Mad #423 (Nick Meglin and John Ficarra) - Golden Anniversary Issue - November 2002

This is one of the greatest issues of Mad ever produced.  At 74 pages, it is the longest regular issue although 20 of the pages are ads (most ever).  Therefore, I still rate Mad #24 as the best with 68 uninterrupted pages of humorous content.  However, this 50th anniversary issue was loaded with terrific stuff.

1. The cover shows 50 versions of the Norman Mingo "Alfred E. Neuman" head arrange to form the number "50".
2. Inside the front cover is a double-page collection of 98 caricatures of the Usual Gang of Idiots.  
3. The first movie parody ("Road to Sedation") by Arnie Kogen contains some spectacular color drawings from the pen/brush of Hermann Mejia.
4. Pages 16-18 chronicle "The Mad 50th Anniversary Timeline 1952-2002".  I disagree with the comment that "... Alfred E. Neuman made his first appearance on the border of Mad (#24) ..."  The "idiot kid" appeared on the covers of The Mad Reader and Mad #21 before Mad #24 was published.  Missing from the timeline is Tom Koch's "43-Man Squamish", the best article ever (Mad #95).  However, I was very happy to see the nod to the production of Totally Mad, a software program in which I participated.
5. "Monroe" showed some color for the first time.  The color drawings on pages 24-27 are the best artist Bill Wray ever produced for Mad.
6. The cheesecake drawings of Martha Stewart and Angela Lansbury ("When Other Magazines Follow Maxim's 'Sex, Beer & Babes' Formula for Success") by Scott Bricher are my favorites in the issue.
7. Sadly, the last drawings by Dave Berg appear on pages 47-50.  Although Berg died on May 17, 2002, he had completed enough articles in advance to be in the golden anniversary issue.
8. The best article in the issue is "Cents-Less Coupons" by Scott Maiko with photos by Irving Schild.  Mr. Maiko filled this four-page parody with some excellent Mad-style jokes including "Funclumps" and "Windpipe Lodge Mini-Turkeys".  Read every word.
9. The 50th would not have been complete with the five-page movie parody ("Minority Retort") by Dick DeBartolo and Mort Drucker.  All of the classic Drucker sight gags are in this one.
10.  A crossword puzzle is on pages 66-67.  I have a rejection notice from for the puzzle I sent several years before Patrick Merrell's puzzle made the grade.  As puzzles go, this was an easy one to complete.
11.  Appropriately, co-editor Nick Meglin made four appearances in the issue.
12.  Jaffee's fold-in - a drawing of Mad magazine of course.

Publisher Bill Gaines and format creator Harvey Kurtzman would have been proud of this anniversary celebration. [JAM 4/6/2014]

Color Pages: 58 of 74 pages (78%)
Humorous Content: 54 of 74 pages (73%)

Hanks for Nothing - Road to Sedation
Mock It on Your Calendar - The Mad 50th Anniversary Timeline 1952-2002
The Chat 'N the Stat - Mad Deconstructs TV Talk Shows ... This Month: Late show with David Letterman
Angster's Paradise - Monroe and ... PlayStation 2 Part Two
Award to the Unwise - People Who Should Have Won This Year's Nobel Prizes
Joke And Dagger - Spy vs. Spy
Serge-In General - A Mad Look at Advertising
The Schmucks Stop Here - Melvin and Jenkins' Guide to Breaking Up
Knock-Off, Knock-Off! Who's There? - When Other Magazines Follow Maxim's "Sex, Beer & Babes" Formula for Success
Berg's-Eye View - The Lighter Side
A Wound with a View - Mad's Picks at Celebrity Scabs  [fake department]
All Hail Scissor - Cents-Less Coupons - Your Money-Saving Circular
Dislike a Version - America Online 9.0 Ad
Oh, Be Hazed! - The Distinguishing Warning Signs of a Crummy Fraternity
Wrecking Cruise - Minority Retort
Blanks for the Memories - Mad's Ridiculous 50th Anniversary Crossword Puzzle

Fold-In - Mad Magazine