Mad #332 (Nick Meglin and John Ficarra) - Revisited Issue - December 1994

I was a devoted Mad reader from 1958 through 1975.  The Mad humor was with me through adolescence, high school, college and into early adulthood.  The satires and parodies helped me to develop a sense of humor and to see humor in everyday occurrences.  It was a part of that which made life worth living.  Then, I went to work, got married and started a family.  I did not have much time to feed the part of me that needed humor input.  I stopped buying and reading Mad, but I kept the old ones in a steamer trunk for twenty years.

After twenty years, I decided to revisit Mad to see what had changed during that time.  The first thing I noticed was that I was actually able to purchase the December issue of Mad (#332) in December.  This had never happened when I was younger.  Mad, publisher on a 45-day cycle, was always published with a cover date two months later than the issue date thereby allowing it to stay on the newsstands longer.  I just always thought that was more Mad humor at work.  The price is still "Cheap!" at $1.95.  In the first 20 years, the Mad magazine price increased from 25 to 40 cents; from 1975 to 1995 the price has nearly quintupled.  I do not remember that much inflation.

The Cover of Mad #332 depicts the neverending O.J. trial as drawn by Friedman (not Mingo or Freas).  The cover is well drawn, but rather ordinary for Mad.  That idiot kid, Alfred E. Neuman (AEN) is in the envelope.  Amazingly, Mad #332 was removed from newsstands before Marcia Clark made her opening statement.

Mad humor is now available in the Business Reply Mail, e-mail and fax messages.  Mad has come into the computer age, but still does not take advertisements and does not sell mailing lists.

The format of the index has changed, but it still has a humorous quote from AEN.  I recognize the Joke and Dagger Dept. as well as the Berg's-Eye View Dept.  There is a strange bird on the page.  In the Letters Dept., I learned that the bird has no name [Flip].  I like the bird.  It has joined Arthur, zeppelins, the Mad Poiuyt and "potrzebie" - those very special bonds of humor that give comfort to true Mad freaks.  And, "the usual gang of idiots" are still at work.  I like the continuity.  Contributors like Mort Drucker, Dick DeBartolo, Angelo Torres and Frank Jacobs have maintained the Mad tradition.

I found "The Bus Flops Here" (Torres/DeBartolo), "Hanks for the Memories" (Drucker/Kogen) and "He Who Labs Last" (New Guys! - Bunk/Kadau & Raiola) to be the best departments.  Any of these could have been in Mad in 1958.  Some of the other articles were weak, but the Mad spirit came through.

My biggest disappointment came on page 23 in the "Jungle Feeble" department.  This satire of The Lion King opens with a page full of animals, but not one is drawn in a humorous manner.  Bill elder or Wally Wood would have crammed that page with gags.  We would have found Bullwinkle, Mickey Mouse and Tony the Tiger in the background.  [Sam] Viviano's artwork is good but it represents a missed opportunity that is definitely not in the Mad tradition.  Mad freaks live for the cluttered panel, the non sequitur, the hidden second level of joke that separates Mad from the Sunday funnies.

The second level humor is my measure of Mad.  In Mad #332, I especially appreciated the following:

Arthur is on pages 5 and 46.

Angelo Torres has strapped several bombs and "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" to Pain's body on page 12.

Dave Berg has included a portrait of late founder William Gaines on page 36.

Mort Drucker has put a Crayola on Lt. Dang's ammunition belt on page 45.

Three of the new "usual gang of idiots" have filled page 48 with at least 50 jokes.

That bird [Flip] is on pages 1, 5 and 36.

I like this 1995 Mad.  I have rediscovered my childhood.  I am a subscriber again and there are 150 back issues that remain for me to discover.  What?   Me Worry?  I read Mad.  [Jamlog - February 1995]

Court in the Act - How TV Networks Can Work O.J. Simpson Trial Updates into Their Regular Programming
Eviction Noticed - Not-So-Subtle Signs Your Parents Think It's Time You Moved out of Their House
Ringin' in the Lane - Mad Takes Car Phones for a Ride
The Bus Flops Here - Not Quite up to Speed
Tales From the Duck Side - The Freakish Funeral Finale; The Weird Western Whirlwind
Plane Nonsense - Strategic Aircraft for the Class Clown
Truth Ache - Brutal Honesty
Jungle Feeble - The Lion's Kin
Frank on a Roll - Louis Farrakhan Christmas Carols
Berg's-Eye View - The Lighter Side
Joke And Dagger - Spy vs. Spy
Identity for Two - Names of Music Groups as They Appear Elsewhere in Our Lives
Serge-In General - A Mad Look at Women in Uniform
Hanks for the Memories - Fairest Shlump
He Who Labs Last - America's Most Noteworthy Science Fair Projects

Fold-In - Senate