Mad magazine may be shutting down

Part of the Mort Drucker-drawn parody of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service from the 1970s

Mad magazine, the humor publication that debuted in 1952, may be shutting down later this year.

David DeGrand, a writer and artist for Mad, said Wednesday night via Twitter he could “confirm” the upcoming end of publication.

Another cartoonist, Evan Dorkin, also took to social media to talk about Mad.

Goodbye, MAD Magazine,” Dorkin wrote in a separate post on Twitter. “As a youngster I was a huge fan of the 70’s era, as a young adult I rediscovered the 50’s comics, as an old nerd I somehow became a contributor…Getting the e-mail today was crushing.”

Neither Mad nor DC Comics had made an announcement Wednesday night. Both Mad and DC are part of AT&T’s WarnerMedia unit that also includes Warner Bros.

The Vulture blog of New York magazine said it obtained an email sent to freelancers by DC saying issue 10 of Mad will be the last one with original content. Mad will reuse features until subscription obligations are complete, Vulture said.

Mad had published 550 issues from 1952 to 2018. It went back to No. 1 in 2018.

The publication began as a comic book. It switched to a magazine format in 1955.

Over the decades, Mad published many parodies of James Bond and other spies.

They included “007” (April 1965 issue), showing what a stage musical featuring “James Bomb” would be like. The villainous organization ICECUBE is towing the U.K. to the North Pole. The head of the organization is revealed to be Mike Hammer, angry that Bomb had taken away his book sales.

The parody, drawn by Mort Drucker and written by Frank Jacobs, included songs were all sung to the tune of songs from Oklahoma! For example: “Poor Bond Is Dead,” instead of “Poor Jud Is Dead.”

The March 1974 issue of Mad that parodied the first eight movies in the 007 series produced by Eon Productions. The parody titles were Dr. No-No, From Russia With Lunacy, Goldfingerbowl, Thunderblahh, You Only Live Nice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Shamus, Dollars Are Forever and Live And Let Suffer. Mad later parodied other Bond films.

Mad in the 1960s also did parodies of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (which included Sean Connery’s Bond as a henchman), Mission: Impossible, I Spy and The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.

UPDATE (12:45 p.m., July 4): Tom Richmond, another Mad artist, confirms everything in a detailed post on his website. An excerpt:

I could go on and on about the end of an era and a true American original, about how MAD had an incalculable influence on satire, comedy in general, and the humor of the entire planet, how its pages regularly featured some of the greatest cartoonists who ever lived like (Harvey) Kurtzman, Jack Davis, Mort Drucker, Wally Wood, Will Elder, Al Jaffee, Sergio Aragones, Don Martin, Paul Coker… too many to list really. I could go on and on but all that is meaningless with respect to today. None of that history can be taken away, and none of it is a reason for the next issue to come out. In the end in this day and age, the only reason anything is allowed to exist comes down to money. If something is profitable, it continues. If it is not, it ends.

MAD is ending for the same reason anything ends… it’s all about the Benjamins.

Richmond writes that the company still owns all that artwork he cited. That’s still valuable content for future reprints and collections. Essentially, the company really doesn’t need new material the way Mad is selling.

One Response

  1. In the day we read everything “U.N.C.L.E.” and the parody in Mad Magazine was a big part of that!

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