PopCult Nostalgia Open Thread: Ave Atque Vale, MAD Magazine

(Signe Wilkinson via GoComics.com)
.

I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for MAD Magazine, which my dad started reading when it was still a comic book. (He never forgave my mother for throwing those precious issues away during the divorce.) And I cherish the 1973 ComicCon program I got Sergio Aragonés (and others) to autograph. But it’s been at least 30 years since I bought a copy of the magazine, so…

… “Age hits everybody: It hits magazines, it hits the movies, it hits technology,” legendary Mad cartoonist Sergio Aragonés told The Washington Post on Thursday. “It’s been a logical development.”

Mad magazine hit a peak of more than 2 million subscribers in the early ’70s, when it memorably satirized shifting social mores and cultural attitudes. Emblematic of that era — when Mad flexed the most pop-culture muscle as a powerhouse of topical irreverence — was a Watergate-era sendup of President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew in a “big con” spoof of the hit Oscar-winning movie “The Sting.”

But commercial pressures had changed since the ’90s. To try to survive in more recent years, as circulation dwindled precipitously, the magazine owned by Warner Bros.’ DC division shifted to a quarterly publishing schedule and moved its offices from New York to the Los Angeles area. Now, the Mad brand will mostly endure by simply recirculating its classic vintage material, living on through the appeal of what it once was…

Mad will begin disappearing from newsstands, though it will remain available to subscribers and through comic shops. After this fall, the magazine will produce no new content, except for the end-of-year specials. All issues after that will be republished content culled from 67 years of publication, and Mad will continue to publish books and special collections, multiple people told The Post. DC declined a request for comment…

Tim Kreider, at the NYTimes:

I also learned from Mad that politicians were corrupt and deceitful, that Hollywood and Madison Avenue pushed insulting junk, that religion was more invested in respectability than compassion, that school was mostly about teaching you to obey arbitrary rules and submit to dingbats and martinets — that it was, in short, all BS. Grown-ups who worried that Mad was a subversive influence, undermining the youth of America’s respect for their elders and faith in our hallowed institutions, were 100 percent correct.

I never wrote or drew for Mad (though I have several friends who did) but my own cartooning was deeply influenced by its artists, from Mort Drucker’s obsessive perfectionism for the most inconspicuous detail to Don Martin’s wild, spontaneous precision. I learned from Mad that a line could be funny: not just a face but the cock of an eyebrow, the sploosh of a bowl of soup. Certain expressions drawn by Harry North, Esq. — a vacationing veteran’s hollow-eyed paranoia at the lying smiles of the Japanese all around him, a guy realizing what he should’ve said to the jerk who cut him off in traffic earlier that day — have become engraved as the dictionary illustrations in my brain for “xenophobia” and “l’esprit d’escalier.”…

Mad’s influence is ubiquitous now. The glut of satire and subversive comedy we all now consume daily is created by kids who grew up on Mad or on humor inspired by it: “Saturday Night Live,” “The Simpsons,” “The Daily Show,” “The Colbert Report” and The Onion are all in one way or another the spawn of Mad. But in the end, the magazine largely obviated itself as a cultural force by becoming the dominant mode of humor in America. The language of advertising, P.R. and even politics have all appropriated the snark and irony of Mad. Even The Man wants to be a wiseass now.






112 replies
  1. 1
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    This su{fold here}upposed news about Mad closing is inevitable in an age where advertisers have so many other choices, and nobody’s kids are rushing to the supermarket magazine rack. Which revered publication is next? It’s as random as how a bingo machine pi{fold here}cks balls.

    What do these instructions mean? Some kind of code, I suppose.

    I actually haven’t read MAD in years, but I still mourn its passing.

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Add the words before the first FOLD HERE to the words after the second FOLD HERE.

  3. 3
    Brachiator says:

    And I cherish the 1973 ComicCon program I got Sergio Aragonés (and others) to autograph.

    Very cool.

    I grew up with Mad Magazine and it definitely helped shape my literary sensibility. And probably my political sensibility as well. In a lot of ways, I think that Mad was subversively high brow while being deceptively low brow. I never feared or felt intimidated by supposed high art and culture because I learned to get the gag in a Mad feature or cartoon.

    And I will always be a sucker for horrifying cliches.

    But we grow up and move on. I don’t know what kids today do for humor and satire, but I hope they have something that brings them as much pleasure as I used to get from Mad and the usual gang of idiots.

  4. 4
    Sloane Peterson's knee therapist says:

    I was an avid reader through the 60’s mainly. What I enjoyed most was MAD’s satirical treatment of popular TV shows and movies. The Alamo, w/ John Wayne, Richard Widmark and even, Frankie Avalon was a hoot.

  5. 5
    glory b says:

    The Chicago Defender, famous Black newspaper, published its last print version this week.
    It urged blacks in the south to move to northern cities. Maintained a running tally of race related homicides (lynchings, etc.) also.

  6. 6
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Baud:

    HAHAHAHAHA! So pretty!

    I’m usually pretty good at things like that, but missed this one entirely! So thanks.

  7. 7
    zhena gogolia says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    They used to have “fold-in” back covers that changed the image into a joke when you folded them in.

    I can’t believe that writer thinks that the early ’70s were the peak of Mad magazine! How ridiculous!

  8. 8
    Brachiator says:

    This su{fold here}upposed news about Mad closing is inevitable in an age where advertisers have so many other choices, and nobody’s kids are rushing to the supermarket magazine rack. Which revered publication is next? It’s as random as how a bingo machine pi{fold here}cks balls.

    Love it. Absolutely love it.

  9. 9
    zhena gogolia says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    Well, I guess he’s talking about subscribers. But the 1960s were the peak!

    I still have a pretty good-sized pile of them.

  10. 10
    feebog says:

    My Dad introduced us to MAD Magazine. We never had to buy it ourselves, Pop was always picking up the new issue. My favorite part was spy vs. spy. RIP MM and thanks Pop for the laughs.

  11. 11
    Redshift says:

    There are any number of 70s movies I know the plot of because of Mad satires. Somehow I never had my own copies, I just had friends who did.

  12. 12
    Spanky says:

    From the twitter machine:

    Cake or Death

    @Johngcole
    4h4 hours ago
    More
    Just yelled “oh fuck right off” at a u-scan self checkout machine in kroger in front of about 20 people and several kids how is your day going

  13. 13
    tokyokie says:

    I subscribed to MAD when I was in junior high school, and later in life, I subscribed to Punch, National Lampoon, and Spy. All great humor magazines in their day, and now all of them gone.

  14. 14
    JGabriel says:

    “To be subversive, however, requires a dominant culture to subvert… a journal of subversive humor is funny only if there’s someone up front attempting to maintain order.”

    In other words, subversive humor died when Trump became President?

  15. 15
    Baud says:

    @Spanky:

    Glad to know Cole isn’t only a jerk to us.

  16. 16
    Spanky says:

    @Redshift: TV shows too. “Voyage to See What’s on the Bottom” is one I remember, and the Star Trek one a little bit. The latest one I can remember was Battlestar Galactica.

  17. 17
    JGabriel says:

    @Brachiator:

    And I will always be a sucker for horrifying cliches.

    Horrifying Cliche should be a nickname for Trump.

    But we grow up and move on. I don’t know what kids today do for humor and satire …

    The Onion, I would guess. Or maybe something newer.

  18. 18
    Spanky says:

    @Baud: I talk back to that automated harpy all the time, but have so far managed to keep it rated G.

    One tactic I employ to keep my sanity is to choose Spanish language checkout.

    I don’t speak Spanish.

  19. 19
    Mainmata says:

    Blackout in West Side Manhattan (38,000 without power including unknown number stuck in elevators) exactly to the day of the great NYC Blackout of 1977.

  20. 20
    sukabi says:

    @Spanky: ha. That’s usually my mood when using them, and have yelled that same thing at the AI that’s telling you that the item you’ve scanned doesn’t exist in their database.

  21. 21
    StringOnAStick says:

    I loved Mad starting in 7th grade; the magazine store clerk always looked like she was sucking on a lemon when I presented it for purchase. Graduate school was when I just plain ran out of time and it was one of the things I dropped. I wish I’d kept up with it but since I’m not that plugged into popular culture or movies now I wasn’t up on a lot of the targets. Still, now I want to subscribe to see what I missed plus be supportive. I didn’t realize Mad was still around to be honest.

  22. 22
    LuciaMia says:

    Found an old compilation paperback ( “The Dirty Old Mad”} One bit was “A Gun Lovers Primer.” Written in 1964 but it could have been written today. Without one change.

  23. 23
    Brachiator says:

    @glory b:

    The Chicago Defender, famous Black newspaper, published its last print version this week.

    First published in 1905. A hell of a run.

  24. 24
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @tokyokie: but you now have Balloon Juice and NotMax’s puns!

  25. 25
    oatler. says:

    We could all use “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions” now.

  26. 26
    frosty says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I’ll be embarrassed for you. You don’t remember the fold-ins?. First done as a spoof of Playboy’s foldouts? I think they even bragged that they were too cheap to do a foldout.

    I bet a few jackals got here before me.

  27. 27
    evodevo says:

    @JGabriel: Sorry – I also have quite often cursed the self-scan checkout at Kroger lol I know just how he feels….

  28. 28
    The Lodger says:

    @oatler.: I see SATSQ in these comments all the time. That’s not what it means?

  29. 29
    ThresherK says:

    @Spanky: The Star Trek musical?

    I have read maybe five copies of Mad ever but I remember that.

  30. 30
    Anne Laurie says:

    @tokyokie:

    I subscribed to MAD when I was in junior high school, and later in life, I subscribed to Punch, National Lampoon, and Spy. All great humor magazines in their day, and now all of them gone.

    Like Signe Wilkinson, I cling to the hope that great humor is still being committed… even if the kids haven’t told us fogies about it yet!

    @JGabriel:

    In other words, subversive humor died when Trump became President?

    My original title for this post was “Too Much IRL Competition”…

  31. 31
    Keith P. says:

    I used to have Mad books…like best-of compioations from the 70s. I loved reading them on the school bus

  32. 32
    The Dangerman says:

    Had kind of a Mad Magazine type moment this afternoon.

    I watched an elderly gentleman slowwwwwwly crossed the street (I had parked to pick someone up) and I was a little concerned. I think he saw my attention to him and he passed by and struck up a conversation.

    Started off with him saying something like “I’m old, forgetful, and tired”. My reply was something like “Yeah, me too”

    Then he said (and the quotes will get progressively more accurate) “No, you don’t understand, I have CRS (???; that acronym isn’t firing for me this afternoon, so maybe I’m losing it, too) and can’t remember shit”.

    Me: “Well, have as good a rest of your day as possible”

    Him: “I can’t; the only thing I will remember is Trump is President”

    Both of us laugh. Not too loud, we have a lot of Trumpers around here, especially on the weekends when they invade from the Central Valley.

    Gotta full on suck when the only thing you might remember is The Orange One.

    ETA: CRS = Can’t Remember Shit

  33. 33
  34. 34
    LuciaMia says:

    Mort Drucker was a god.

  35. 35
    Steeplejack says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Can’t believe no one has posted an example of a Mad “fold in” joke for you. They were always on the back page (inside, I think.)

    Here’s one.

  36. 36
    frosty says:

    @Steeplejack: ouch, what a classic though.

  37. 37
    Steeplejack says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    Yeah, I would put the peak a little earlier—late ’60s, maybe? Early ’70s was the rise of National Lampoon, which felt a lot hipper and edgier at the time.

  38. 38
    Splitting Image says:

    The truly frightening thing about MAD Magazine?

    Paul Coker Jr. was one of the longest-tenured artists working for the magazine. He’s the guy who did the animation for Frosty the Snowman. One of the all-time greats.

    I don’t think he even cracks the top ten list of artists who worked on that mag. Not with Jack Davis, Bil Elder, Don Martin, Sergio Aragones, Mort Drucker, Dave Berg, Angelo Torres, Al Jaffee, Wally Wood, Norman Mingo and so many others around.

    Randall Munroe is a worthy successsor to any of these guys, but MAD at its peak was like a dozen comics equally good as XKCD lined up in a pretty package every month. It’s actually astonishing how good it was for as long as it was.

    A note of trivia: Marie Severin passed away last summer. She was the last surviving person who worked on MAD #1 back in 1952. The magazine survived her for less than a year.

  39. 39
    Steeplejack says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    Can’t check now, but I think there is a CD-ROM edition that has all of Mad from the beginning up to almost the present (“present” = 10 years ago?). Certainly all of the classic years.

  40. 40
    debbie says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Mad used to have a full-page illustration that when folded as instructed was an illustration of something entirely different.

  41. 41
    Steeplejack says:

    @Mainmata:

    Boy, that’s gonna undercut Infrastructure Week!

  42. 42
    NotMax says:

    Trivia: MAD in many ways followed in the footsteps of the Depression-era Ballyhoo magazine.

    More trivia: MAD publisher Bill Gaines’ other concurrent satire title, the short-lived Panic, was at one time banned from sale in the state of Massachusetts as a result of publication of a parody of The Night Before Christmas in its first issue.

  43. 43
    debbie says:

    @Spanky:

    I’ve grumbled back at the self-checkout when it asks me if I’m done yet or I don’t get my bags off the counter quickly enough.

  44. 44
    Amir Khalid says:

    @feebog:
    MAD, like sister publication TIME (or maybe because of TIME) styles its name in all caps. Thanks for remembering what the WaPo did not.

  45. 45
    J R in WV says:

    The power is out in a little bit of Manhattan, in NYC, and CNN and MSNBC are both attempting to foment rioting in the streets. Because the lights went out isn’t dramatic enough.

    Last time I was in NYC, last November, there was an electrical fire across the East River towards JFK… The blue light from arcing transformers reflected off the low clouds, and the news folks kept telling everyone it wasn’t an alien attack, just transformers burning at 42,000 volts. A very pretty color, the high voltage arcing.

    New Yorkers seem to be pretty calm about the whole thing, irked that their show tickets turned into waste paper, no clubs, etc. But calm. One lady was trying to check into a hotel for a week’s stay, said, “It could be a LONG week!”

    NOLA appears to be doing OK, although the power outage right outside seems to be too alluring for them to cut away to Louisiana. Sad. Best of luck to Lamh at ground zero~!!~

  46. 46
    zhena gogolia says:

    @LuciaMia:

    Yeah.

  47. 47
  48. 48
    Mary G says:

    My dad got sick when I was six and I was left with the alcoholic next door neighbor who would wait 10 minutes and then take off herself. I would bring wholesome children’s library books but spent most of the time reading the giant stash of MMs and Playboys their teenage son kept under his bed.

  49. 49
    zhena gogolia says:

    Potrzbie!

  50. 50
    Anne Laurie says:

    @NotMax: Dad’s copies of Panic and Gaines’ other title Help! also went into the trash during the Great Divorce Wars. And those would’ve been genuinely valuable later, if only Mom had listened to her tween-aged kids!

  51. 51
    zhena gogolia says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    I mean Potrzebie!

    How could I get that wrong, when I even know a little Polish now?

  52. 52
    LuciaMia says:

    (38,000 without power including unknown number stuck in elevators) exactly to the day of the great NYC Blackout of 1977.

    Aah, didnt that figure prominently in a segment of Night Gallery. Steven Spielberg directing Joan Crawford!

  53. 53
    Doug R says:

    Bart’s visit to the Mad Magazine offices from the New York episode:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjlDDZkGONs

  54. 54
    Mnemosyne says:

    So I have a weird question that one of our UK-based commenters may be able to answer: why is it that the UK seems to be able to support hundreds of magazines while similar magazines in the US are dying? Seriously, whenever I go to a craft store, it seems like they carry at least 5 different British magazines for each craft (knitting, sewing, cardmaking, etc). And it seems to be the same for technology magazines, music magazines, etc.

    What gives?

  55. 55

    All the talk of Bose yesterday reminded me of this A.R. Rahman gem from the movie on Bose from the aughts. The British had put Bose under house arrest, Bose escapes disguised as a Pathan and spends some time among Sufis in Afghanistan.

  56. 56
    RedDirtGirl says:

    @Redshift: I was coming here to say the same thing. I knew the basic plots of many R-rated movies before ever seeing them. Dog Day Afternoon, Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, Summer of ’42.

  57. 57
    debbie says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Less corporate ownership, I’d bet. Here, if they don’t see immediate profit, off with their heads!

  58. 58

    @Mnemosyne: The Brits aren’t illiterate.

  59. 59
    Doug R says:

    @J R in WV:

    The power is out in a little bit of Manhattan, in NYC, and CNN and MSNBC are both attempting to foment rioting in the streets. Because the lights went out isn’t dramatic enough.

    Last time I was in NYC, last November, there was an electrical fire across the East River towards JFK… The blue light from arcing transformers reflected off the low clouds, and the news folks kept telling everyone it wasn’t an alien attack, just transformers burning at 42,000 volts. A very pretty color, the high voltage arcing.

    New Yorkers seem to be pretty calm about the whole thing, irked that their show tickets turned into waste paper, no clubs, etc. But calm. One lady was trying to check into a hotel for a week’s stay, said, “It could be a LONG week!”

    I’d check on the whereabouts of Wilson Fisk and Dr. Octavius, just to be sure.

  60. 60
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: Ah, but does anyone really need seven magazines about the side windows of 1948- 51 locomotive engines?

  61. 61
    NotMax says:

    @Mnemosyne

    Thriving market for material in which to wrap fish and chips.

    :)

  62. 62
    Baud says:

    @debbie:

    Magazines don’t have to be owned by corporations here.

  63. 63

    @NotMax: We have the New York Times for that.

  64. 64
    oatler. says:

    @LuciaMia: That episode, “Eyes”, was from 1969 or 1970.

  65. 65
    Doug R says:

    @Mnemosyne: 70 million people on an island? So there’s less problem with postage and transport?

  66. 66
    Kent says:

    My evangelical mother would not let me bring Mad Magazine home when I was a kid in the 70s so I spent hours reading it cover to cover at the local drugstore. Always loved the folding back covers and spy v spy.

    Sometime around HS in the early 80s I kind of just drifted away from it and started reading more serious stuff.

  67. 67

    @Baud: Guess you haven’t heard about the latest Executive Order.

  68. 68
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Seriously, whenever I go to a craft store, it seems like they carry at least 5 different British magazines for each craft (knitting, sewing, cardmaking, etc).

    Not gonna hunt down stats for you, but some of that is selection bias. ‘Serious’ US followers of a particular craft — quilting / cross-stitch / rubber stamps being the niches I know best — are subscribers to the US-based magazines. But British subs for us Americans are *really* expensive, so in my experience, crafters buy them issue-by-issue, when there’s a pattern or topic they really want.

    Also, American craft magazines went into digital formats early & enthusiastically; I’ve seen many complaints from our Commonwealth sisters that their titles just don’t provide the online content we expect from our titles.

    TBH, a lot of ‘hobby’ magazines made their (always narrow) profits off advertising — if you wanted to find out about the latest equipment / supplies, you subscribed for the ads. Now most of the relevant advertisers have moved exclusively online, so they don’t need to pay for print ads, and their customers don’t need to get print issues to follow (g) eQuilter or Hoffman Fabrics or Clover sewing tools. (Heck, my favorite companies send me regular emails to keep me up-to-date.)

  69. 69
    Tokyokie says:

    @Steeplejack: That was Totally MAD, I believe, and I think it came out more like 20 years ago, but that still would include everything during William Gaines’ tenure as editor. And yes, I wish I had a copy.

  70. 70
    debbie says:

    @Baud:

    To get the kind of distribution it takes to be successful, I think they do. Read the mastheads, they’re all corporations. Distributors and wholesalers aren’t going to waste precious space on little independent magazines. Places that sell magazines only have so much space. It was the same with publishing. Niche and independent publishers always depended on some big guy to do everything for them except create the actual book. (Or am I supposed to say ‘curate’ now?)

  71. 71
    NotMax says:

    @Anne Laurie

    X-ray Specs and Sea Monkeys!

  72. 72
    Baud says:

    @debbie:

    So why is it different in UK?

  73. 73
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Baud:

    I suspect Doug R may have part of it — less expensive to transport the magazines cross-country.

    @Anne Laurie:

    The electronic thing doesn’t seem to be the case with UK knitting magazines — the ones I used to read offered electronic subscriptions for years. The subscriptions were hella expensive, so I never got one, but they did exist.

    The Interweave family of magazines (which includes crafts of all kinds, not just their several knitting magazines) is in deep financial trouble and may go belly-up soon, so that’s another reason I was wondering.

  74. 74
    dimmsdale says:

    @Splitting Image: “Jack Davis, Bil Elder, Don Martin, Sergio Aragones, Mort Drucker, Dave Berg, Angelo Torres, Al Jaffee, Wally Wood, Norman Mingo…” and to that list I’ll add the immortal Frank Kelly Freas. I started reading MAD in the mid to late 50s, and it was (seemed, anyway) genuinely subversive back then; if every now and then, when watching old 50s TV shows, you get a load of the TV commercials Madison Avenue thought America should be seeing, with their spectacularly conventional male-centered didacticism and decided lack of any subtlety or humor at all, you can see what a danger MAD was; demonized and prohibited by school principals, occasionally sued by humorless custodians of what we now call ‘corporate branding,’ deflating stuffed-shirts at all levels. Even your own parents were suspicious of it, which made it all the more attractive. Those were vastly different times, and MAD filled a desperately needed niche. Thank you Bill Gaines, and everyone else.

  75. 75
    Aleta says:

    We had one MAD Magazine, which some older visitor had left behind. Where Vultures Fare. It seemed very strange, and it took many reads before I figured out it was a satire of a movie (Where Eagles Dare) and its stars. Suddenly it was hilarious.

  76. 76
    Jay says:

    @Baud:

    There’s a lot more niche magazines about specialized subjects.

    Off the top of my head there’s close to a dozen magazines that cover off the collectors/owners and historians of Military Vehicles, half a dozen of which are broad based, the rest focuse intently on just one segment of the market, ( eg WWI only).

  77. 77
    debbie says:

    @Baud:

    I don’t know, maybe less maniacal in expectations of profits and more interest in providing actual information? We were expected to sell imports from England. They had so many niche publishers, what with books like “The Workhorse Handbook.”

    ETA: They were happy if a book sold a couple hundred copies. That would never fly over here.

  78. 78
    Steeplejack says:

    Fewer and fewer people appreciate “Don Martin toes.”

    The housecat can do Don Martin toes.

  79. 79
    Aleta says:

    Merrill Markoe @Merrillmarkoe

    Well, I guess now we know why Human Herpes Virus4 is known as
    EPSTEIN-BARR.

  80. 80
    chopper says:

    there’s something wrong with a world without MAD magazine in it. it’s like finding out an old best friend from back in the day has died.

  81. 81
    Steeplejack says:

    @Tokyokie:

    Under 50 bucks on Amazon, baby!

    It’s from 1990, and the blurb talks about “installing the program” and reading the disks with that. God, I’d almost forgotten those days. Recent reviews say it still works fine—on Windows—and one has instructions on how to get around the archaic “now insert this disk” program.

  82. 82
    Steeplejack says:

    @NotMax:

    I learned the deadly art of yubiwaza via an ad in a comic book.

    I’m a little rusty now, but my ki is strong!

  83. 83
    Seanly says:

    My uncles had an extensive collection of MAD magazines from the 60’s & 70’s. My brother & I read those cover to cover numerous times at my grandmother’s starting in the late 70’s. Tim Kreider’s take is precisely the lessons I learned from the magazine. Nothing is sacred, no one in authority is to be trusted, and everyone is trying to pull one over on you (see also A Christmas Story’s Little Orphan Annie decoder).

    What, me worry?

  84. 84
    L85NJGT says:

    @Doug R:

    ….complete collections of Mad, Cracked, and even the occasional issue of Crazy.

  85. 85
    Aleta says:

    I wanted a spider monkey but they were astronomically expensive. (Like 5 $ maybe.) Finally I saved enough to send away for the much cheaper LIVE! seahorses. The story haunts me with guilt to this day. They arrived—an impregnated male who gave birth the next day to many babies. They were more wonderful than I’d ever imagined. There was a packet of food included and a packet to turn tapwater into seawater. They moved beautifully. I believed I was on their level of understanding. After a few days my brother read the fine print on a coupon in the box and told me. You had to keep sending away for food and salt forever. I’d used all my money to buy them.

  86. 86
    LongHairedWeirdo says:

    @zhena gogolia: Yes, there was always fold-here art on the back of the magazine (I wouldn’t trust a mint condition Mad), and a key thing is, the *perfect* fold-here image was one where there was a statement/reaction or question/answer sort of thing as part of the game.

    So the punchline “This sucks balls” is a great way to highlight the art form, taken from “This su{fold here}upposed news about Mad closing is inevitable in an age where advertisers have so many other choices, and nobody’s kids are rushing to the supermarket magazine rack. Which revered publication is next? It’s as random as how a bingo machine pi{fold here}cks balls”

    (I’m glad to supply cultural referents, but if you can’t figure *how* I got the punchline, with the statement/punchline side by side, I can’t help you.)

  87. 87
    LongHairedWeirdo says:

    @Aleta: Oh, ow! That’s a horrifying thought for a youngish child. I have to say, that almost makes me yearn for the days when I’d imagine purgatory (I was raised Catholic) for people who do that sort of things. (E.g.: company CEO would be taken home by sea creatures to be kept in a cage, only to be thrown out, flushed, or left to slowly starve/suffocate over the next few days.)

  88. 88
    divF says:

    @zhena gogolia: Veeblefetzer! (which is real word, actually).

  89. 89
    am says:

    I have nothing of value to add except to say that Sergio Aragonés’ “Groo the Wanderer” is brilliant and underappreciated.

  90. 90
    Ian R says:

    I loved reading MAD when I was younger, but it honestly never occurred to me that they might still be in business. I guess that has something to do with why they aren’t.

  91. 91
    Matt McIrvin says:

    oh those Madison Avenue ad-men

  92. 92

    I guess it’s up to me-

    Blecch!

  93. 93
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @John Revolta:

    Thank you! I guess this is a good time to point out that that is the canonical Mad spelling, not the bastardized blech that we get here on a daily basis in the morning.

  94. 94
    prostratedragon says:

    A collection of Mad fold-ins:

    13 MAD FOLD-INS: An AL JAFFEE Celebration

    I think my favorite of this set refers to the Heisenberg Principle.

  95. 95
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @prostratedragon:

    Nice.

  96. 96
    prostratedragon says:

    @Spanky: Notice how those stations usually have a lot of floor space between them, more than the attended ones? That must be so that one is less likely to disturb one’s neighbors with the cussing.

  97. 97
    OGLiberal says:

    I grew up with MAD. It was what my parents got me when I was sick. Did the same for my son when (before, but sick) he was diagnosed with Crohn’s. Made him feel better. I just renewed his subscription. This is just terrible. He loves it. He awaits its arrival. He’s just 13, not nostalgic, like me. This is a huge blow. I hope their clearly anti-Trump stories was not a reason.

    My kid (s actually) are an anachronoism – they prefer hard copy over digital – and we, their parents, have already adopted digital. They like hard copy. Everything they watch is streaming but reading, they prefer hardcopy.

  98. 98
    rikyrah says:

    @glory b:
    Its importance during Jim Crow can’t be understated😢😢

  99. 99
    germy says:

    Mad closing is inevitable in an age where advertisers have so many other choices

    But Mad didn’t accept advertising. At least it didn’t when I subscribed.

  100. 100
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @OGLiberal:

    They’ll keep publishing “vintage” material, which will be new to your kids, presumably.

  101. 101
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Spanky: Uncle Cosmo’s First Theorem (Proverbs for Paranoids N+1, where N = number of PfP in Gravity’s Rainbow):

    There are only two types of people who should be allowed anywhere near computers: (1) Those who are immune to paranoia; (2) Those who are in love with paranoia.

    Face it, Cole – every frackin’ wunna them thar maa-sheens is out to get you. You. You personally.

  102. 102
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Spanky: For BG 1.0 (with Greene Lorne as the Big Kahuna) it was either Cattlecar Galactica or Battlestar Ponderosa – one was Mad, one was Cracked, can’t recall which.

    I recall a couple of fake ads:

    SPCA – Society for the Practice of Cruelty on Animals
    Bring your pet into one of our conveniently located torture chambers today!

    & from the same article (picture of sleeping woman’s face)

    Does she or doesn’t she?
    Only her Lobotomist knows for sure!

    These may have inspired a line in one of my poems about “the quick & casual cruelty of a child”…although upon further (& more mature) review, they were the products of some overgrown children’s puerile minds…

  103. 103
    debbie says:

    @Steeplejack (phone):

    Bastardized, or alternate? Good grief.

  104. 104
    zhena gogolia says:

    @divF:

    So is potrzebie!

  105. 105
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @zhena gogolia: Well, someone (not saying who) just bombed out of the Polish spelling bee. (It’s potrzebie = “need[s]”. I thought I saw this on shop signs a few times in Poland for stores that sold basic stuff, but I’m probably wrong.)

  106. 106
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Uncle Cosmo:

    I kept spelling it wrong even though I know perfectly well how it’s spelled! (I corrected myself.)

    You’re right.

  107. 107
    Don K says:

    I was turned on to MAD by an older cousin when I was around 8 or 9, and loved the New York Jewish wise-guy sensibility it brought to humor (I was a Protestant boy in South Jersey). I didn’t always get the humor, but that was part of the fun, much like Warner Brothers cartoons or Rocky and Bulwinkle. Sometime in junior high I drifted away. In high school National Lampoon came along, and I loved their irreverence towards boomer icons such as the Beatles. Now, I recognize the casual racism, misogyny, and homophobia embedded in their Harvard snob approach to humor, and feel bad about laughing as much as I did at the time. There’s nothing about MAD’s humor that makes me feel bad or guilty in the present day.

  108. 108
    EthylEster says:

    @Spanky:

    “Voyage to See What’s on the Bottom”

    Yes! And the Sinpiper, where the birds kept pooping on Liz and Dick.

  109. 109
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Don K:

    Same here!

  110. 110
    Mart says:

    I bought the Mad magazine during the last election season with the cover being Trump’s head as a jack-in-the-box and Alfred E Newman popping out of his brain. We were appropriately warned. Kept the issue. Should have bought two and kept one in wraps. In my yute would collect bottles to pay for the magazine.

  111. 111
    Bob7094 says:

    I used to buy Mad Magazine every month, probably mostly in the early sixties. I think I first became aware of the Viet Nam war because of a picture of gorillas in the Plain of Jars. I was soured on Mad when it had an article making fun of birth defects, including mine. I don’t remember if I gave it up completely with that issue, or just tapered off.

  112. 112
    Abe Seeman says:

    @Splitting Image: I remember Marie Severin doing great work for Marvel Comics in the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s, including their only satire comic, Not Brand Echh, their spoof on DC Comics. On the superhero side, she did amazing versions of Doctor Strange and the Hulk.

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