DJ Stout


A cover story about Ross Perot's presidential campaign for the June 1992 issue of Texas Monthly.

DJ Stout: Harvey Kurtzman was a cartoonist, writer, editor and the comic genius that co-created Mad magazine in the early 1950s. Kurtzman also developed Mad’s jug-eared, gap-toothed character Alfred E. Neuman. By the early 70s, Mad magazine and its moronic mascot had become a part of my generation’s collective consciousness. He had a huge influence on me. Mad’s iconic “What, Me Worry?” boy has raised his ugly head more than once in my own work over the years.

In 1992, when I was the Art Director of Texas Monthly, businessman Ross Perot ran for president. I had done some work for Perot early on in my career.  I designed the annual report for his company EDS, and I always thought that he looked like Alfred E. Neuman. At the time, the Texas billionaire’s bid for the presidency seemed far-fetched. His penchant for charts and graphs and his whacky anti NAFTA slogans made for a comical campaign. So for the June 1992 edition, Texas Monthly decided to feature Perot on the cover. During our editorial meeting the phrase “What, Me President?” sprung into my head. It was the perfect line to capture the absurdity of the moment. I called illustrator Steve Pietsczh and he did a masterful job of transforming the computer magnate into Neuman. The issue was a hit and Perot went on to lose the race. I thought back to that cover when Donald Trump was campaigning to be president. The comical insanity of the whole idea seemed like something the editors of Mad magazine would cook up. Only this time it actually happened. It truly is a Mad, Mad world.


Art Director: DJ Stout

Associate Art Director: Nancy McMillen

Illustrator: Steve Pietsczh