Mad #365 (Nick Meglin and John Ficarra) - Happy Holidays - January 1998

Number 365 was the last (I hope) of three consecutive issues that were printed with and without borders.  I like the border art.  This was probably a test by the DC suits to compare sales results.  The four different covers of the "Cheap Gimmick Issue" (No. 359) was a clever joke but the disappearing border was not.  I think the best border to date was Paul Coker's Soup Nazi in the "Seinfeld Issue" (No. 364).

The best cover of the three [Nos. 364-366] was Mort Drucker's wrestler-accordian in No. 366.  This was the 28th cover for Drucker which places him fifth on the all-time list behind Mingo (83), Williams (56), Rickard (32) and Freas (30).  Since Rickard and Freas are not active, it is reasonable to assume that Drucker will eventually be third.

I thought the best combinations of story and art were "A Punch in the Knows Dept.: Americans are Smarter than Ever" by Geary & Snee (No. 365), "And They Called It Yuppie Love Dept.: Fairview Estates" by Blackwell & Eisenporth (No. 366), and "Bugs Funny Dept.: Starless Troopers" by Drucker & DeBartolo (No. 367).

Rick Geary has a drawing style that is simple but distinctive.  His characters are right on the money and, I especially like the cigar-smoking "Y" chromosome.  Geary first appeared in issue number 341 ("Martha Stewart Remakes the O.J. Trial").

Gerry Blackwell made an excellent debut in number 366 with his yuppie drawings.  Let's see some more of Mr. Blackwell.

It's hard to beat the Drucker/DeBartolo combination.  Issue number 367 was the 136th consecutive for DeBartolo, the most for any Mad contributor who does not do drawings.  The longest current active streak is held by Sergio Aragones (256).  The Aragones streak goes back to issue number 112.  [From MADlog #11 - I stand corrected again.  A wise and anonymous Mad maniac has informed me that Dick DeBartolo has the longest current streak in Mad.  DeBartolo's streak began with issue number 103 and has continued even though writing credit was not given in several issues - 133, 150 and 168]

Other things I liked: Christmas carols by veteran writer Frank Jacobs; DeBartolo's "Nic-o-Stop" ad; Jaffee as actress fan; the liposuction war by Bunk & Eisenporth ( I love the expressions on the faces of the patients); the Tom Bunk wanted poster; drawings by Bob Staake for Mad's "1998 Movie Preview" (No. 367); "Route 666."

I still didn't like: "Melvin & Jenkins" and "Monroe".  The artwork is poor and the writing is repetitive.  Monroe's mom is OK and I like the fact that artist Bill Wray usually gets Stimpy into one of his panels.  M & J should take a hike.

Other notes: Dave Berg was featured in 2 of 3 [Nos. 364-366]; Berg holds the all-time record of 323 consecutive appearances (Nos. 34 to 356); isn't it about time for "Spy vs. Spy vs Spy"? [MADlog #10 - April 1998]

Bashing Through the Snow - Christmas Carols for Dysfunctional Families
Hire Education - Sure Signs Your Job Interview Isn't Going Well
Let's Get Ready to Grumble! - James Bond Villains' Pet Peeves
The Schmucks Stop Here - Melvin & Jenkins' Guide to Sportsmanship
Future Schlock - Fearless Predictions for 1998
Babes in Boyland - G.I. Shame
A Download of Bull - If Truth in Packaging Laws Applied to Computer Software
Joke And Dagger - Spy vs. Spy
Claus And Effect - Office Christmas Party Mistletoe Agreement
Angster's Paradise - Monroe & ... Grampsy
Berg's-Eye View - The Lighter Side
Tales From the Duck Side - The World According to Carp
X's And Oh-Oh's - The Dallas Cowboys Off-the-Field Playbook
A Punch in the Knows - Americans Are Smarter Than Ever
Disc-Claimers - Badly Needed CD Warning Labels: The Hip Hop Edition
Thumb Like It Not - Siskel & Ebert Trash Home Movies
Serge-In General - A Mad Look at Soccer
Grieving Las Vegas - Mad's Celebrity Cause-of-Death Betting Odds

Fold-In - Cigar Smoke