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Mad Magazine Cartoonist Berg Dies

May 24, 2002

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LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Dave Berg, who affectionately spoofed what he called ``the human condition″ in the pages of Mad magazine for more than 40 years, died May 16 of cancer. He was 81.

Berg, who began working for Mad as a free-lancer in 1956, created the satirical magazine’s enduring ``The Lighter Side of″ comic strip in 1961.

He often put friends, family members and colleagues into his cartoons, among them Mad’s late publisher William M. Gaines, whose head appeared mounted, like a deer’s, on the side of a wall.

He also drew himself into the strip regularly, as Roger Kaputnik, an everyman with an always-present pipe.

Born in New York City, Berg attended Cooper Union Art School in New York, landing a job inking backgrounds for the newspaper comic strip ``The Spirit″ when he was 20.

Later, he worked under Stan Lee at Timely Comics (now Marvel Comics), before moving on to Mad, which he described as ``the main attraction, the big event, the grand opening.″

During World War II, he was a member of the Army Air Corps and served as a war correspondent in Iwo Jima, Guam, Saipan and Japan.

In addition to his magazine work, he wrote and illustrated 17 books for Mad, including ``Mad’s Dave Berg Looks at Living,″ ``Mad’s Dave Berg Looks at Things,″ and ``Mad’s Dave Berg Looks at the USA.″

He also produced two humorous books on religion, ``My Friend God″ and ``Roger Kaputnik and God.″

His final ``Lighter Side″ panels are scheduled for the September issue of Mad, marking the magazine’s 50th anniversary.

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