Awright, so worry awready

This cover of The Nation from 2000 shows Mad’s staying power.

Ecch! Potrzebie! Mad magazine is taking the scenic route to the furshlugginer boneyard.

I spent a lot of time with Mad and its army of funnymen: Harvey Kurtzman, Don Martin, Wally Wood, Will Elder, Mort Drucker, Jack Davis, Sergio Aragonés, and the rest of The Usual Gang of Idiots. And I wasn’t their only fan.

Here’s a superhero Marvel hasn’t wiped its corporate arse with … yet.

In “Comix: A History of Comic Books in America,” Les Daniels called Mad “one of the most popular and influential mass circulation magazines in the country,” adding: “Along with Hugh Hefner’s sexy Playboy, it was one of the only two magazines produced in the Fifties that were successful innovations (excepting, of course, the reader service of TV Guide).”

In mourning the demise of “a true American original” on this Fourth of July 2019, contributor Tom Richmond wrote: “In the end in this day and age, the only reason anything is allowed to exist comes down to money. If something is profitable, it continues. If it is not, it ends. Mad is ending for the same reason anything ends … it’s all about the Benjamins.”

I gave Mad my Benjamins — OK, so maybe they were more like Washingtons — and oy, did it ever influence me. Mad led me down a twisted, anarchic path to Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, The Firesign Theatre, Zap Comics, The National Lampoon, and Monty Python, among others.

It was a trip worth taking, so much so that I’m still on it.

Poit. Sklishk. Sploydoing.

Sergio Aragonés had a go at cycling.

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12 Responses to “Awright, so worry awready”

  1. gary burnette Says:

    In a sense, the world has become so idiotic and, well, mad, that we can’t even parody it anymore. “MAD” was an escape and a thumbed-nose at the puffed-up, self-centered, square morons of our Great Society. Now? They’re having a soviet-style “parade” to puff up their “leader” as I write. I only hope for one of those tanks to swivel its turret around at the reviewing stand, for one MAD soldier to fire one MAD shell for the Great Leader’s Great Ending… HA!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      We gotta hope that Oddball has one of those Shermans loaded with paint rounds, at least. Make some pretty pictures.

    • larryatcycleitalia Says:

      Yep, as they say “you can’t make this s–t up”. These days it’s hard to tell Mad Magazine or The Onion from publications that are not supposed to be funny or sarcastic. Late-night TV comics get their material for free these days – do they even have staff writers anymore? IMPEACH THE…you know the rest.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    I have to admit that this is in part my fault, not having followed Mad for a few decades. But back in my gloriously misspent youth, it was a staple. Also a source of many gags that we replayed among some of my college buddies.

    Oot greet to all,

  3. larry brown Says:

    first it was George Carlin now Mad Mag you know you are only the one left, well not the only one you know what I mean.


  4. Pat O'Brien Says:

    No more Spy vs Spy.

    An Aussie Alfred says, “What, no worries.”

  5. SAO’ Says:

    Confession time: the 16 year old version of me took maybe 3 years worth of Don Martin cartoons, taped them together with packing tape I stole from the Army movers, and then wall-papered 3 walls of my bedroom. I can’t believe my parents let me keep it up. Must have assumed it would be an effective form of birth control.

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