Mad (Harvey Kurtzman magazine) - Educational Comics - 1955

In 1995, William M. Gaines, Publisher and Harvey Kurtzman, Editor decided to transform the comic book (Tales Calculated to Drive You ...) Mad to the magazine Mad (Humor in a Jugular Vein).  In so doing, they saved Mad from the Comic Book Code and the subsequent blackballing that killed all of the other EC publications.  All lovers of classic parody should be thankful for that critical decision.

Inside of the 64-page issue of Mad #24 are nine classic ad parodies, articles by known humorists (Ernie Kovacs and Roger Price), a movie parody ("Vera's Cruz"), a television parody ("Is This Your Life?"), newspaper comic parodies ("Brunettie", "Little Orphan Melvin", "Smilin' Melvin", "Li'l Ab'r", "Dick Tracing" and "Manduck the Magician") and hundreds of wonderful, detailed drawings.

The best of the parody drawings are Wallace (Wally) Wood's movie ad parody ("Gluggle!") with 94 detailed underwater characters ogling "Jane Outsell", Bill (Will or Wolf) Elder's crazy, celebrity-filled "Ordinary T.V. Audience" for "Is This Your Life?" and Jack (Jack) Davis's incredibly detailed, improbable fight scenes for "Vera's Cruz," the Gary Cooper-Burt Lancaster movie parody.  On page 60, Davis crams at least 30 jokes into two 2-1/2-by-3-1/4-inch frames.

The five Kurtzman-edited issues of Mad magazine produced an incredible amount of parody material including advertisements: "Bofforin", "Ironmaidenfit", "Mmboy", "Anaspirin", "Rubbaban", "Pund's Cold Cream", "Bind-Aig", "Jell-y", "Ipuna", "Leave Me or Leave Me", "Crazyroot Cream Oil", "Nddds", "Kennt", "Ol' Craw", "Armstronger", "Sanofranized", "Canadian Clubbed", "Marlbrando", "Beautydreamy" and "Beer and Billows Cotton Pick;" comics: "Popcorn", "Mett and Juff", "R. Morgan MD", "Starchie", "Poopeye" and "Black and Blue Hawks;" movies: "The Blackboard Jumble", "The Prodigious", "The Seven Itchy Years", "Ulysses" and "He Rose Tattooed;" publications: "Confidentially" and "Children's Primer;" sports: wrestling, baseball, boxing, golf, football and horse racing; television: "The Stark Club", "The Garrowunway Show", "The Ed Suvillan Show" and "Medical."

In a dispute with publisher Gaines, Kurtzman departed from EC after Mad #28 was published.  He took artists Will Elder and Jack Davis with him but Wally Wood decided to stay with Mad and its new editor, Al Feldstein.  Kurtzman and gang produced two issues of Trump for publisher Hugh Hefner, then started another comic book (Humbug) that was similar to the early Mad comics but could never achieve a satisfactory distribution.  Kurtzman and Elder finally achieved their greatest success as creators of Little Annie Fanny for Playboy. [JAM archive]