’ flagship “of idiots”. Like many great things in life, it was called CRAZY.