“Soul of MAD” On The Block

November 13th, 2008 | Posted in News

Well, tomorrow’s the day. Commencing at 1:00 PM CST, the Heritage House live auction begins on 36 rare and historic pieces of original MAD artwork including the “Soul of MAD”, a series of cover paintings that Bill Gaines and Co. considered most representational of the MAD zeitgeist. The lot includes the original painting seen above by Norman Mingo, which was the definitive Alfred E. Neuman image from MAD #30 circa 1956. Internet bidders have until 10:00 PM CST tonight to place bids online at Heritage House’s website. After that the live auction will decide the new owners of these classic and giant icons of pop culture.

It’s quite sad that this wonderful artwork is leaving the offices of MAD, but on the other hand they will hopefully be purchased by collectors who have a love of the publication and will allow them to be seen in gallery and museum shows.If I had a spare $50,000 laying about I’d be bidding up a storm.

You can see the complete list of all 36 original MAD works up for auction here featuring the works of Mingo, Bob Clarke, Frank Kelly Freas, Sergio Aragon?©s, Jack Davis, Jack Rickard, Bob Jones, Richard Williams and of course the irrepressibly itchy J. Fred Muggs.


  1. anne says:

    I agree that this is a boon for collectors but it is a shame this work is not more valued by the company for its historic importance than its potential monetary gain. Is any original MAD art archived at the OSU cartoon library?

  2. carlpeterson says:

    Do you think this is the the beginning of the end for MAD? It could be interpreted as an effort to cash in on the MAD brand before it’s no longer out there. That’s the only explanation that makes sense to me. Why else would they have held onto this great art for so long, only to sell it off now? I suppose it could be an effort to keep MAD afloat, but the pessimist in me thinks this is it …

  3. Tom says:

    No, I don’t think that’s the case. If they were planning on closing down the magazine, they would have waited until they did so before auctioning of that artwork. Then they would have gotten maximum dollar for the original art sales.

    I think this was just a case of the Time Warner beancounters deciding that half a million dollars was better off in their bank account instead of hanging on the walls of the MAD offices. As it was, the art sold for almost $750.00 http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/6113386.html.

    MAD’s “brand” is more valuable in publication than not.


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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