Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Once And Future MAD!

(MAD #550 2018)

And so it ends. MAD Magazine has been a fixture on newsstands for sixty-six years, longer than even I, a venerable object myself have been alive. It's been a reliable arrival over the course of years where other magazines appeared and disappeared and then become forgotten. MAD has had many direct competitors, but only Sick and Cracked lasted any real length of time before they folded. For a period National Lampoon seemed to steal the MAD thunder and elevated (or lowered perhaps) the nature of satire, but it too finally succumbed.

(MAD #1 1952)

Now MAD ends with its five hundredth and fiftieth issue, the last produced by the "Usual Gang of Idiots" from the offices in New York City. DC, who acquired the venerable EC magazine many years ago has shifted production of the magazine to the West Coast and a new team will take the helm. To be fair, I haven't bought an issue of MAD in a very very long time, when it was still a black and white magazine as it became with its twenty-fourth issue.

(MAD #24 1955)

The shift to color some time ago left me cold and despite the need for it I miss the old black white pages. This issue didn't really thrill me to honest. I didn't find any of the fantastic satires of films or TV which dominated the magazine for so long. Spy Vs. Spy is still around as is Sergio Aragones and Al Jaffee's delightful Fold-out. But much of what I think of as MAD was missing. Things change, that's the way of the world, but it's sad that something once so perfect will now utterly disappear.


But actually it won't exactly. When MAD "debuts" in April with a new number one issue we will not see all that much of a change really. The changes might have already come, but I'll leave that judgment to those who are better informed. I'll give the new one a tumble out of plain old fashioned curiosity. But will I become a steady reader, as I was many years ago. Unlikely, as those days have long ago passed and now so has MAD as we knew it.

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7 comments:

  1. I always liked the fact that Alfred E. Neuman looked more than just a little disturbingly creepy. There was something comforting about him in a non-conformist way. Restarting the numbering and removing the space between his teeth: big mistakes…

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    1. I'm guessing the new and polished Alfred is a one-off joke. I too would be very disappointed to see the iconic little bloke undergo any kind of improvement. He's ideal as is, for what is needed.

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  2. I understand that Mad went into color and started to accept advertising after William Gaines died.

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    1. My last official issue was the one that announced the demise of Gaines, long ago when the first Bush was president. I took a look now and again and picked up a special or two, but mostly I agree, the bloom fell off when Gaines passed and first ads and later color came to MADworld. I get the need for these things, but those delightful packages from my youth are now mere relics of a time gone by.

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