Mad #560 (Dan Telfer) - Scatological Issue - December 2019

The current Mad editors set the tone for this "Halloweeny" issue with their ugly toilet front cover.  Horror, filth and excrement have generally replaced the traditional Mad humor that I prefer.  Bill Gaines, Harvey Kurtzman and Al Feldstein are spinning in their graves/urns at this rendition of their beloved creation.  The centerfold of the publication is artist Tom Bunk's sextuple, splash-page tour-de-force ("Mad's Tom Bunk Goes to Hell").  Bunk can fill a page like no other UGOI but he rarely adds the humorous touch of Will Elder or Wallace Wood.  Instead of inside jokes and "chicken fat," we get overdoses of gore, ugliness and filth.  There is no doubt that Bunk is depicting his interpretation of the political world in which we live; but his repetition and excess just make it all blend together into a morass.  Writer/artist Teresa Burns Parkhurst does a much better job of expressing her opinions with "Donald's Seven Deadly Punishments."  Her clever statements about a dysfunctional president are much better and easier to read.  While artist Tom Richmond still seems to be trying to save the old Mad with his good work in "The Manmaid's Tale" and "Night of the Living Sequels!" parodies, his efforts are over-shadowed by the horror that surrounds them.  Also, we are once again insulted with another reprint of a fold-in as the talented Mr. Al Jaffee is still able to create more of these treasures.  It appears now that the last original Jaffee fold-in appeared in Mad #556 (West Coast #6).

Since the Mad staffers have telegraphed that future issues (starting with the next one) will be dominated by reprinted material,  this tenth West-Coast issue may soon be known as the last Mad magazine.  It would be a shame to end the run with such an awful issue.  I would prefer to consider Mad #550 (the last excellent issue from the New York staff) to be the last Mad magazine.  [JAM 10/9/2019]


02 Shorts & Briefs

05 The Wisenheim Museum: Doug P'Gosh (Generation Laugh Dept.)

06 Spy vs. Spy (Joke And Dagger Dept.)

08 Tim Burton's CGI Horrors From the Dizzy Vault (Malice in Wonderland Dept.)

10 Monkey's Paw: Humour While You Wait (Hand-Picked Dept.)

11 Meanwhile ... (Second-to-Laugh Chance Dept.)

13 Dr. Discomfort's Dastardly, Dreadful, Distressing Real-Life Escape Rooms (Flight or Fright Dept.)

15 The Manmaid's Tale (Women's Frights Are Human Frights Dept.)

20 A Mad Look at Hitchcock (The Serge-In General Dept.)

24 Joker Funnies (Insane Clown Parody Dept.)

25 Spirew & Bonesy (Smells Like Scream Spirit Dept.)

28 Dating a True Crime Fanatic (Sherlock Homes Dept.)

Centerfold: 2 Baroque 'Goyles; Mad's Tom Bunk Goes to Hell; Everybody Loves to Eat Raymond

29 One Fine Day in a Costume Shop (Costume Made Dept.)

30 Possessed Barbie (Toy Gory Dept.)

32 Hot Horror Planet (Hairy Fairy Dept.)

33 Spaghetti & Meatball Catch Hell (Pasta La Vista Dept.)

37 The MADifesto

38 The Lighter Side of Halloween (Bite-Size Humor Dept.)

40 The First Comedian on Mars (But It Played on Pluto Dept.)

41 Pillow Talk: Dating Advice for You and Your Dakimakura (The Good Stuffed Dept.)

42 Let's Have Fun with Donald's 7 Deadly Punishments (Hell to the Chief Dept.)

44 Have You Caught the K-Pop Zombie Virus? (Dead Beats Dept.)

45 Xander & Kam's Night of the Living Sequels! (Matinee Idlers Dept.)

48 The Dopiest Demons in Dungeons & Dragons (Conster Manual Dept.)

50 The Lobbyist (An Inconvenient Truffula Dept.)

51 ZAGAT Guide to the Best I.C.E. Detention Centers [fake content]

52 Incoming! (letters)

55 Meanwhile ... (Laugh Chance Dept.)

56 Real, Dumb

Fold-In - Reprint from Mad #414