Mad #243 (Albert Feldstein) - Stan Hart's Best & Worst Issue - December 1983

The Christopher Reeve (1952-2004) series of Superman movies (1978-1987) brought great special effects to the big screen but the screenplays were flawed.  The professional movie writers just could not be satisfied with the mountain of material already available in DC Comics.  For the first movie, The Godfather writer, Mario Puzo (1920-1999) decided to bring Lois Lane back to life by making the Earth spin backwards.  In Superman II, Puzo released three criminals from "The Phantom Zone" and had them join forces with Lex Luthor (he would get Australia in the deal).  And now (Superman III) written by Team Newman, gives our hero a split personality and his co-star, Richard Pryor (1940-2005) plays a loser who somehow learns how to be a super-programmer in two weeks.  Pryor's main purpose in the movie was to play the guy who brings the huge black audience into the theatre.  However, the screenplay was so bad that Superman III grossed almost $50 million less than Superman II.

Mad writer Stan Hart brilliantly exposed the flaws of the Newman script in his parody version ("Stuporman ZZZ").  By this time, Mr. Hart had already penned over 100 television and movie parodies for Mad.  And, he wrote other stuff.  His other offering in this issue ("The Mad School of Parenting") was a waste of ink.  How many times have the same parental cliches been reassembled and repackaged as some kind of Mad "Guide" or "Catalogue?"  These trite examples of bad parenting are just not amusing anymore and they should have been retired by 1983.  Did writer Hart keep these in a drawer and bring them out whenever he needed a few more Mad filler pages?  However, George Woodbridge's parody of The Last Supper is a clever addition.

I had high hopes for "The Book of Mad" and its attempt to combine the efforts of seven Mad staffers into a biblical parody.  The concept was promising but the result only seemed to prove that any biblical humor was mediocre at best.  Artist Bob Clarke had the best joke with his ancient Mad zeppelin.  I also liked seeing Krazy Kat, Snoopy, Pluto, Smokey Bear and Albert the alligator in line for Noah's Ark. [JAM 2/10/2011]

Look for Ziggy, the Reagans and a great James Watt reference in "Stuporman ZZZ" and, Mssrs. Whipple and Spock in "T.S. Shnooker."

The Last Super - Stuporman ZZZ
BS.A.T. - Will You Make a Good Doctor? (A Mad Aptitude Test)
Clip Service - Don Martin's "Superman III" Out-Takes; Don Martin's "Return of the Jedi" Out-Takes
Kids And Make-Up - Cosmetics for Kids
Berg's-Eye View - The Lighter Side
Dire Reading - The Mad School of Parenting
Audio-Mobiles - Talking Cars of the Future
Designed Genes - If Certain Celebrities Married ... What Would Their Children Be Like?
Announcer Prevention - Amending the Rule Books to Cover Sportcasters
Humor in a Biblical Vein - The Book of Mad
Black-And-Blue And Read All Over - Job-Related Injuries in Non-Athletic Careers
Police Farce - T.S. Shnooker
Joke And Dagger - Spy vs. Spy

Fold-In - Football Strike