Mad Magazine, the humorous periodical whose snide and snarky take on contemporary American life influenced generations of children over the past seven decades, will apparently soon cease publication.
Mad illustrators David DeGrand and Evan Dorkin each independently confirmed the news, though Mad’s parent company, DC Entertainment, has yet to issue an official announcement.
“Today won’t end,” tweeted Dorkin, on Thursday. “Goodbye, MAD Magazine. As a youngster I was a huge fan of the 70’s era, as a young adult I rediscovered the 50’s comics, as an old nerd I somehow became a contributor (often working w/@colorkitten) for the last decade +. Getting the e-mail today was crushing.”
“I don’t feel bad for myself, we were discussing new work but nothing set or soon. We had a good run. Seeing MAD close down hurts, especially during a morbidly depressing year for cartoonists and the comics industry in general. And my heart goes out to the Usual Gang freelancers.”
I don't feel bad for myself, we were discussing new work but nothing set or soon. We had a good run. Seeing MAD close down hurts, especially during a morbidly depressing year for cartoonists and the comics industry in general. And my heart goes out to the Usual Gang freelancers.
— Evan Dorkin (@evandorkin) July 4, 2019
While not a Jewish publication, many of its most famous artists and writers were members of the tribe and Mad exhibited a comedy sensibility drawn from the Jewish experience.
Dorkin noted that it was “wild” that iconic cartoonist Al Jaffee, best known for his humorous “fold-in” back covers, “outlasted MAD as a living entity.” Jaffee, 98, is one of the Jewish contributors who helped shape Mad’s unique voice.
Founded in 1952 by EC Comics publisher William Gaines and Jewish cartoonist Harvey Kurtzman, the magazine held up a mirror to 20th century American life while adding a large dollop of Jewish-style humor. Its distinctive voice was created in large part by Jewish editors and artists like Al Feldstein, Don Martin and Dave Berg, who moonlighted as a cartoonist for the Chabad-run children’s magazine Moshiach Times.
Mad was replete with Jewish-sounding terms and sound effects, especially real and faux-Yiddish terms.
Mad’s circulation had been falling for years and it recently rebooted, starting over with a new “issue 1” in 2018 but that was apparently not enough to save the magazine.