MAD #500 Sneak Peek

April 21st, 2009 | Posted in MAD Magazine

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.

For MAD #500

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”.


  1. Bernard says:

    Nice Inside scoop here Tom. I’ve read Mad (off & on) now for very nearly 40 of those 50 years. Sometimes taking huge breaks but always coming back for the art.

    Not to dwell on it but when reading your list of HOF artists I just assumed that Jack Davis would be in this issue as well since he was probably my favorite or at least the one I remember most.

    It’s really cool coming over and reading your blog articles and being able to gleen a little info into the life and work of published artists. This almost was impossible back in my early days of drawing and inspiring to be one myself.

    As always, thanks for taking the time to share.

  2. I’m very glad that you have plenty of other sources of revenue to fill in MAD’s new less-frequent schedule.

  3. Nate says:

    I really tried to get into this one, but didn’t make it. I’m anxious to pick it up though (as always) and check out your work, along with all of the other greats!

  4. This is a great post Tom. I was 9 years old and remember passing around those first year’s issues. There was nothing like that. Amazingly the content has stayed pitched right at my level for all these years. How do they do that?

  5. Brad says:

    looking forward to getting mine in the mail! i am sad that Jack Davis won’t be in there…

  6. I can’t wait to get my copy in the mail. With this new quarterly system, I have 4 years of Mad magazine coming my way.

  7. […] week MAD magazine publishes its 500th edition after 57 years. MAD magazine cartoonist Tom Richmond tells us what to expect this week: The editors and staff wanted to have issue 500 contain as many of the artists and writers who […]

  8. […] unnoticed in light of the change to quarterly publication status, MAD Magazine is celebrating its 500th issue. With the long-running serial comic book fading from existence, I think it’s safe to say we will […]


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