Mad #291 (Nick Meglin and John Ficarra) - Special Mutant Turtle Issue - December 1989

It was not really that special for fake-Italian reptiles.  Atists Sam Viviano and Greg Theakston gave us a dozen name-o jokes on the front and back covers but there was no parody of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the inside.  I remember being puzzled by the title of the original cartoon series in 1987.  It seems that the TMNT were just ordinary turtles when they were "mutated by a mysterious radioactive goo."  How many comic book writers have used that convenient goo to create their superheroes?

The issue had much more to offer than the giant headband-wearing turtles.  The letters page editor scored an excellent victory over an NRA member by asking if the letters stood for "No-good-beer-bellied-narrow-minded-killers-of-wildlife-and-the-profits-soaked-in-blood-gun-manufacturers-who-bribe-legislators-to-make-weapons-easily-available-for-the-senseless-slaughter-of-hundreds-of-innocent-victims-every-year Rifle Association."  Viviano filled "The Blunder Years" with iconic images of the 1960s including the Star Trek transporter malfunction from Mad #115.  Writer Lou Silverstone exposed the Republican misinformation expert with his parody of Roger Ailes ("Mad's Political Image Maker of the Year").  In 1996, Mr. Ailes took his lie-machine to television as the president of Fox News Channel.  George H.W. Bush is correctly shown with a wind-up key on his back.  Paul Peter Porges drew his most clever article ("Fleeting 'Stars' of the Six O'Clock Local News") in many years.  Al Jaffee drew a great profile of himself and writer Stan Hart on page 35.  And, Mickey Mouse/Rat made a brief appearance in "Inbanana Jones and his Last Crude Days."  However, the best drawings in the issue were by the great Jack Davis ("No Hoax Barred").  The sketches by Davis again display his pure talent that dates to Mad #1 in 1952 and the EC comic books.  [JAM 11/12/2011]

In a major goof, the Mad editors allowed the issue to go to publication with two departments (pages 28 and 38) named "Serge-In General Department."  The one on page 28 was supposed to be titled "Hogan's Zeroes" as shown on the index.

Sixties-Something - The Blunder Years
Tales From the Duck Side - The Lusty Ledge Legend; The Feathered Feeding Frenzy; The Jarring Jungle Joyride
A View to an Ill - Comp-U-Doc Self-Service Medical Terminal
Big-Name Brands - More Items from Mad's Celebrity Supermarket
Joke And Dagger - Spy vs. Spy
For Your Prize Only - Why You Are Sure to Win the Next Magazine Publisher's Sweepstakes
Reaching New Hypes of Absurdity - Mad's Political Image Maker of the Year
Frank on a Roll - Baseball at the Bat
This Just In ... And Out - Fleeting Stars of the Six O'Clock Local News
Hogan's Zeroes - No Hoax Barred
Deflater Mouth - Mad's Big Ego Busters
Schlock the Presses - How Newspapers Write Misleading Headlines (To Jazz Up Otherwise Dull Stories)
Serge-In General - A Mad Look at Ghosts
Berg's-Eye View - The Lighter Side
Ford-Gone Conclusion - Inbanana Jones and His Last Crude Days

Fold-In - Apple