It is curious that MAD – which lived between scandal and contradictions – quietly says goodbye. There is no official statement explaining what is happening behind closed doors of the Meredith Corporation’s editors, and only the dismissal of its director Dan Tefler and his duet, star designers Evan Dorkin and David DeGrand makes it clear. that the magazine will soon leave the stands
At the moment, the only thing that can be said for sure is that for a short time that he remains outside his life, MAD will devote his presentation content to a part of his archives, perhaps one of the most bizarre collections of vignettes and articles about American life in the second half of the last century. With its mixture of hostile humor and critical self-awareness, the magazine has become a disruptive showcase showing the hidden face of North America. Criticized and rented in equal parts The death of MAD marks the end of an era that changed the history of global humor.
Criticized and endorsed equally, the death of MAD marks the end of an era that changed the history of global humor.
This publication was one of the first to openly puritan morality of the USA in 1950, its provocative ability. There was no shortage of reasons: William M. Gaines, editor of the legendary Entertainment Comics label dedicated to science fiction, crime and terror, had already fought with strict censorship of the comic book code when it was one of a kind. He asked the famous screenwriter Harvey Kurtzman to create a publication that mocks everyone without any restrictions. A bold step after the publisher had to deal with bitter glass: before that was devoted to the publication of cartoons with pronounced violent content as a classic The stories about the crypt and Fear of Fearsuffered the onslaught of censorship of despotic power, which limited the problems and freedom of creativity in the world of comics. When MAD was first published, most of the CE catalog was banned and not used.
To avoid any form of restriction of humor and the theme of the magazine, in July 1955 (number 24) Kurtzman made a decision: he makes MAD an ideal place for a sardonic clown and a cheeky one: he made a magazine about it. Thus, Kurtzman guaranteed the preservation of the intellectual independence of the material to be published in the future, even after four years later he left the post of president of the publishing house. By the time Al Feldstein replaced MAD, she was already known for her absurd humor and extravagant way of reflecting the country’s society.
To become a surrealistic humor, MAD used all kinds of resources to create a funny original: from photomontages to now known parody commercials. The magazine was a big sarcastic joke from first to last page.
In the sixties, the famous “Alfred E. Neumann” – the famous child with the emblem of the publication – will come from the drawing by Norman Ming, inspired by the cartoonist Will Elder, was destined to become a talisman of the magazine and his most repetitive joke. But Alfred was much more than just a ridiculous face. It was a perverse opposition to the country’s so-called intellectual elite . With the face of a child from the depths of North America and his eternal, bobalic-like smile, MAD gave a new meaning to the phrase “What, I, anxiety? ”, Which accompanies the caricature on every page, the issue is published amid controversy, debate and controversy, which the magazine published in more than 500 issues.
No mercy with anyone
Redhead without teeth would pose for almost seven decades with the most symbolic and most popular personalities in the world and would become, in the symbol of the cruel parody of MAD . As a mass phenomenon, the publication caricatures and makes fun of almost all the relevant events and characters: “Alfred E. Neumann” appears in the cult scene Godfatheralso as R2D2’s special talent for dancing aboard the Titanic (and making fun of James Cameron’s ego), along with presidents like George Bush in the middle of the Iraqi crisis, Obama is unpredictable, he said “Yes, we can’t”, like the fifth person of the monumental Mount Rushmore laughing at the legal problems of Michael Jackson, and in his later versions he was seen sitting on an iron throne, which is also a sink in which the smiling redhead always imitated Ned Stark.
MAD was one of the first publications that used the absurd to criticize the Vietnam War.
Making fun of all sorts of situations, the magazine made a career of political and social humor. Until the sixties it was inconvenient in a very conservative American society. No wonder MAD was one of the first publications that used the absurd to criticize the war in Vietnam, and that its impact was enough for incessant jokes and anecdotes about what happened in Asia during the war become material. anti-war itself.
Over time, the influence of MAD has spread everywhere: its disruptive spirit was on television with MAD TV, a show whose format is very similar to the format of Saturday Night Live and produced by Quincy. Jones For fifteen seasons, he has released such stars as Keegan-Michael Ki, Jordan Peel, Wilmer Valderrama, Will Sasso and inspired by Mel Brooks, comedian Leslie Nielsen and “Weird Al” Jankovic.
The evolution of humor
Of course, this influence and his refusal to publish paid advertising – which he recently included – led him to legal defamation lawsuits (including the lawsuit he took). he got engaged when George Lucas asked to remove the number on which he parodied the Empire Counterattack ) and economic problems. In the early 1980s, the publication dropped sharply; it became even more obvious when in 2001, then director John Ficarra tried to change the format and even the general meaning of the magazine, unsuccessfully trying to make it “more accessible.” The magazine tried to transform itself, but this was not entirely successful: when he moved from New York to Burbank, it was known that for MAD he began the last straight line to the last stage ,
Currently, the vicious and harsh humor of the magazine has ceased to shock and even amaze. Perhaps that is why the DC Comics solution because of the intellectual heritage of MAD is more than just a business move, a way to protect the status of this heritage. Go back to classic publications and show why the magazine is a source of humor, as we know it today. Be a way to honor your heritage and return it with dignity. The long final laugh of the most famous joker of American culture.