Former MAD editor Al Feldstein passed away yesterday at age 88. No cause of death was listed but his health has been an issue for a few years now, or so I have been told.
I never met or spoke to Al. He retired from MAD in 1984. I was busy graduating from high school that year and it would be another 16 years before I did my first MAD job. I did hear a lot of stories about him, though. Some of them glowing and some were not too flattering. Some gave him perhaps more credit for MAD‘s success than he deserved, and some perhaps less. What I gleaned from reading in-between-the-lines was that Al Feldstein was an editor who was smart enough to surround himself with very funny and talented creatives, and hard-nosed enough to keep those creative souls on task, and on time. No one can dispute that he took a brilliant but very erratically published comic book called MAD and helped turn it into one of the most successful and pop-culture influencing magazines of the 20th century.
I would have loved to have met him.
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918 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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