Good news and bad news on the submission front. First the bad. Mad Magazine wasn't quite ready for the unrestrained mayhem that is my artwork. So now I have yet another rejection note to add to the ten-year-old pile in my closest. The good news though, was that on the bottom of the form letter Mad sent me, I also got a personal response from Mad's art director, Sam Viviano. Here's how his message went:
Some interesting stuff, but I'm not sure that we have any illustration opportunities for you here at MAD just now. You might want to check our new feature, "The Strip Club," and come up with an unpublished submission for that. In the meantime, as one Michigander to another (I grew up in Detroit), thanks for letting me see your work!
It's always a positive thing to receive a personal reply, especially considering the amount out submissions a company like Mad has to respond to. And the friendly nature of Sam's note, coupled with the suggestion of other opportunities, did much to cushion the blow. I do intend to look into Mad's "Strip Club," and I think I have a concept that would fit in well with Mad's comedic sensibilities. So, more on that when the time comes.
In the meantime, let this be a lesson to other aspiring cartoonists out there: DON'T GIVE UP! Rejection letters are still responses, so at least you know people are seeing your work. And a rejection letter with a personal message is distilled hope in its purest form.