I had a paper route as a kid. It was nice because I had an income (not much, but a lot for a kid). With the money I earned, I would run up to the record store and buy records or tapes or maybe I’d go to Circus World and buy some new toy I wanted. If I wasn’t buying toys or music, I was in the book store buying my favorite magazine – Mad.
This week it was announced that Mad would be coming off the newsstands after an amazing 67 year run! What a shame this is! I remember picking it up and laughing out loud at so many things! As a kid, I always laughed at the humor and satirical content and often brought it to school and laughed with friends during lunch.
I will admit that it has been some time since I bought a copy of Mad, but I can recall some of the things I looked forward to each month:
Movie and TV Parodies
M*A*S*H became M*U*S*H, Different Strokes was Different Jokes, The Sound of Music was The Sound of Money, and the Godfather was The OddFather.
So many great satires and parodies were presented in Mad. I always loved reading them and found the comedic spins on character names creative and funny.
Spy Vs Spy
As silly as these comics were, I always wondered which Spy would wind up beating the other one! I don’t recall rooting for one Spy in particular.
Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions
Al Jaffee, was responsible for two of my favorite Mad Magazine features. The first was Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions. Who doesn’t respond with a sarcastic answer when someone asks you a ridiculous question!!?? I always loved this feature, and Al wrote many books based on this feature.
The Mad Fold-In
Al Jaffee also was responsible for this feature. There was usually some crazy drawing on the back cover. There was some scenario or question posed and you folded the back cover in and the answer and another drawing appeared from the original. It’s hard to explain, but this picture may help…
Incidentally, as of this writing, Al Jaffee is still alive and celebrated his 98th birthday in March!
Another great contributor to Mad Magazine was artist Don Martin. He was with the magazine from 1956-1988 and had some very funny characters. At one point in his career, he was promoted as “Mad’s Maddest Artist!” His stuff always had really generic titles like “One Fine Day at the Bank” or “One Tuesday Afternoon After School.” What I loved about him was that his cartoons always had some of the weirdest sound effects! What I mean by that is he’d spell out the sound effects that were going on and those always cracked me up!!! Here are a couple of his onomatopoeias:
SHTOINK (seen above) was actually his vanity license plate on his car. When I think of Don, I always think of my best friend, Jeff. I’m not sure why, but we still make silly noises and make up words when we chat on the phone and when we’re together. I am sure we spent many hours laughing at the “sounds” created by Don Martin for Mad Magazine! Sadly, he died of cancer in 2000.
Alfred E. Neuman
He was the iconic face of Mad Magazine who signature phrase was “What, me worry?”
Alfred’s face could be found on the cover of Mad, and when I’d walked over the rack, I’d look for his face to find the magazine!
The character itself has interesting origins and you can read about them on wiki here:
Alfred also made a record! Depending on the source, it’s either from 1963 or 1966 (some sources say it could be as early as 1959), and it was called “It’s a Gas!” With a name like that, you are correct if you thought it included “sounds a body with gas makes”. Drew and Mike played this often when they were doing mornings on WRIF. Enjoy it at the link below:
Mad is really one of the last satirical magazines around. Crazy Magazine stopped publishing in 1983 after a brief decade of issues.
Cracked magazine (which I often bought with Mad) ceased publication in 2007.
In a few weeks, the bimonthly publication will only feature vintage MAD content and be sold at comic book stores. The magazines will still be mailed to subscribers, and DC will continue to publish MAD books and special collections. Starting with issue 11 (Mad reset its numbering in 2018 after moving offices) in October, “new” issues of Mad will only feature new cover art, while the rest of the magazine will comprise articles pulled from previous issues. I am sad to see it go, and based on the things I am seeing on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and other social media sites, I am not alone.
In 2015, “Weird Al” Yankovic served as Mad Magazine’s first “Guest Editor.” Naturally, I bought that issue. Upon hearing the news of the magazine’s demise, Al tweeted: “I am profoundly sad to hear that after 67 years, MAD Magazine is ceasing publication. I can’t begin to describe the impact it had on me as a young kid — it’s pretty much the reason I turned out weird. Goodbye to one of the all-time greatest American institutions.”
67 years in publication! 67 years of satire. 67 years of laughs! Thanks, Mad!
In honor of Mad, I plan on using Sploydoing, Floourtz, Gluwwtch, Flaark and other onomatopoeias in my daily vocabulary for years to come!