The Mad Peck
|The Mad Peck|
c. 1942 (age 79–80)
New York City
The Masked Marvel
I. C. Lotz
|Burn of the Week|
John Peck a.k.a. The Mad Peck (born c. 1942 in New York City) is an American underground cartoonist, rock poster artist, and disc jockey. His most famous poster is a 1978 comic book-style poster that starts with the line, "Providence, Rhode Island, where it rains two days out of three except during the rainy season when it snows like a bitch." The poster has been reprinted many times and is widely available for purchase throughout Rhode Island.
Raised in New York City, Peck attended Brown University beginning in 1960. Graduating from Brown in 1967, in the intervening years he also attended New York University and the Rhode Island School of Design.
The Mad Peck created silkscreen concert posters for Rhode Island concerts from 1966 to 1971, for acts including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Band, and Cream. His "Final Appearance" Cream poster has been widely bootlegged.
His comix work first appeared in 1969 in underground newspapers like the East Village Other and the Chicago Seed. Consisting mostly of manipulated clip art from old advertisements, his strips advertised items like "GIANT INHALER" and "FREE CIGARETTE PAPERS". Hippies and yippies would send five cents for one of his minicomic catalogs. This led to the weekly comic Burn of the Week, which was distributed by the Underground Press Syndicate and offered phoney endorsements of Wayne Newton albums next to bong-building tips.
In the late 1960s/early 1970s Peck fell in with other Providence countercultural types, including writer Les Daniels and comedian Martin Mull. 1971, Peck illustrated Daniel's Comix: A History of Comic Books in America (Dutton), one of the first academic histories of the medium.
By the mid 1970s, The Mad Peck was creating a regular comic which ran monthly in Creem, and also plugged products in a bizarre pop culture mish-mash similar to some of Bill Griffith's Zippy the Pinhead work.
- Mad Peck Studios: A 20 Year Retrospective (Doubleday, 1987)
- Berke, Ben. "Providence's Mad Peck receives little recognition, and wants even less: Counterculture artist, archivist's job description falls somewhere between 'renaissance man' and 'hustler,'" Providence Journal (Oct 20, 2016).l