I got to start off with something I should have said waaaay back in January, and that is…
I know it is not really your Birthday, since you have been around in various forms for way longer, but the place you inhabit, the wonderful and crazy and cracked and excellent MAD Magazine, has been celebrating it’s 175th birthday this past year. Oh, wait, I mean 6oth. I really have to learn to count.
But back to your guardians of giddiness, MAD. I became a fan shortly after I was hatched, with the occasional issue landing in my lap over the years. The noticeable drop in my IQ with each installment must have been a total coincidence. Various Mad paperbacks also kept making my reading list, causing giggles galore throughout my younger years.
But Alfred I was never a regular, compulsive reader, and for that I am sorry. Seeking to correct this stupidity with even more stupidity, when issue 300 hit the stands I impulsively decided to become a dedicated fan. That’s right, I jumped headfirst into the MADdening world you live in Alfred.
Over the years every issue went from the newsstand to my hands, causing much mirth and merriment. Twice I have missed you, marring my almost complete run, and that was when your bosses put Furbees, and you in a box, on the cover. Still haven’t found those blasted issue anywhere Alfred, but someday I shall get them! You have made me very obsessed with your moronicness.
Shortly after that debacle, my Googliebear ordered me to get a subscription and avoid that catastrophe in the future. That solved that problem!
So now, several times a year, your smiling, gap toothed face graces my mail slot. Fits and folly soon follow. Starting with the cover, MAD shows it has the pulse on the world at large with very topical issues being disseminated. Your parody of “Dewey Defeats Truman” was spot on and very relevant, Alfred.
Moving onto the Letters and Tomatoes pages, filled with missives from your millions of minions, I always find your boss’s answers very snappy to some very stupid questions. But you never published my letter. Maybe I should have sent it to the right address?
The Fundalini Pages are cute and cuddly and contagious, all leading to the main dish. Your bread and butter almost since the beginning, the parody of whatever movie, television show, or current trend is most enamoring the masses today. What began with Superduperman in issue four and skyrocketed MAD to fame and fortune continues to this day. By the way, my personal favourite from those early times is Starchie, a lampoon of Riverdale’s perpetual teenager that appeared in issue twelve.
The rest of your mag Alfred is always a hodgepodge and potpourri of satires of currents events and people and politics made lovingly by your Usual Gang Of Idiots.
One of my favourite idiots, besides you Alfred, is the cartoonist and international man of mystery, Sergio Aragones. This man, this myth, this legend, has never erred with the creation of his wordless pages of pantomime. Another one filled with kooky kinkiness is Kuper, who supplies silliness with Spy Vs Spy. Tell me Alfred, are these agents of espionage really that mean to each other? Maybe you could broker a peace? Come to think of it Alfred, you would make one heckuva good President.
Newer additions to your home in the last few years have included the short humour hilarities called The Strip Club. Several up and coming and avant-garde creators have graced this section, helping MAD to keep itself cutting edge. I noticed these pages seemed sharper as a result, which caused several paper cuts on me. But I won’t say where Alfred.
Towards the back of MAD nowadays is a couple of pages of reprints from the Vault. I remember the olden days when this was a separate mag called Big Bad MAD, amongst other titles. Sixty years of your wackiness is a lot Alfred.
The ending of your wonderful wunderkind for almost every issue is the almighty and amazing MAD Fold-In. Al Jaffee, who just now finished parting hard this year for his 107th birthday, creates images which confound and confuse my cranium.
The current excitement of MAD is unparalleled Alfred. Was it your excellent idea to supplement your craziness with a blog, The Idiotical? Some of the “Best Of” from your interwebs show up in the back of MAD all the time. But Alfred, isn’t “Best Of” and “MAD” oxymorons in the same sentence?
All kidding aside, you and your boss’s have put out some great and funny stuff. Even after all the lawsuits, government inquiries, Up The Academy parodies, and an almost Mondale Presidency, it’s been a gas. What the late William Gaines and even later Harvey Kurtzman built from the ashes of EC Comics, has become the gold standard of humour that comedians from ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic to John Stewart to Yanni have drawn inspiration from. I love MAD so much, I even got the CD ROM Box Set with all your goodies inside. One compliant, it says on the box that it comes with a piece of your spleen Alfred, but nothing of the sort was included. Could you pluck off a chunk and mail it to me? Thanks a bunch, you are da man.
So I must be going now Alfred before I alliterate again all abysmally. Happy Birthday to you, to MAD, and to The Usual Gang Of Idiots.
You are the best at being stuupiid.
P.S. All images are copyright 2012 to EC Publications.
P.P.S. I am the proud (?) owner of the dvd Up The Academy, the movie MAD helped make. Words cannot do this thing justice.