I’m MAD!!!!

Last week, Mad magazine announced that it is the latest victim of the economic and print culture meltdown. Starting with the April issue, Mad will publish only four times a year. Mad Kids and Mad Classics, two spin-off mags, have been canceled altogether.
    I grew up on Mad. Alfred E. Newman (top) was my everyman. Founder Harvey Kurtzman, Will Elder (bottom), Basil Wolverton (first image, below), Wally Wood, and the “gang of usual idiots,” as noted on the masthead, were my heroes and saviors. I copied the art of Don Martin, Mort Drucker, Dave Berg, and Jack Davis. I savored the parody advertisements (like the “Crust Gumpaste” ad that showed the motorcycle gang member with his teeth knocked out). I loved the record album with songs like “When Your Pimples Turn to Dimples That Say I Love You” and “Nose Job.” And when I started The New York Review of Sex and Politics, my lawyer was Jack Albert, who was on the Mad masthead under “Lawsuits.” I met the co-founder, Bill Gaines when I was art director of Screw, a magazine that I thought was the sexual version of Mad.
    The magazine itself was my museum. It was the father of underground comics and underground newspapers. It was my introduction to anti-establishment satire. I still have the issues and paperback anthologies I religiously purchased as a kid. I haven’t avidly read it in ages, but I bought a subscription for my son (which only recently expired). The current editor John Ficarra says, “The feedback we’ve gotten from readers is
that only every third issue of Mad is funny, so we’ve decided to just
publish those.”
    What are some of the other great Mad moments?

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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

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