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The Don Martin Dictionary - An Update 15 Years Later

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 10:19 am    Post subject: The Don Martin Dictionary - An Update 15 Years Later Reply with quote

I hadn't looked closely at The Don Martin Dictionary ( in years but knew it was one of the most popular destinations on
The last time I got into the guts of the thing was probably a decade ago when a lady asked why "POIT" (the sound of a large boob popping out of a bra) wasn't represented from the bonus stickers in Special #23.

I, of course, added that and the rest of the stickers from that Special and that was it until now (January 2016).

The list was kind of hallowed ground, not to be messed with, actually existing on paper in John E. Hett's Journal of Madness #12 from November 2001 from an idea by Richard Parks.
Nine crazies were given a range of issues to pour over. Ed Norris assembled it all. Three simple columns: WORD, SOUND OF, SOURCE OF REFERENCE.

A few years after publication, I approached Ed about adapting it to the internet and hosting it on my site. An Excel file followed lickity split.
The original chronological list was given an alphabetical partner and that was pretty much it. I've been really honored to have hosted it all these years.

It never crossed my mind that the original article title would add to the fun until now. How to incorporate that?
I thought about cramming it into column three under SOURCE OF REFERENCE and eventually settled on just giving it its own column.
This forced me to go back through every entry, all this hard work from years ago, and since I was looking at each article and entry anew I noticed a few things.

Everybody had a different approach to putting the data together. It's amazing Ed got the consistency from all of us he did.
Look at this panel from #121's "Don Martin Looks at All them Indians" as an example of different levels of interpretation.

We have an amazing amount of sounds here. Do we define each individual word out and list it, or group the words into an entry when they're describing a similar thing or process?
There's no right answer, but I decided to do a little fine tuning anyway, and I hope I didn't disrupt the balance of the universe by altering this information of the gods.
As a general rule I grouped individual words when they appeared in a panel instead of givng each word its own entry. In other cases, I split groups when I thought a word was descriptive in and of itself.

There were many instances where words repeated through an article. Many original entries lacked reference to this, so I had to decide if it helped the list to include them.
In many cases I added them to an entry, like this one featuring a typist from #258's "One Fine Morning at the Office."

Another difficult question was what exactly constitutes a sound effect. We're consistent in our inconsistency on this one. I'm talking about sounds coming out of the mouth.
Some people ignored screams and other kinds of utterances. Others made sure to list all the burps and arrghs they could find. I didn't really make any changes, but I think a sound effect lacks a word balloon to enclose it.

I expanded the SOUND OF definition when I thought readers needed a little more context. I also corrected some spelling errors in the SOUND OF column.
I also added sticker sound effects from the other Specials and stuff from two oddball Specials: Mad Disco and MAD 84. I'm also happy to report that a few regular issue omissions have now been added. Hey, we're human.

As of today there are 1200 entries!

Doug Gilford's Mad Cover Site:
A resource for collectors and fans of the world's most important (ecch!) humor publication (since 1997).
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Joined: 23 May 2004
Posts: 2227
Location: Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's all freaking mind-blowing, Doug. Thank you (and Ed and John) for your diligence! Amazing!!!

(By the way, I think this is the first time I've noticed the "Katy-did, Katy-didn't" sound effects in "Don Martin Looks At All Them Indians." I nearly keeled over at my office desk this morning when I saw that. Brilliant!)

"In things pertaining to enthusiasm, no man is sane who does not know how to be insane on proper occasions."
- U.S. Clergyman Henry Ward Beecher
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