Funny how life works.
Last week DC Comics and Time Warner announced that MAD will be going from a monthly to a quarterly publication, presumably due to dropping circulation amid the increasing costs and difficulties of a badly ailing magazine marketplace. Almost simultaneously, MAD began getting the most attention I’ve seen it receive in a long time from the media and on the internet from its latest issue, cover pictured above.
The inside of the issue featured “The First 100 Minutes of the Obama Presidency” as well as the feature I did the art for and previously mentioned, “MAD Exposes Who’s Thinking What at the Obama Inauguration”. The cover image is rendered even more funny considering that the White House refused to allow photographers into the Oval Office to photograph Obama on his first day of work, instead issuing approved pictures which were rejected by the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse in protest.
I’ve got something called a “Google Alert” set up that sends me daily e-mailed digests of links to any web page, blog or other web article published on the internet that includes the term “MAD Magazine” in it. Usually this results in a few links a day to people mentioning the magazine in passing for whatever reason. In the last few days I’ve received literally hundreds of links from news sites, blogs, forums and web ‘zines raving about MAD daring to take on President Obama both on the cover and inside issue #498, which went on sale the same day of Obama’s inauguration.
Here’s a smattering of some of the various viral chatter:
A Google search¬¨‚Ä† for “”MAD Magazine” Obama” will give you hundreds of similar mentions. This is by far the most internet buzz I’ve seen from a MAD issue since I started working for them in 2000. Most of the chatter seems to be that MAD is one of the first publications willing to criticize and make fun of “Obamessiah”… something only the right wing catering publications and media outlets have dared to do.
CNN aired a piece on the issue yesterday, featuring editor John Ficarra:
I would hope this will also would shut up all the folks out there who have been accusing MAD of being a left wing rag for the last 8 years. HELLO! MAD has always made fun of those in power, and goodness knows the Bush administration gave them plenty of fodder (although they took plenty of shots at Hillary Clinton and other prominent democrats as well over the last few years). This issue of MAD hit news stands the very same day Obama became president… he hadn’t even had a chance to do something stupid yet and MAD showed they don’t have a problem giving him the MAD treatment. Rest assured that MAD will not hesitate to ridicule Obama every chance they get… which is 75% less chances as of issue #500.
It’s unfortunate that this kind of publicity, which you simply cannot buy, is coming at a time when whatever positive effects it might have had on the circulation are rendered meaningless. Not that I think a little internet buzz would create that big a spike in magazine sales (although if this issue isn’t the biggest seller in recent years I will be surprised) but it certainly can’t hurt.
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