Happy Birthday, today, MAD Magazine! It’s a shame DC Entertainment decided to effectively bring this once great title to an ignominious end earlier this year, when the magazine switched to a nearly all reprint format. But all might not be lost, thanks to former MAD contributors, Desmond Devlin and Tom Richmond…
Here’s the first issue of MAD Magazine, launched in October 1952. It was written almost entirely by Harvey Kurtzman. The title soon came under Senate investigation, thus entering the records of the US National Archives. This led to the comic book being transformed into the humour magazine many fondly remember, until the bean counters moved in, that is and ceased all origination and sacked most of its staff.
One of these early issues of MAD is on display in the US National Archives’ permanent exhibit, The Public Vaults, in Washington, DC.
If you’re missing MAD‘s brilliant movie parodies, well – there’s good news!
Tom Richmond, a longstanding contributor to MAD Magazine, wants to keep the spirit living on with Claptrap, working with fellow former MAD contributor Desmond Devlin to keep making parodies because they want to keep reading them, too! In fact, they plan to to make enough new movie parodies to fill a book and you can find out more about these plans, currently seeking crowdfunding here on Indiegogo.
“Last year, amid many other cutbacks, DC Entertainment cut new material in MAD down to about 20% of the content, the majority of pages being reprinted material,” Tom explained in an article for Claptrap over on Bleeding Cool. “One of the first things they axed was the film and TV parodies. Recently they cut back even further, and MAD is basically 100% reprints. With Cracked and all other MAD wannabes long gone, this effectively ended the printed movie/TV parody genre.
“It made Des and I very sad, and not just because we weren’t going to get paid to do them anymore,” he continued. “We loved reading them as much as we loved writing and drawing them. We looked forward to seeing the spoofs of shows we loved or hated, whether we did them or not. The kind of art and writing found in these spoofs were timeless, unique, and very entertaining…
“… Des and I really want to keep this genre alive. It’s been a staple of American pop culture for a long time, and it’s as relevant today as it was when MAD first spoofed a film with King Kong back in 1953 because Hollywood keeps making new movies!”
The first film to face parody is Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. “After four decades of Star Wars parodies, it would be a crime against humour for the last Star Wars movie to be the only Star Wars movie not to get its own spoof,” says Tom. “There’s a comedy hole at the end of the saga, and we’re going to fill it!”
The first volume of Claptrap (how’s that for unwarranted confidence?) will contain at least ten original, full, never-before-published movie parodies – so the spirit of MAD as it was meant to be will, hopefully, live on!