Robot 6

The ‘essentially untrue’ comic-strip origins of Mad Men

Those Madison Avenue Men!

Those Madison Avenue Men!

At Vanity Fair, Bruce Handy uncovers the long-lost inspiration for AMC’s hit series Mad Men: “an obscure comic strip from the early 1960s” by legendary artist Frank Thorne called Those Madison Avenue Men! Just how obscure was it? Handy asserts that at the peak of its 43-week run in spring 1961, Those Madison Avenue Men! appeared in just eight newspapers.

If you’ve never heard of the strip, that’s probably because it didn’t exist. It’s a pretty good gag, though (so good apparently that, despite clear signals to the contrary, the link is being passed around as fact).



Augie De Blieck Jr.

July 21, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Plus, the dead giveaway is that Comic Sans didn’t exist for another 35 or so years after the copyright on that strip. It’s evil, you know.

Also, it was too coincidental that there was Pete and a Harry and a gay guy (Sal?) and a Pan Am account.

That vertical door (where the copyright notice is) is an amateurish mistake… it creates a fourth panel.
There’s also no date, no signature, and the lettering should be by hand, not by computer.

Really… who at the syndicate would allow a character to vomit on-panel in a comic strip in 1960?!

That said, I would love to see Frank Thorne’s version of Joan Holloway Harris!!

What a bunch of detectives here!

Clearly this was supposed to be fake from the get-go. Do you seriously think a popular show could go four seasons without someone uncovering the source material? Plus, Matthew Weiner has long said he based the series on several real ad men from the era.

These strips are really great. I would read a whole book of this.

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