Goodbye MAD Magazine
After 67 years of movie parodies, lighter sides, spies killing spies, and other shenanigans, the humorous publication started by EC is finally calling it a day. After the fall issue hits the newsstands in August, future issues will be solely reprints of older material, except for the year-end issue, which will be all-new content. So I hope all diehard fans of wickedly observant social commentary will join me in saying “Goodbye, MAD Magazine!” with these 11 snappy covers from their history.
Why 11 covers?
Hey, they aren’t called the “Usual Gang of Idiots” for no reason…
Also, all of these images were downloaded from Doug Gilford’s amazing MAD Cover Site. You should visit that site for more trips down a most humorous memory lane…
Issue #61, March 1961
This magazine cover appeals to my inner “word nerd”.
I mean, the writers were clever enough to figure out that 1961 is spelled the same way right side up and upside down, CHECK.
They also pointed out that 1961 is “The First Upside Down Year Since 1881” and “The Last Upside Down Year Until 6009,” CHECK.
The cover also looks the same right side up and upside down, with the phrase “No Matter How You Look At It – It’s Gonna Be a MAD Year” driving the concept home, CHECK.
Educational and clever, or “Edutainment” as BDP would call it, peace to KRS ONE and R.I.P. Scott La Rock.
Issue #142, April 1971
Honestly, I’m just really feeling this cover right now.
MAD Magazine always ripped American politics a new one, Democrat and Republican. No politician was safe from the razor-sharp wit the staff writers provided every issue.
Every four years, MAD‘s poster boy Alfred E. Neuman would announce his candidacy on the publication’s cover. While it always played as a funny attention-getting joke, these days I believe that he would actually win.
Issue #198, April 1978
Before we say “Goodbye, MAD Magazine“, let us reminisce about the time where MAD Magazine fought the system. They didn’t always print real ads and plaster their art with UPC codes, and when they had to, they fought back hard and with creativity.
Issue #289, September 1989
This cover stands out for me because I am a huge comic book nerd, which is why I write for a website called The Nerd Stash. Tim Burton’s Batman was a milestone in comic book movie history, and the Superman logo on the Batsuit was a great precursor to the future bloated but gorgeous turd that would be Batman vs. Superman Dawn of Justice.
Issue #354, February 1997
I have very fond memories of this issue of MAD Magazine because I remember buying it myself back in Junior High. Looking at the cover takes me back to being an impressionable pre-teen, an innocent child who was forever warped by the jokes inside this publication. This issue is where it all started for me.
Did I get all the jokes? No.
Did I laugh at all the jokes? Yes.
Still waiting on the verdict for that one…
Issue #277, March 1988
“And I always go out dapper like Harry S. Truman
I’m madder than MAD’s Alfred E. Newman”
Beastie Boys, “Shadrach“
MAD Magazine loves to reference pop culture, and every once in a while, pop culture likes to pay homage and reference the Usual Gang of Idiots themselves. Bonus points when the reference is made in a song, extra bonus points when it’s an artist I like.
When MAD Magazine covers like this not only pull off the elusive “double parody,” where they not only parody the subject material but also the design of said subject material’s logo, many many bonus points are scored. Ultra bonus points if the magazine is parodying an album cover.
More bonus points than I can even imagine are scored when eighties Michael Jackson is the subject of said album cover parody, so the March 1988 issue of MAD Magazine hits a lot of notes for me, higher notes than the King of Pop himself could hit back in the day.
Goodbye MAD Magazine and R.I.P. Michael Jackson.
Issue #364, December 1997
What’s so great about this cover?
If you’re unfamiliar with Seinfeld and MAD Magazine, then I don’t know what to tell you. Watch an episode or two of Seinfeld with the big guy from Jurassic Park in it, learn his name, then come back and re-read this article.
I look forward to seeing you again.
START BACK RIGHT HERE AFTER YOU FINISH WATCHING THOSE EPISODES.
Well, what did you think? Isn’t Seinfeld hilarious? I mean, I know it’s a little dated, a little too topical to make sense in today’s climate, but it’s still funny to me. I would like to see Jerry do a bit where he riffs on all the technological changes that have occurred since the show was on the air.
Issue #1, October/November 1952
You can’t have a list of 11 snappy covers for a Goodbye MAD Magazine tribute without bringing up the cover that started it ALL.
Before Cracked, College Humor, and all the other imitators, there were Tales Calculated to Drive You MAD. Satire wasn’t a huge thing back then, and MAD set the bar high for all who would dare to follow.
And it leaves to the imagination what Melvin looked like, which was a genius move…
By the way, isn’t it weird how MAD didn’t start out with Alfred E. Neuman as their mascot? He’s so synonymous with the publication now that it’s hard to imagine that he wasn’t around on day one.
Issue #83, December 1963
“In order to sell products these days, Madison Avenue, Hollywood, Television, Other Publishers…everybody exploits SEX but we’d never stoop that low!”
Pitch black background and a simple sentence printed in a few small white letters and THREE BIG PINK ONES.
A simple concept that simultaneously satirizes the ad industry technique of “selling sex” while simultaneously achieving the desired effect of said ad industry technique.
I did pick it to be one of my snappy 11 covers, after all.
Issue #242, October 1983
I mean, the issue has Mr. T as Darth Vader AND Alfred E. Neuman as one of those pesky Ewoks?
Do I really have to explain this to you?
So from one idiot to the “Usual Gang of Idiots”, Goodbye, MAD Magazine!
Husband, parent, writer, emcee, cassette tape collector