It took a little over 57 years, but this week MAD Magazine‘s 500th issue hits the stands… thereby officially thumbing their noses at TIME Magazine‘s famous critical opinion of the publication as a “short lived satirical pulp”. MAD might not be doing well in this age of dying print publications, but lasting 57 years and 500 issues is no mean feat.
Upon my gently broaching the subject of whether or not I’d have a piece in #500, art director Sam Viviano told me he was being asked the sames thing by a staggering number of current and former MAD contributors.
The editors and staff wanted to have issue 500 contain as many of the artists and writers who helped MAD get to issue 500 as possible, so MAD took a sort of “kitchen sink” approach to the issue. They added 6 pages for a total of 58, with only 6 pages of ads (and that includes two pages for MAD subscriptions and MAD books/stuff). In fact, all four of the interior “paid” ads appear in the front of the issue, in the letters section and only one in the Fundalini Pages. After that it’s nothing but MADness.
Speaking of the Fundalini Pages, MAD expanded these to include additional content, including a few appearances by some long time MAD contributors who aren’t as frequently seen in the magazine or have been absent for some time. Don “Duck” Edwing and Paul Peter Porges each have a gag cartoon, Bob Clarke, Rick Tulka, and Paul Coker do spot illustrations. Some mini versions of classic and current features are also included in the Fundalini Pages. Al Jaffee has a mini “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions”, Sam Sisco does a “Celebrity Cause of Death Betting Odds” and there is a three panel “Monroe” mini comic. All the usual Fundalini features appear as well.
Interspersed throughout the issue are two page visual tribute collages to some of the highlights from 100 issue “blocks” of MAD. “MAD– Issues 1-100″ for example is filled with images from those issues including many artists who have passed away like Dave Berg, Bill Elder, Kelly Freas, Harvey Kurtzman, Don Martin, Norman Mingo, Jack Rickard, Basil Wolverton, Wally Wood and George Woodbridge. as well as many others still with us. The other blocks of 100 get similar treatments. Also throughout the issue are “MAD Factoids”… short but bizarre facts about MAD and the Usual Gang of Idiots.
There is also a feature called “A MAD Look at Marginals”, which features 500 of Sergio Aragon?¬©s’ favorite marginals.
Originally I was working on a two page gag article for this issue, but it got bumped (should be in #501) in favor of my doing a spot for a classic MAD feature, a song parody written by Frank Jacobs. The artist I am appearing with in the article are some heavyweight company: Mort Drucker, James Warhola, Gerry Gersten, myself, Angelo Torres, Harry North Esq., Richard Williams and Hermann Mejia. Gerry Gersten, Angelo Torres and especially Harry North have not been in MAD for some time, so it was great to see their contributions. Conspicuously missing from the new art “cameos” is the great Jack Davis… I have no idea why.
My assignment was a spot showing the “Big Three” automaker CEOs begging Congress for their bailout.
I was happy to get a piece in issue #500, especially considering the company I was with in the same article. In classic MAD fashion they make fun of their current publishing plight in the last panel of the article.
The sad part is, since I (mostly) have that two pager for issue #501 done, I will not get another assignment for MAD Magazine until the end of the summer at the earliest, unless they have me do something else for #501 as well. However MAD has other “irons in the fire” and there just might be some different projects and endevours from them that will get announced soon 😀 … so stay “tooned”.
253 Happy Thanksgiving!
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