§ February 9th, 2004 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Mad.

I loved Mad Magazine as a kid…I’d buy all the monthly issues and the specials as they were released, and I had an uncle that gave me his Mad collection from the late 60s/early 70s. The very first thing I’d ever mail-ordered was a handful of Mad paperbacks I couldn’t find at any of the local bookstores…I remember heading over to the local liquor store to buy a money order for this purchase with my allowance.

Anyway, that was in the late 70s/very early 80s when I was in my prime Mad Magazine reading age. Near the end I had stopped buying the specials since they were beginning to be mostly reprints of material I already owned…and it was only a matter of time before I dropped the regular magazine as well. No particular reason for this that I can think of…bored, other interests? Mad for some reason just became a less essential read.

Since then, I have bought an issue or two…I bought the six issue series of specials reprinting the original Mad comics, and I bought that one special reprinting their old Star Wars parodies in color. Last month, though, glancing at the then-newest issue (#438) with the superhero parodies, I decided, just on a whim, to buy it.

Yes, I already knew Mad has color in it now. And yes, I know that, literally over William Gaines’ dead body, the magazine now features advertising. It’s still jarring, even with the knowledge that it was probably necessary to keep Mad in business. And, like when I was a kid, I tend to gloss over the TV show and movie parodies that begin and end the magazine…though I will say that #438’s School of Rock parody features an absolutely spot-on caricature of Jack Black by artist Tom Richmond.

The rest of the magazine is generally entertaining…the centerpiece of the mag is the always-excellent Sergio Aragones with one of his insanely-detailed panoramas (this time focusing on the Super Bowl), not to mention his regular contributions of Marginals. “Spy Vs. Spy” is still around, drawn in a dramatically different style by Peter Kuper, and Al Jaffee is still laying the Fold-Ins on us. One of the most interesting differences, in term of content, is the 3-page Fundalini Pages section, featuring short gags and cartoons with work by Evan Dorkin, Drew Freidman, and others.

“Monroe,” another new regular feature, made absolutely no impact on me whatsoever, despite nice cartooning by Bill Wray…most likely because it was a parody of Survivor, a TV show I’ve never seen and have no intention of doing so in the future.

As for the article that actually got me to pick up the mag again in the first place…the superhero parodies were amusing, and well drawn. The best was Art Adams’ “Apathenia, Queen of Not Giving A Damn,” but they were all nicely done.

I enjoyed that issue enough to pick up the newest one, though I haven’t had enough time to really read too much of it. Pal Dorian did note to me the odd prescience of an Aragones gag from the “A Mad Look at The Oscars” article, in which a woman plans to “accidentally” lose the top of her dress in front of the cameras for the resulting publicity.

To sum up my apparently completely random collection of sentences that comprise this weblog entry…thank goodness Mad is still around. The parodies and satires are still pretty blunt and broadly drawn, but if it can still get some kid somewhere to question the attitudes of the world around him, Mad is still doing its job.

Still a shame about the ads, though.


Here’s a great site featuring Mad Magazine cover scans, a dictionary of Don Martin sound effects, and an article detailing what was left out of that “Totally MAD” CD-ROM set.

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