Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mad Men: The Illustrated World by Dyna Moe- Book Review

I don't know about you, but I'm already in serious Mad Men withdrawal. I want to know what happens next and just see more. More Don, more Joan, more of Pete Campbell's giraffes. The last TV series that grabbed me like this was Buffy The Vampire Slayer; I own almost every official and unofficial guide and tie-in book as well as collections of essays on cultural and philosophical issues raised in the show. Seriously.

Mad Men has been generating its own crop of related books. As far as I know, Mad Men: The Illustrated World  by Dyna Moe is the first officially licensed tie-in to the show. Dyna Moe is the artist responsible for the Mad Men Yourself cartoons that everyone and their mother used as their Facebook profile picture last year. The book is based on  illustrations she created for the first three seasons (you can view them on her Flickr account) with some added content.

The thing to remember about Mad Men: The Illustrated World is that for better and for worse, this is the cartoon version. It doesn't take itself  seriously and neither should the reader, no matter how hard are the Mad Men withdrawal pains you're experiencing. The book has chapters dedicated to office culture, fashion and beauty, food & drink (including some recipes that would have been hilarious if we didn't know that people really used to eat this stuff) and the occasional historical and biographical anecdote. There are also a couple of contributions from people who actually work on the show, especially notable is actor Rich Sommer's account of mastering the bow tie.

The book is at its best when it offers real content about people, events and trends. I wish there was a lot more of that and less tongue-in-cheek stuff like the part about office equipment and etiquette. Out of the beauty & fashion section, the bouffant how-to is quite funny while the makeup guide was obviously written by someone who is not into makeup or vintage aesthetics. The Joan paper dolls are beautiful, though, and make me want to take them to my seamstress and plead with her to make me each one of the outfits.

Bottom Line: Superficial but fun. No worse than the Mad Men Barbie dolls.

Mad Men: The Illustrated World by Dyna Moe ($15 retail, $10.20 on Amazon) is available from most booksellers. A review copy was sent to me by the publisher.

Illustrations: Dyna Moe


  1. Mad Men Barbie Dolls? Are you kidding me?

    Guess not.

  2. OMG, I SO want those giraffes! I'm even cogitating about making them myself...

    For more entertainment from the past, check out The Institute of Official Cheer. There's also The Gallery of Regrettable Food for more of what passed for edibles in those days (hey, I ate some of that stuff!). As their creator James Lileks states, you can waste a lot of time there.

  3. total 'mad men' withdrawal. i cannot wait to see how the fifth season goes...

    speaking of 'buffy': i'm rewatching the fourth season. amazing how you pick up new things every time a rewatch comes around. you can't say that about many shows.

  4. I am also a hard core Mad Men addict! Thanks for the preview! I have been meaning to check this book out. If you haven't yet discoverer Deborah and Roberta Lipp's brilliant website, dedicated to all things MM, you must check it out! It's my latest obsession and will help with the withdrawal :)


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