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What, them worry? Yes, Mad magazine downsizes

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Smasher_Sloan, Jan 26, 2009.

  1. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    From Mark Evanier's blog:

    <i><b>We are dismayed at the news out of New York this morning: MAD Magazine — the most successful humor publication in the history of mankind if you don't count The Washington Post — is downsizing. Its frequency of publication is being slashed from monthly to quarterly and all its ancillary publications, like MAD for Kids and the reprint books — are being axed. There is or will be a corresponding cut in its staff.

    I am a devout MAD fan, having followed it through good times and bad. I have a complete collection. I've published a book on the history of the magazine and have interviewed just about everyone who ever was a part of it. I've written a few articles for the publication. And you see that painting up above? It's from the cover of MAD #46 and the Kelly Freas original to that painting hangs on one of my walls downstairs.

    That 1959 cover was a joke but the new cutbacks aren't so funny. Which is a shame because lately, the magazine has been. Its current editor, John Ficarra, and his crew have kept the old tradition but made it relevant to today with sharp writing. (John is being quoted today as saying, "The feedback we've gotten from readers is that only every third issue of MAD is funny, so we've decided to just publish those.") The only thing really wrong with the magazine is that, perhaps unavoidably, it's a magazine.

    Being a lover of its heritage, I'd be the first to trash Ficarra if the current MAD was unworthy of its name. It absolutely is not. But this kind of decline is very common in the periodical business. Playboy, this year, will only publish eleven issues and it isn't because the public is losing its interest in gorgeous nude women. Even before we all began living on the Internet and doing 90% of our reading there, magazines were on the way out. And since everyone got a computer, it's only become worse and worse. MAD has evolved to survive, adding color and advertising when that was necessary...but it can't escape the fact that people just don't read things on paper these days.

    MAD will not go away. It's too valuable a brand name to ever disappear. (National Lampoon is still around. It just hasn't been a magazine since around 1988.) Today's announcement probably translates as follows: "We need to keep the name alive and to keep key staffers and contributors in the family. But it's losing money and we're going to scale it back and minimize those losses while we figure out what to do with it." Its new configuration is not a long-range plan...and maybe that long-range plan, whenever they arrive at it, will restore MAD to its former glory in some venue.

    In the meantime, it's a shame. One of the best things about the magazine lately has been its topical humor, especially of a political nature. Being quarterly will kill most of that. Some of its best people (i.e., "The Usual Gang of Idiots") will probably go elsewhere, which will further wound it. I don't know what they can do with it but I hope they do it soon.</i></b>
  2. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    Gosh, I don't think I've read a MAD in about 25 years. I used to read it as a kid: I only got a little of the political stuff early on, but the satire was top-notch.
  3. Cousin Jeffrey

    Cousin Jeffrey Active Member

    I haven't read MAD since I had a subscription as a kid, but our college paper's cartoonist had an internship there, which was pretty cool.
  4. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member

    Mad's lost some of its punch since the broad culture went so determindly lower-middlebrow, but when GOOD movies and GOOD New York theatre mattered more in this country (through the mid/late '60s), their cultural takeoffs were beyond compare.
  5. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    They need to downsize Alfred E. Neumann's ears.
  6. Captain_Kirk

    Captain_Kirk Well-Known Member

    My first exposure to Godfather II was via Mad Magazine. I can still picture the art work with De Niro holding the gun in the towel. Don't remember the gag that went along with it.
  7. goalmouth

    goalmouth Well-Known Member

    I still have the vinyl record insert from the All in the Family satire. That one ended with an appearance by Hitler, who was swarmed by network TV execs begging him to do a reality show. Wonder how that would fly today?

    Talk about relevancy, in those days artist Jack Davis did covers for Mad and Time magazine.
  8. The Lighter Side Of...Economic Disaster.
  9. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    My all-time favourite Mad Magazine cartoon.

    Guy in a psychiatrist's office, lying down on the couch.

    Balloon caption:

    "I said people don't like me for some reason. Open up your ears, fathead"
  10. Birdscribe

    Birdscribe Active Member

    I used to take endless shit from my aunt and various teachers for reading MAD as a kid because it was so "trashy," as my aunt called it.

    Never mind the fact I learned all kinds of stuff from "Madison Ave.," to the concept of biting satire as a form of social commentary. I may have learned as much about American life, society and its influences from MAD than any other publication.
  11. Huggy

    Huggy Well-Known Member

    Loved MAD as a kid. Dave Berg, Don Martin, Spy vs. Spy, the fold-in on the inside of the back cover, laughing over parodies ofr movies I wasn't old enough to see. Good, good times.
  12. Birdscribe

    Birdscribe Active Member

    When William Gaines, the founder of MAD died, the lead to one of his obituaries read "What, me dead?"

    Absolutely priceless.

    During one of my lectures, I mentioned this example to the college class I used to teach as a way of displaying cute, capitalizing-on-pop-culture writing.

    None of them had a clue what I was talking about.
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