Art Director 1970-1975
This from Mark's Very Large National Lampoon Site:
Gross brought a professional, Madison Avenue style to the magazine, replacing the wacky comic book look of Cloud Studios,
the group of "underground" artists who had been hired when the magazine started. Instead of trying to make it look "funny," his approach was to
present the material in a straight-forward, almost dead-pan manner, and, in the case of parody, to mimic the target down to the smallest detail,
sometimes using special paper stocks or inserts. The effect was sophisticated, funnier, and much more subversive.
His first full issue was the November 1970 "Nostalgia" issue and from the Norman Rockwell parody on the cover to the
"1956 Ezra Taft Benson High School Yearbook" parody (which was expanded upon later with the 1964 High School Yearbook Parody), the tone
of the magazine was set for years to come. The editors soon discovered that Gross could faithfully imitate graphically anything they threw at him.
Under his capable direction, sales of the magazine started to pick up for the first time.
He is also credited with creation of the popular "Funny Pages" section of the magazine.
This from NewTimes:
"If Doug Kenney and Henry Beard are the parents of
the National Lampoon,
Michael Gross is the doctor that delivered the baby"
This from designobserver I would suggest that the Lampoon's designers, Michael Gross and David Kaestle,
anticipated our profession's obsession with vernacular graphic languages by almost fifteen years.
[The Daily Show's Stephen] Colbert credits the Lampoon with introducing satire that not only eviscerated its subjects,
but also did so in the style of its target.
From Henry Beard interview: "Until [art director] Michael Gross came in around the sixth or seventh issue,
it was not working. To his great credit, Michael called up our publisher, even before he was hired, and he said,
“You know, this is a funny magazine, but it looks like crap. I’m an art director. Hire me. I’ll fix it."
And we did, and he did. He saved us, really.
MG, Brooke Shields and her Mom: August '78
1970-75 / at NatLamp
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