The definition of "parody" fill less than two inches of text in Webster's Third New International Dictionary (unabridged).  It is based on two Greek words that translate to "sing beside" and is related to the word "ode".  The definition of the noun is: "a writing in which the language and style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect or in ridicule often with certain peculiarities greatly heightened or exaggerated."  Another definition mentions: "faithful to a degree (to the original."  For a book or magazine parody, I take the liberty of restating this definition as: "It looks like the original subject and is created with respect to the original subject."  Or, I know what a parody looks like when I see one.  While many forms of humor can be identified as mean-spirited, a parody is usually a friendly, humorous reproduction.

A fair question would be: "Why do you identify 'Modern Magazine Parodies' as those published between 1925 and 2008?"  The best answer to that is that those are arbitrary dates selected by me based on magazines I have seen.  In the 1920s, Harvard Lampoon and Judge were producing parodies that look like magazines from the 1950s and that fit the definition.  The end date (2008) was selected because that was the year that the last Harvard Lampoon magazine parody (National Geographic) was published before I started this book.  The Harvard Lampoon folks are still working at their silliness but these days they seem to be concentrating on popular books that have been made into movies (The Wobbit, The Hunger Pains, Nightlight).  But then, Lampoon has always created excellent parody books (Alligator, Bored of the Rings, Doon).  Those books and others are not part of this study.

The most productive time for magazine parodies occurred in the post-World War II period when many major colleges had humor magazines - approximately 1945 to 1969.  An excellent study of college humor magazines and their parodies has been conducted by Cullum Rogers (  Mr. Cullum has traced the first Harvard Lampoon parody back to 1896 when two pages of a fake old Life humor magazine (1883-1936) were printed.  The old life was sold to Time Inc. in 1936.  Although this represents an amazing amount of research by Mr. Cullum, the 1896 parody just does not look like a modern parody to me.  I want full-color covers or brilliant MAD or National Lampoon-style humor.  Again, it is all arbitrary and everybody is entitled to an opinion.

I apologize in advance for the nine pages of tiny type devoted to the obscure ODD magazine (1957-1966).  I was inspired by the story of the precocious Herring brothers who wrote and colored their own comics in the style of Harvey Kurtzman's 1952 Tales Calculated to Drive you Mad comic books (that became magazines in 1955).  The Herring books were produced as originals only and some have survived to this day.  I worked with one of the Herring brothers to make copyrighted reproductions and sell them online for the first time.  ODD may be the rarest of parody magazines in existence.

The writing and editing of this book began with the purchase of my first MAD magazine in 1957; continued as I collected parodies through my work career; and then became a favorite retirement project.  It is probably not possible for one person to collect every magazine parody, but I believe that this volume recognizes a representative selection of the genre. A special thanks is due to Doug Gilford ( for his participation in this project.

Jerry Moore
May 2021