Mad #551 (Bill Morrison) - First West Coast Issue) - June 2018

The new editors of Mad would like you to think that they are somehow "rebooting" the magazine.  The entertainment industry in Hollywood loves their sequels, reruns, recycles and reboots.  These are the cash cows to be milked.  But, they are naive to believe that they can do the same with the greatest humor tradition in the history of this country.  And, without the excellent work of the "Usual Gang of Idiots," this transition could have been a flop.  Mad veterans Tom Richmond and Desmond Devlin propelled the issue with "Star Bores: Half-Assed Jedi;" and then Richmond (with writer Ian Boothby) delivered the perfect parody ("Starchie Reconstituted") to connect with the Mad comics origin invented by Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder.  Both of these Richmond gems are packed with the chicken-fat, background jokes that initially grabbed my quarter and keep me sold on Mad to this day.  Other members of the UGOI who made this transition a success are Al Jaffee, Sergio Aragones, Dick DeBartolo, Teresa Burns Parkhurst, Peter Kuper, Peter Bagge, Kenny Keil, Bob Eckstein, Alejandro Rivas, Carrie Strachan and Timothy Shamey.  My favorite sight gag of the issue is the Michael Palin character from Monty Python's Flying Circus crawling up the hillside to introduce another episode with "It's ..." 

But, what about the new stuff that can be found in amongst the UGOI material?  I thumbed through 13 pages of "Potrzebie Comics" and found not one example of background humor or much background art at all.  The "It's Bring Your Sidekick to Work Day!" compares to Wallace Wood's "Superduperman!" as  Adam West's Batman on TV compared to Detective Comics and Gil Kane's Batman.  There is basically one joke in each of the three parts of "PC."  The caricatures in "The 27 Club" could have been drawn better by Mort Drucker's left foot.  And, "Boonies, Burbs and Burgs" has the look of the "Monroe" series that I never liked.  If PC is to be regular feature of the new Mad, I would like to see better art.  The short movie parodies ("Mad's Movie Mogul Guide" and "Gun Man") are OK but I would prefer actual drawings of the same.  Other changes: "The Fundalini Pages" is now "Shorts & Briefs;" and the letters have been moved to page 52.

My overall impression is that the new Mad is in good hands with excellent contributions from Mad regulars.  My recommendations to Mr Morrison et al. are to keep the art at a high level and give us more stuff on each page of new material. [JAM 4/17/2018]

Contents:
02 Star Bores: Half-Assed Jedi (Judge Me By My Dept., Do You?)
08 A Mad Look at Harassment (Serge-In General Dept.)
13 Make America Greet Again: New American Greetings by Donald Trump (Get Hell Soon Dept.)
16 Spy vs. Spy (Joke And Dagger Dept.)
18 The Wisenheim Museum: Ron English (Things We'd Like To Mount Dept.)
19 Potrzebie Comics (Plus a gripping adventure of Chokie the Chicken [not really])
20 It's Bring Your Sidekick to Work Day!
23 The 27 Club
28 Boonies, Burbs and Bugs (New Twist on an Old Wrinkle Dept.)
32 Mad's Movie Mogul Guide: Marketing Chick Flicks to the Dude-Bro Demographic (Bros Will Be Bros Dept.)
36 Pop Culture That Didn't Make It Into Ready Player One (Nostalgia Ad Nauseum Dept.)
38 Starchie Reconstituted/Riverdull (Disapproved Reading: Another Mad Time Warper)
42 Where's Waldo's Rotting Corpse (Post-Nuclear Apocalypse Edition)  [fake article]
47 Movies We'd Like to See (On the Cutting Room Floor) - Too True to be Good Dept.
48 Shorts & Briefs
52 Incoming!
55 The MADifesto
56 Real, Dumb

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