Reviews For Mad Magazine

My Kind Of Humor

I love this magazine. I have been reading it since I was a kid, and I still enjoy it. I strongly believe that I developed my warped sense of humor from years of reading. This magazine is for people who don't take life too seriously, so if you're anal retentive and boring, then you won't like it at all. As a matter of fact,, you'll claim it's stupid. But thats okay,, we understand that not everyone can understand the humor behind it.

The writers and artists for the magazine do a great job of making light of everything that is out there in the world today. If it's ever been popular or newsworthy, there's a satire for it somewhere in the archives of Mad magazine. If you want a good laugh, go run out and buy a copy. You'll be glad you did!


America's best cultural magazine? Am I "Mad?"

I'm sure everyone remembers their first issue of Mad Magazine. It was odd, uproariously funny, and immature enough for everyone. My first issue was when I was about twelves, when my mom bought me an issue to read at the orthopedic surgeon's office (I had broken my arm about a week prior). However, I'm no kid anymore (or so the judge tells me). I'm a college student, looking to become a professional teacher, and I'm a respected reviewer for this website. How can I like something as immature as Mad?

Simply put, Mad is the most dead-on entertainment magazine available. Through a combination of peurile humor, self-deprication, excellent art, and witty writing, Mad has seperated itself from the pack of low-end satire mags (like Cracked) and made itself a true piece of American culture. Stop groaning out there.

First, Mad brings itself to attention primarily for its spoofs of popular movies and television shows. I think this results in the "Weird Al" syndrome - you pay more attention to the obvious mockeries than the subtle ones. As time has gone on, Mad's style has cleaned up considerably - which means that now, you can catch marginal jokes even better than before, and the magazine fits more in. While occasionally lewd, Mad also recognizes that sometimes, humor is best left suggested, and many jokes are subtle innuendos, much beyond what people would initially give the mag credit for.

Mad's jokes work so well because they first did what Mystery Science Theater 3000 became famous for - finding what everyone makes fun of about in a given piece of entertainment and finding the perfect gag to make about it. For a classic example, in their parody of "Big Daddy," "Big Bladder," they have someone go up to the kid and complain about his wooden delivery. Who would be such an expert on bad childhood acting? The block of wood that played Anakin in "Phantom Menace." I couldn't have come up with a better gag myself, and generally, Mad gives this kind of performance consistently. While it does occasionally foul up - I found some of their Pokemon parodies lacking the punch of other shots - Mad creates gags much better tha, say, your average night of NBC's "Must See TV."

However, Mad also has a rabid following because of their regular gags that appear often. Of course, despite the passing of its creator, "Spy vs. Spy" is going on as strong as ever, with a new airbrushed style that doesn't detract from "the famous duo of double-cross and deceit." Dave Berg still puts in regular duty with his clever "The Lighter Side Of..." which has modern lampoonings of everyday situations. Newer additions to this mix are sure to become classics - "Jenkins and Melvin," an answer to Highlight's "Goofus and Gallant," brings me to tears laughing every time. While Jenkins is even more of a proper gentleman than Gallant, Melvin is sure to provide a situation even more ridiculous than Goofus ever could. Almost frighteningly educational.

However, nothing showcases Mad's continued tradition of excellence like one new feature and one classic. Al Jaffee is still around, and he still makes a new, highly entertaining "Mad Fold-In" for the back cover of every issue. Therre is sure to be an off-beat answer to the fold-in, and the art is rather cleverly done - I still wish I knew how Jaffee does it. On the opposite page from the fold-in is a new regular feature which has quickly become a favorite of mine - the Celebrity Odds of Death listing. When I first saw it, it listed the various odds of the Spice Girls dying in various ways - "Terminal Giggling" had a 1:1 chance, while "Choking on a chicken bone during a dinner celebrating their 5th year in the music business" had over a billion to one shot. I enjoy this feature so much, I start with it first whenever I pick up a new issue.

One thing about Mad, though, is that the humor is aimed for all levels - I wonder if the writers had a steady diet of "Rocky and Bullwinkle" when they were younger. While there are plenty of obvious jokes for all ages, there is plenty of subtle humor, especially political humor, in each issue. Looking back on older issues I have, I'm surprised at how many jokes I didn't get because I didn't know much about politics then. If Mad felt like trying a bit harder, they could probably make a sister magazine that concentrated on politics. Of course, that would just scare people afraid of the magazine multiplying.

Mad isn't totally perfect. There are still occasional rough spots in the art, and sometimes, a whole section will just lack laughs, such as the first parody of Pokemon that Mad put together. Also, a new feature, "Monroe," usually lacks the punch and humor of the other segments - you can generally skip it. Also, Mad sometimes skimps over parts you wish were mocked, due to the limited amount of space the magazine has. I sometimes wish the magazine would expand and maybe carry a few ads (from Archie McPhee and other such companies) to pack in more sufficiently wickedly barbed jokes.

But in all honesty, this doesn't detract from the magazine as a whole. It consistently gives you more laughs than anything since Monty Python. Moreover, unlike most topical humor, it ages like wine, getting better with the passing years. And with the new humorous monthly features, the magazine is insuring that it will have a healthy continued existence. From 61 Man Squamish to Superduperman, from Spy vs. Spy to the Fold-In, Mad has helped define itself as a prominent piece of our culture. Find out why - while America may be going somewhere in a handbasket, Mad is here to save our sanity.


A MAD-Gone World

"MAD" Magazine is one of the funniest and one of the most successful humor magazines ever. It has been around in newstands, bookstores, convenient stores, and grocery stores all over for many generations now, and it has been a very big seller at each of those places. Millions of people have been subscribing to "MAD" as well, only to make their sales a lot higher and make this an even more successful magazine. There are even a lot of libraries that have "MAD" on their magazine racks, to where people are frequently checking it out there as well. It might seem that "MAD" is everywhere that they keep varieties of magazines, and it is quite popular and quite successful everywhere it is.

This magazine has been so successful, it has been inspiring books based on the magazine that have normally sold quite well. It also inspired a board game back in the 1970s and early 1980s, which did quite well back when it came out. It eventually inspired a hit TV series called "MAD TV" that has been on the air successfully for about five or six years now, and it is still currently on the air to this very day. It now has its own website that has many people logging in every day. That's not to mention the big CD-ROM kit with all "MAD" issues that have been out since the magazine has been in publication(which is a lot). So, "MAD" Magazine has also inspired plenty of other successful things based on it over the years to go along with its huge success.

"MAD" Magazine has always had Alfred E. Neuman on their covers. He is always doing different crazy things and he's always in different crazy positions with that same big grin on his face displaying that one big gap he has in his teeth. His crazy positions and the different crazy things he does are always worth a laugh, but that same big grin displaying the same big gap in his teeth has always been the unique thing about him.

The regular issues always have a quote from Alfred E. Neuman on top of their "Table Of Contents" pages. They are always changing known philosophical quotes around a little in humorous ways that are always quite clever.

"MAD" has always had their famous and popular "Spy Vs. Spy" cartoons. The original artist passed on a couple of years ago, but the cartoon lives on with different artists displaying the same clever humor with the same kind of drawings that the original artist pleased "MAD" readers for generations.

"MAD" also used to have the late great cartoonist Don Martin drawing short and silly, but unique and hilarious cartoons for them for many years before he moved to "Cracked" Magazine. He died just this past year. They still occasionally print old classic cartoons of his in their magazine, though.

A replacement for Don Martin was Duck Edwing who can also draw some short but hilarious cartoons.

Dave Berg has been drawing his "The Lighter Side Of..." cartoons for many years as well to make this another great "MAD" classic. He always takes "real-life" situations to view them in a realistic but humorous way. A lot of times, the funny part to these cartoons has been because that is how people in the situations displayed really feel a lot of the time, as well as what ends happening in them being something that really could happen.

Al Jaffee has done a lot of classics with this magazine as well. His two most famous works are his "Snappy Answers To Stupid Questions" and his "Mad Fold-Ins". His "Snappy Answers..." display a lot of stupid but commonly asked questions with some of the smartest and snappiest answers you might feel like saying at some idiot who just might ask you those questions. His "Mad Fold-Ins" always had a question to where you had to fold the page in as directed to see the funny surprise answer. He has done a lot other things as well, including helping with his people's ideas to perfect them. He has really been one of "MAD"'s most active cartoonists.

Sergio Aragones is another classic cartoonist with "MAD". He has done things like "A Mad Look At..." and those little drawn-out dramas at the sides, tops, and bottoms of pages all over each issue. He normally takes real-life situations and events, then looks at them in a satirical and very clever way.

Paul Peter Porges is another classic cartoonist with "MAD" who has a style real similar to Sergio Aragones. He has not done work with every issue, but he still has done a lot of classic work that was very clever and hilarious, which made millions of readers laugh.

There are also satires on movies in each issue of "MAD". They also do satires on TV shows. No matter what your favorite movie or TV show is, you can almost bet that "MAD" has all ready parodized it in a total different perspective from the way you see it. Then again, if there is any movie or TV show that you hate, "MAD" has probably then ridiculed it in the exact same way that you saw it. Those movie and TV satires have always been a big part of this great magazine.

"MAD" even adds humor to their subscription offers and their advertisements for the books based on the magazine. Even their letters to the editor from the public can get very hilarious at times. So, even in the few sections that are not entirely devoted to humor, jokes, and cartoons; they are still giving out a lot of laughs.


Totally Mad, CD Version, Buy It NOW

This is a seven-CD set of every issue of Mad Magazine from the EC comic book format of 1952 through 1998, put out by Broderbund. I'm writing this review here because I can't find the product listed anywhere else--if it belongs somewhere else comment on this and I'll move it. This is NOT a review of the current magazine.

For those of you who went through junior high school with your eyes closed, Mad Magazine is a humor comic book that specializes in parodies of TV shows and movies as well as a host of other subjects. Designed for a junior high/early high school audience, the magazine is sophomoric and tasteless in a belching, flatulent fashion. But beneath the puerile veneer are often some great laughs, the parodies especially. Even if you're not much of a fan, for sixty bucks or so this is a steal.

The program was easily installed on my Windows 95 machine. What you get is every page in the magazine, including ads and covers. They appear to have been photographed and then placed on disk and you can move the page around, magnifying if you want to see the jokes in the margins, or rotating it. The earlier issues (some of the most hilarious) are color and faded out. The later issues are sharper. You can bookmark articles and search for particular subjects or artists. It's kind of cool.

I admit that I was a big fan of Mad when I was in sixth through eighth grade, then I switched to National Lampoon. Much of the humor is now flat, adolescent, or dated. But this package is worth it alone for the parodies, some of which are hilarious even to the adult reader. The High Noon, Caine Mutiny, Dirty Dozen, Star Trek, Godfather, and Star Wars parodies all draw laughs and stand the test of time. There's also the usual classic features like Dave Berg, Spy vs. Spy, and the Mad fold-outs on the back cover. There's a surprising amount of political commentary that hits both sides of the fence. And the amount of material is unbelievable. With at least twenty minutes to read a given issue, sometimes much more, with over five hundred issues, you figure it out.

The package is also great as a piece of cultural history. Watching this magazine and its subjects evolve over thirty five years is a trip through American pop culture. The issues from the 50's and 60's are really a hoot. Younger and more sensitive viewers will have trouble getting some of the gags.

Even if you're not an old fan or nostalgia freak, this package is well worth the price. Just jump over the stuff you don't like. You'll find something funny sooner or later.


MAD: Hilariously funny

I bought this magazine because my best friend had it when I went to his house and I started reading it and I almost fell out of the chair I was in. This magazine is hilariously funny and does it without offending anybody. Some of the articles are a little too long and aren't that funny. The magazine seems to have good months and bad months, sometimes having a wealth of funny articles and comics, then another month it may seem that they lack the funnyness in the comics and other stuff. But overall this magazine is a great thing and everyone with a sense of humor should buy this magazine.
Other magazines have tried to look like this magazine but they lack the humor that only MAD posses. Other magazines I would reccommend would be ones that are comical and have the same aura as MAD. This is a must-buy!!!


It ought to be a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad world.

Mad is the only magazine I enjoyed as a child that I still enjoy as an adult - with the possible exception of Playboy, another magazine featuring biting satire and intelligent opinion, oh, and knockers and stuff.

If you haven't picked up Mad off the newsstands since Hector was a pup (that's one of our lovely Southernisms we use down this-a-way), then you should give it another look.

The centerpiece is still the movie parody, which I always skip because I'm a movie snob and never see the blockbusters the mag is parodying and just basically believe that blockbusters are themselves parodies of legitimate cinema, but it's the satire I love.

Mad is relentless in going after such villains as: cigarette companies and libation peddlers who market to young people; kids who go to college to partake of the products of libation peddlers and cigarette companies, rather than to like study and stuff; the incessant bungling and outright falsehood of our public servants; dumb fashion like wearing your pants well below your underthings; and dopey stuff du jour like Rosie's transformation from the Queen of Nice to the Queen of Mean or book clubs of the stars.

All of this, and it still has Spy vs. Spy and that mondo-cool back cover fold-in.

I find it hilarious that this subversive, edgy, cynical magazine is marketed to kids. Ha ha ha. It's really for adults. It's like the now defunct National Lampoon, only with the oh, knockers and stuff.

Buy your copy today! Or subscribe, which I should do since I buy it every month and pay more than I would if I had a subscription...


The Original Humor Mag!

Back in the 40s, when EC Comics had SuspenStories and Crypts and Vaults full of horror stories, out came EC's first humor comic, "MAD". Now, heading into 2001, "Mad" has moved from the comics realm to world of magazines. Unfortunately, there have been a lot of immitators ("Cracked", "Nuts", "Crazy", and "Stupid", just to name a few), but "Mad" stays on top and ain't nothing going to stop it.

With original stories and parodies, "Mad" keeps everything fresh with artists and writers like Mort Drucker, Duck Edwing, Sergio Argones, Dave Berg, and the late Don Martin. All of them never let anything stupid (I mean in an unfunny way) get onto their pages.

Some of the funniest things can be found in their special issues. My personal favorite is "Mad About The Movies", which celebrates the 75th anniversary of Warner Bros. (who have basically taken EC Publishing to it's glorious times of now) by running some of the best parodies of WB movies. Everything from "The Exorcist" to "Mars Attacks!" It's all there, and it's all funny as hell!

Sure, some of their stories fall a little flat, but they will always be funnier than their current competiton. That's right, "Cracked". In fact, "Mad" could have a dog [cendored] on their copy machine, and that issue would kick "Cracked"'s ass on any given day. I know it, and so do all of you.

Still, after so many years, some classics still live on. The one that I'm so happy is still being made fresh monthly is the "Spy vs. Spy" series of strips. It just kicks ass every month to see the white spy and the black spy try to take each other out and make all who read it laugh while doing so. Even though they have gotten a new artist for this series (I don't know if the original artist died or quit. Please tell me if you know.), but it still keeps me laughing every time I read it.

Another cool thing that is still in every issue is the little doodles my Sergio Argones that can be found in the margins of most of the stories. Just seeing those is always a plus. It's sad the fact that "Cracked" tried to bastardize this by putting little speech balloons where the Sergio drawings would be on a normal "Mad" issue and putting a stupid, pointless, "Forrest Gump" like question in them that is supposed to make the reader think. I don't think so.

Overall, loyal reader, if there is one humor magazine that you should get, it has to be "Mad." Don't stand for cheap immitations (I'm talking to you, "Cracked" readers across the world). If it don't say "Mad" on the cover, then it just won't do!

Trust me on this one. You'll thank me later.


The Usual Gang of Laughs

Are you in the mood for a huge dose of humor? Then pick up a copy of MAD magazine. Each issue runs about 3 dollars. Trust me, it is worth it. If you have never been lucky enough to read a MAD magazine, let me give you a walk-through. Each cover of an issue has a hilarious picture on it, somehow involving Alfred E. Neuman, MAD's "mascot" of sorts. Then the Table of Contents, this just tells you what is in the magazine. Nothing special, but it sure helps a lot. Without it you would be stuck not knowing where all th articles were. Then come the Letters. These are letters, most written by actual MAD readers, that are replied to by the editor with responses that are filled with wit. One repeating feature in the letter department is "MAD Celebrity Snaps". If a reader sends in a picture of themselves next to a celebrity holding a MAD magazine they get a free 3-year subscription. Pretty cool, eh? After the letter start the articles. Wow. This is what holds MAD together (other than the 3 high quality staples). There are recurring articles, and new ones. The new ones sometimes reflect modern issues specifically. But often they are just silly ventures into the artists and writers creative mind. But there are also recurring articles. Such as "A Mad Look At {subject}". These are wordless cartoons which provide a quick laugh. These are drawn by Sergio Aragones. He also draws out little cartoons in the margin throughout the magazine. Another MAD classic is "Spy vs. Spy". This cartoon details the misadventures of two battling spies. The black one and the white one. Normally a plan will backfire, and the other shall win. These are funny, and I look forward to them each issue. Another classic feature are the fold-ins. Each month Al Jaffee will create an ingenious drawing which will create another one when folded. These often reflect issues of todays life, and put a humorous spin on them. These are well appreciated. I would like to say that MAD magazine is appropriate for all ages. But some jokes are a bit racy for young people. A bit. It won't damage them for life or anything. But if you are one of those parents who go strictly by MPAA ratings, this magazine is the equivilent if a PG-13. Personally I give this magazines all the acclaim I have to give, and some I have out on loan. So if you are feeling blue, or just wanna laugh. MAD is the mag for you.


Mad-der than ever

Like a fine wine, MAD just gets better with age. Over the years MAD has helped shape our culture with it's irreverent brand of humor, poking fun at everything and anything popular or timely, and at itself most of all. For almost 50 years it's been the humor magazine that has defined humor magazines, spawning many copycat publications that just never measured up. Some of the greatest cartoonists of the 20th century were regular MAD contributors: Jack Davis, Mort Drucker, Sergio Aragones, Bob Clarke, Al Jaffee... the list goes on. It is an institution that continues to have strong content today, albeit with a difference.

Today's MAD is not as financially healthy as the old MAD of the 70's and 80's. Where it used to sell 2 million copies an issue, it now does about 250,000. This is not due to poor content, but rather a changing world where MAD's target audience has the attention span of a walnut, and are more interested in Nintendo and the web than reading a periodical. MAD's content is just as strong as ever, with satires of film and TV shows as well as tackling political, social and global issues with an impartial barbed tongue.

The artwork in MAD deserves its reputation as the best in the business. MAD is highly particular about it's artwork and writing, and it shows. The content has become spicier as the limit of the comedic 'edge' is raised every year (what used to be daring is now mundane), so MAD may not be appropriate for small kids. For teenagers through old age, MAD has a lot to offer including top notch humor, incredible cartoon art in a handsome, well designed magazine. The addition of color and better paper has given MAD a facelift to co-incide with newer artists and contributors. If you've never read MAD, do yourself a favor and pick up a few issues... you're in for a treat. If you haven't read MAD for a while, be prepared for a very different looking magazine, but keep an open mind. It's still MAD after all these years.


Ramblings and Ravings Dept.

"Who is that slithering blob... drawing nearer... and nearer...?"
"It's Melvin!"

These were the words of the cover on the very first Mad Magazine (formerly titled 'Tales Calculated To Drive You Mad). Back in the early 50s, however, Mad articles weren't as funny as they were slightly frightening. On the other hand, what do you expect from someone who used to do 'Tales From The Crypt'? Mad soon became funnier, once it started to parody specific things other than general topics, like parodying 'Archie' instead of comic strips. "Melvin" used to be Mad's mascot, but after several issues, they changed his name to "Alfred E. Neuman" the 'What, Me Worry?' kid. Soon, in the sixties, Mad got more organized as it added Don Martin, Dave Berg, and Al Jaffee to the 'Usual Gang Of Idiots'.

Nowadays, Mad has changed a lot. They have new monthly strips like 'Monroe' and 'Melvin and Jenkins' (a parody of 'Highlights for Kids' Goofus and Gallant). Unfortunately, there have been some unfortunate events (mainly the deaths of Don Martin and Dave Berg and William M. Gaines). Sergio Aragones, who has been doing the ‘Mad Marginals’, or the little drawings on the side of the pages, is often to be found signing autographs at comic conventions like Wondercon, in San Francisco, or Comic-con in San Diego.

Well, I can't go on forever, I wish I could. Goodbye. Get going. AMSCRAY! What are you doing still reading? I told you to amscray!