Monday, November 14, 2011

Mad Man

Between the ages of about 9 and 13, virtually every kid in the country went MAD, and I was certainly no exception. Unlike the comics, I didn't hang onto my collection, but fortunately the folks at EC put out a massive CD set about 10 years ago, with something like 500 issues of the seminal American humor magazine. Here are some of the bits I remember reading back then.

For some reason, the song parodies always worked with me:
I remembered that one virtually word for word except that in the first stanza I recalled it being "then you know you've got..."

The Spy Vs. Spy series was always hilarious, and I suppose most of us remember that the morse code under the splash reads "By Prohias". But how many remember that there was a short-lived third spy, the grey woman?
I suspect she was eliminated because she always won, upsetting the general balance between the black and white spies. Of course, after awhile, even the dullest reader must have figured out that whoever won the splash battle clearly lost the panel bout, and the guy who seems to be winning in the first three panels always dies in the last one. BTW, there was a pretty entertaining computer game for the Commodore 64 back in the 1980s featuring Spy Vs. Spy.

Everybody remembers the terrific movie and TV parodies, often illustrated by the incomparable Mort Drucker:
There were lots of funny bits involving photographs. For some unknown reason, this one just popped out at me:
For the life of me, I can't imagine why I remember that.

The covers were mostly forgettable; even though I bought lots of issues in the 1964-1967 timeframe, this is the only one I specifically remember:
And it's not because I got the joke; it's because I saw it at a friend's house and somebody had poked holes in poor Alfred's eyes.

Of course, MAD did lots of stuff we didn't understand; a lot of the political humor went right over my head. But that was okay; we were used to not getting the joke all the time, and MAD prepared us for National Lampoon in the 1970s, where, for the most part, we did.

MAD had so much more; those terrific little gags in the margins that I'd need a magnifying glass to see nowadays. Or Dave Berg's endless "The Lighter Side of..." series. Or MAD's maddest artist, Don Martin. Or those amusing fold-ins on the inside back cover.

I'm sure that most of you know that MAD actually started as a regular-sized comic book. One thing that I was not aware of until recently was just how many imitators there were. Everybody remembers Cracked, but there were easily a dozen others.

1 comment:

Diane said...

I remember the "Meat Eater's Lament" as well, but only the third verse verbatim. That runs through my head every time I eat at Denny's, for some reason...