Sunday Mailbag: Big MAD Changes?

September 10th, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: With MAD’s move to the west coast in 2018, and the resulting almost complete turnover in editorial and art staff, do you expect big changes with the magazine?

A: I think changes are inevitable, but there is nothing wrong with that. Change can be a good thing, staying the same forever is a recipe for staleness, irrelevance, and eventually demise.

Certainly we can expect the new editorial and art team led by new V.P Executive Editor Bill Morrison, to put their own stamp on MAD. BIG changes, though? I don’t think Bill and co. will do anything to change the MAD zeitgeist… in other words, they won’t changes things so much that MAD stops being MAD. Bill understands the MAD voice, the irreverence, the self-deprecation, the non-stop questioning of authority, the seeing through of attempts to manipulate the masses, the pointing out of the absurdities in the world. I don’t expect that to change.

If anything, we may immediately see different choices in what subjects get the MAD treatment… not just in which movies or TV shows get lampooned, but what kind of subject matter different features take on. I have a feeling Bill will be recruiting some young talent for his staff and bring a hipper feel to the magazine. One of the things that encourages me the most about the choice of Bill to run things is that he’s got his feet planted in both the world of tradition and “old school” ways and the world of more modern sensibilities and humor. I think he will be able to bring a fresh feel to the magazine while still preserving the traditional MAD tent-pole features like the TV/film parodies, “A MAD Look at..”, Spy vs. Spy, the Fold-In, etc. Eventually we will probably see the introduction of some new recurring features that may or may not stick. I certainly expect a ramp up of online presence with the magazine especially on social media, and hopefully an increase in the promotion of MAD by DC.

I just finished up my contributions to MAD #548, which means only two more issues to work with the current long-time MAD staff. This makes me very sad since MAD really is like a family, and I cannot imagine not having constant interactions with Sam Viviano and the rest of the current staff. It will definitely be a different world, but knowing Bill as well as I do I am looking forward to working with him in 2018 and beyond.

Thanks to R Griffen for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me and I’ll try and answer it here!

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