After decades of dopey humor and wonderful artwork, it may be time to say goodbye to MAD Magazine.
Rumors (and, sadly, more and more confirmations) are swirling online that the iconic satire magazine is reaching the end of its life. Various freelancers, writers and editors have taken to the web to say they have been laid off and reveal future plans for the magazine. According to various outlets, here’s the gist: DC Entertainment plans to release one more original edition of MAD, followed by a subscription-only issue. That will be succeeded by issues that feature recycled, old work. After that? It’s not very clear but many speculate that DC will shudder the magazine entirely in the near future.
Well, damn. This sucks. I feel partially responsible because I read MAD a lot as a kid but, as I got older, didn’t visit the magazine as much as I once had. I think that’s par for the course for many MAD readers. It attracts a certain (young) audience that grows old and moves on. Also, magazines as a whole are suffering in this modern age of smart phones. MAD had the cards stacked against it. It’s surprising they made it this far but it’s still a huge bummer to see it go.
MAD will leave behind quite the legacy, especially for budding pop culture aficionados. I can’t express how important MAD’s brand of humor was for its young readers. It was silly, it was obvious but still very smart. Outspoken and often brave, MAD took on the biggest films, shows and politicians with no fear. It was a prime example of how powerful comedy can be, the perfect form of protest. MAD had the ability to put things in perspective: it showed how silly some politicians were and how ridiculous many movies could get. It took everything and everyone down a notch.
MAD contained a brilliant combination of smart satire and downright stupidity. And that art! My goodness, was there anything as fun as seeing your favorite celebrity or movie being parodied by MAD? The artwork of Al Jaffee has always been undeniably incredible. In my opinion, being parodied by MAD and Jaffee was a badge of honor for people in Hollywood and Washington.
MAD Magazine taught many people what was funny and it encouraged those people to embrace what made them laugh. It wasn’t always the smartest - nor did it claim to be. It was completely aware of what it was: satirical and silly and damn proud of that. It was the “Weird” Al of publications. If you were to trace the evolution of your favorite comedian’s comedy styling, you would likely find MAD Magazine at the beginning. The magazine influenced millions and its affect will be felt for years to come.
MAD Magazine may be ending but its impact won’t be.