I grew up with MAD Magazine. We all did.
I remember buying the oversized publication eight times a year (they had a weird publishing schedule, but that was MAD). I would read the movie parodies, the television satires, and everything else in between. It was a gateway to some of the greatest published satire of our generation.
The news today that MAD Magazine – after more than six decades of quality satire and comedy and humor in a jugular vein – is greatly reducing, if not completely ceasing, its new content – is crushing.
So at the moment, MAD’s August issue will still feature new content, but subsequent issues will be sold only at direct-to-customer comic book stores, and will feature mostly classic content and reprints. This article has more information.
This sucks eggs.
I hate that this happened. I really do.
I understand why it happened – print media is shrinking, there’s plenty of satire on late night talk shows every night, MAD was down to a bimonthly format in the past year or so – but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
We all bought MAD Magazine. We poured through every article. We laughed at the surreal humor and we snickered at the visual concepts. Come on, how could you read a Don Martin cartoon and not laugh your head off?
Or going through the Lighter Side of Life with Dave Berg? Or the surreal humor of illustrator (and Capital District resident) John Caldwell?
We all did this. We all perused through the margins, looking for those great Sergio Aragones cartoons that were tucked away throughout the entire issue. Let the highbrow kids have National Lampoon, we had Al Jaffee Fold-Ins.
You liked SPY magazine? Hell, MAD had Spy v. Spy (and sometimes Spy v Spy v Spy, with the grey spy that took out both the white spy and the black spy).
I get it. We live in a crazy world right now, where it’s hard to even enjoy satire these days – what with the orange goblin hosting his own “Salute to My America” today while children are crammed into dog cages on our Southern borders. And we get our satire and comedy these days from John Oliver and Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah and Samantha Bee.
But think about all the concepts that came from MAD. Without MAD, we would never have had the Airplane! movies. We wouldn’t have enjoyed (and still enjoy today) Mystery Science Theater 3000. We enjoyed Dr. Demento radio shows and “Weird Al” Yankovic song parodies and OK GO music videos.
With MAD Magazine, we understood that humor and satire weren’t just funny words and pictures. They encouraged us to think. They encouraged us to question authority, to understand what it means to be able to laugh at ourselves and at our morals and our beliefs and our institutions – and to do so creatively, whether it involved a movie parody or folding the back cover of a MAD issue to reveal a hidden truth.
And in closing, I’ll let one more image of how I feel about the changes at MAD Magazine. And I hope you understand. I’m mourning the publication’s passing … but I’m also celebrating what it did for us baby boomers.
Take that, cultural norms.
What … me worry?