Another fantastic Wally Wood parody of the funny pages appeared in MAD #68 (January, 1962). Click the image for a readable view.
Posts Tagged ‘MAD’
January 4, 2012 by The Belated Nerd
November 16, 2011 by The Belated Nerd
Wood’s Li’l Abneh appeared in the same Sunday Funnies pullout from The Worst from MAD #4 as his Blondie and Pogo parodies. Panels from Elder’s Dopgatch Revisited are from Harvey Kurtzman’s Warren publication Help!
October 14, 2011 by The Belated Nerd
I just can’t get enough of these MAD comic strip parodies; it’s the element of truth in them that makes them so wonderful. This and fifteen more original comic strip parodies were part of a Sunday funnies pullout included with a MAD magazine collection in 1961 (The Worst from MAD #4). This one is by Bob Clarke, who may well have been the first to point out that Peanuts isn’t about children or dogs; Peanuts is all about an adult named Charles Schulz. Click the image for a larger view.
September 30, 2011 by The Belated Nerd
Spy vs. Spy, which debuted in MAD magazine #60 (1961), was the creation of Cuban political cartoonist Antonio Prohías. After drawing one too many unflattering cartoons featuring Fidel Castro, Prohías was forced to flee Cuba for the United States in 1960. He was soon hired by MAD publisher Bill Gaines and worked for the magazine until ill-health forced his retirement in 1987. A series of other cartoonists including Bob Clarke (with gag writer Duck Edwing) and Peter Kuper have kept the feature going to the present day.
Here is the very first Spy vs. Spy that appeared in MAD magazine:
Note that the earliest strips resulted in stalemate. Eventually the spies would take turns being the victor or defeated. Here are a few more such strips from 1961:
September 18, 2011 by The Belated Nerd
A little back story is necessary to really appreciate this 1961 MAD magazine parody by Wally Wood of Walt Kelly‘s Pogo comic strip. Kelly was drawing comic book adaptations of the Little Rascal films for Dell in the early 1940s when he came up with the idea for a comic built around southern swamp life. His first story appeared in Dell’s Animal Comics#1 and featured Albert the alligator, numerous other talking animals, and an eight-year-old black child named Bumbazine (Shown on the right). The only human in the strip, Bumbazine was portrayed as sweet, friendly and naïve, but Kelly felt awkward with racial stereotyping and soon retired Bumbazine with Animal Comics #12, replacing him with an equally innocent and naïve possum, Pogo. In 1949, Walt Kelly adapted the animal characters into the very popular daily comic strip, Pogo.
I’m unsure if Wally Wood is skewering Kelly here for replacing Bumbazine with a possum years earlier or just taking a pot-shot at Pogo‘s progressive cachet by implying a double standard in the segregation debate raging across America in the early Sixties.
September 10, 2011 by The Belated Nerd
Every now and then, while hunting down fifty-year-old ephemera, the zeitgeist of the era jumps right out of the pages of an old book or comic and just smacks me upside the head. That’s the case with this Wally Wood parody of Chic Young’s Blondie. This and fifteen more original comic strip parodies were part of a Sunday funnies pullout included with a MAD magazine collection in 1961 (The Worst from MAD #4). Most people today find nothing funny about domestic violence (even as parody), but its depiction here (and its victim’s reaction to it) is instructive about an all together different attitude prevalent in the early Sixties. Of even greater interest is the perceived decline of the great American white male and the adjustments needed to save the species. Click the image for a larger view.
August 15, 2011 by The Belated Nerd
Three very popular (and some would argue, similar) humor magazines were found on magazine racks in 1961. Even the publishers of SICK and CRACKED magazines would have privately admitted that they never stood much of a chance against MAD Magazine in terms of sales but the market was large enough to support all three magazines for at least the next twenty years. Because of MAD‘s sales success and endurance, the magazine’s mascot, Alfred E. Newman has secured an iconic place in American popular culture. His counterparts at SICK (The Little Physician) and CRACKED (Sylvester P. Smythe) haven’t fared as well.
Despite his carefree demeanor, Alfred E. Newman had to persevere to secure his permanent place on the cover of MAD magazine. His first cover appearance didn’t occur until issue 21, and then as just a tiny part of a mock ad. A rubber mask bearing his likeness with “idiot” written underneath was on sale for $1.29. His next appearance was three issues later when the magazine briefly adopted a complex border of images which included Alfred and his trademark tagline, “What? Me Worry?” Finally, with issue 30, Alfred appeared on the cover as a write-in candidate for president and has appeared on nearly every MAD cover since.
Unlike his counterpart at MAD, CRACKED magazine’s Sylvester P. Smythe was born at the same time as the magazine he appears on. CRACKED‘s little janitor has no tagline, in fact, as far as anybody can tell he is mute. He often appeared inside the magazine but never played any role more important than cleaning up somebody’s mess. Despite his relative industriousness, he never achieved the fame of the lay-about Newman and has even been proclaimed the least appealing character in comicdom by cartoonist Dan Clowes. Although I, like most everyone else, considered CRACKED to be what you read when MAD was sold out, I’ve always been able to relate better to the dim Sylvester than to the smartass Newman.
If you think Sylvester P. Smythe didn’t get any respect, consider the first mascot for Joe Simon’s SICK magazine. Known only as The Little Physician, this round-headed, four-eyed goofball with three tufts of curly hair would survive a mere twenty issues before being replaced by an Alfred E. Newman knockoff called Huckleberry Fink. Although he was only depicted as a doctor on a handful of covers, his occupation, at least, tied in with the magazine title. Besides delivering baby New Year from an egg with a rip saw, other covers show him performing surgery on a Thanksgiving turkey and assisting Ben Casey by handing him a monkey wrench to work on Frankenstein’s monster. Perhaps his most memorable cover appearance was on the cover of SICK #6 where he portrays every person in a busy city scene save one: