Born in Spain, Aragonés had a passion for art since early childhood. As one anecdote goes, Aragonés was once left alone in a room by his parents with a box of crayons. His parents returned sometime later to find that he had covered the wall in hundreds upon hundreds of drawings.
Aragonés emigrated with his family due to the Spanish Civil War and settled in Mexico. He made his first professional sale in 1954 but continued to doodle humorous cartoons while studying architecture at the University of Mexico, and also learning pantomime under the direction of Alejandro Jodorowsky. In 1962, Aragonés moved to the United States. He currently resides and works in Ojai, California.
Aragonés first went to the U.S. in 1962. According to the artist, he arrived in New York with nothing but 20 dollars and his portfolio of drawings. After working odd jobs around the city, Aragonés went to Mad's offices in Madison Avenue hoping to sell some of his cartoons. Since his knowledge of English wasn't very extensive, he asked for the only Mad artist he knew of that spoke his language, Cuban-born artist Antonio Prohias, creator of the popular Spy vs. Spy. Aragonés hoped Prohias could serve as a translator between him and the Mad editors. According to Aragonés, this proved to be a mistake, since Prohias knew even less English than he. Prohias did receive Aragonés very enthusiastically and, with difficulty, introduced the young artist to the Mad editors as his "brother."
Mad editor Al Feldstein and publisher Bill Gaines liked what they saw, and Aragonés became a contributor to the magazine in 1963. Aragonés became famous for his wordless "drawn-out dramas" or "marginals" which were inserted into the margins and between panels of the magazine. The drawings are both horizontal and vertical, and occasionally extend around corners. Prior to Aragonés' arrival at Mad, the magazine had sometimes filled its margins with text jokes under the catch-all heading "Marginal Thinking." According to Aragonés the staff of Mad enjoyed his marginals, but expected him to only last one or two issues. They did not expect him to be able to maintain the steady stream of small cartoons needed for each issue. However, Aragonés has provided marginals for every issue of Mad since 1963 except one (his contributions to that issue were lost by the P0ost Office).
Aragonés is a very prolific artist; Al Jaffee once said, "Sergio has, quite literally, drawn more cartoons on napkins in restaurants than most cartoonists draw in their entire careers."
In 1967 he began illustrating full stories for DC Comics under such titles as Plop!. He also wrote or plotted stories that were illustrated by other artists, including the Western series Bat Lash and stories for various horror anthology titles. Aragonés claims that he originally looked for work in the comic book industry and was warned off. He was told that he would be better paid working for Mad Magazine.
In the late 1970s he created the humorous barbarian comic book Groo the Wanderer with Mark Evanier. Evanier's role originally was as something of a translator, as Aragonés was still somewhat shaky at expressing his ideas in English. Eventually the two began collaborating on story ideas, and there have been several Groo stories in which Evanier is credited as the sole writer. Aragonés is currently fluent in English. As a creator-owned book, Groo has survived the bankruptcy of a number of publishers, a fact which led to the popular joke that publishing the series was a precursor to a publisher's demise. The book was initially published by Pacific Comics, briefly by Eclipse Comics, then Marvel Comics under their since-discontinued Epic Comics imprint, then Image Comics, and currently Dark Horse Comics.
The character Serji-X Arrogantus was named after him.
Star Wars bibliographyEdit
- Sergio Aragonés Stomps Star Wars
- "Spare Parts"—Star Wars Tales 4
- "Junkheap Hero"—Star Wars Tales 6
- Galactic Phrase Book & Travel Guide
- Sergio Aragonés on Wikipedia