Monday 19 August 2019

Mad magazine signals end of an era after seven decades

The magazine has been published for 67 years.

The face of Alfred E. Neuman is framed by attendees at the DC booth during the first day of Comic-Con International (Kevin Sullivan/AP)
The face of Alfred E. Neuman is framed by attendees at the DC booth during the first day of Comic-Con International (Kevin Sullivan/AP)

By Rachel Lerman, Associated Press

Mad, the long-running satirical magazine which influenced the writers of the Simpsons and a string of comedians, is ceasing publication in its current format.

The illustrated magazine has run for nearly seven decades and is instantly recognisable in the United States owing to the gap-toothed smiling face of mascot Alfred E. Neuman.

The magazine will still be available in comic shops but will only print previously published material after its autumn issue after 67 years, publisher DC said.

Illustrators and comedians, including one-time guest editor Weird Al Yankovic, mourned the magazine’s effective closure.

“It’s pretty much the reason I turned out weird,” he wrote on Twitter.

Josh Weinstein, a writer and producer of The Simpsons – which has referenced Mad many times – thanked the magazine on Twitter for its inspiring effect on eras of comedy.

“There was a moment in so many of our childhoods where you were the greatest thing ever,” he wrote.

Comedian Harry Shearer, the voice of several characters on The Simpsons, joked about the news on Twitter: “An American institution has closed. And who wants to live in an institution?”

The magazine set itself apart as a cultural beacon for decades with its tendency to make fun of anything and push conventional boundaries.

One of Mad’s best known comic series, Spy vs Spy, featured two spies with beak-like faces and big eyes – costumes that are still regularly worn on Halloween in the US.

It even seemingly parodied fellow popular magazine Playboy, with its Fold-In feature that appeared in nearly every issue.

But instead of featuring scantily-clad models, the Fold-In printed  another joke.

When US president Donald Trump referred to Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg as Mr Neuman, while insisting he would not be fit to serve as president, the 37-year-old candidate said he had to Google the reference.

“I guess it’s just a generational thing,” Mr Buttigieg told Politico .

“I didn’t get the reference.”

Cartoonist Evan Dorkin, who worked for Mad, wrote on Twitter that the magazine was long a source of happiness and inspiration for him.

“I hope we provided some smiles to some readers of the past 12 yrs,” he wrote.

PA Media

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