Mad #411 (Nick Meglin and John Ficarra) - John Caldwell's New York City Marathon Issue - November 2001

John Caldwell's time of glory was forever stolen by Osama Bin Laden and the Al Qaeda suicide pilots.  His drawing of Alfred E. Neuman breaking the tape at the marathon crime scene was pulled from publication at the last minute after terrorism struck the Twin Towers.  This avoidance of controversy by the powers-that-be at Mad surely caused Bill Gaines to rotate in his grave but not for the last time.  Since Mad has always been post-dated to sell more copies, the November 2001 issue was set to hit newsstands in the middle of September 2001.  For the record, the Caldwell cover shows runner #000 taking a wrong turn during the marathon and breaking a police tape over a covered dead body.  The cover idea was a perfect lead-in to the article ("Spectator's Fun Guide to the New York City Marathon") which consisted of eleven of Caldwell's best jokes.  I love the image of Dave Berg competing as a "miracle multiple amputee".  The NYC Marathon was held on November 4, 2001 so why not run the excellent Caldwell cover?  Did Mad think that they would be criticized for being a humor magazine?  There was no relationship between the cover idea and the acts of terror.  Only a stupid, petty person would make that conclusion. [JAM 3/1/2014]

Also in the issue is one the best "Monroe" jokes by Anthony Barbieri and Bill Wray.  On vacation in Southern California, our hero discovers Norm MacDonald on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Monroe & family then proceed to the studio for Wheel of Fortune where the contestant coordinator remarks that Monroe is "just the kind of sad sack pathetic player inbred Middle America can relate to."  This confirms my opinion that the character of Monroe was stolen from the Sad Sack comic strips and comic books that ran from 1942 to 1982.  Like Monroe, Sad Sack was a pathetic loser.

Thanks are due to Jeff Kruse ("The Pet Peddler") for confirming that Jack Russell terriers can perform magic tricks.

Color Pages: 35 of 60 pages (58%)
Humorous Content: 51 of 60 pages (85%)

Chimp off the Old Block - Planet of the Remakes
Put on a Happy Race - Spectator's Fun Guide to the New York City Marathon
Angster's Paradise - Monroe & ... The Great American Road Trip Part III
To Hal And Back - What the Film 2001 Predicted, What the Year 2001 Delivered
Is There an Adopter in the House? - The Pet Peddler
Balancing Axed - Under-Represented and Over-Represented Groups on TV
Joke And Dagger - Spy vs. Spy
Like Money in the Blanks - New Questions Based on the Stanley Kraplan SAT Prep Course
Serge-In General - A Mad Look at the Navy
Working Class Zeroes - The 25 Least Powerful People in Show Business
Socket To Me - What's Behind Grandpa's Eye Patch? [fake department]
Big Game Blunder - A TV Scene We'd Like To See: The Crocodile Hunter
A Swift Kick in the Career - Job Opportunities for the New Millennium
By George, I Think Sheen's Got It - In the Bartlett West Wing, In the Bush West Wing
Grieving Las Vegas - Mad's Celebrity Cause-of-Death Betting Odds  [Angelina Jolie]

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