Book Review: Inside MAD (Mania.com)

By:Tim Janson
Review Date: Monday, November 04, 2013
Source: Mania.com

When I was a kid my brother, who was seven years older, had a box full of dozens MAD Magazines from the mid-1960s through the early 1970s and I must read each one dozens of times.  In fact, I had already been reading MAD Magazine for quite some time before I became a comic book fan.  Once I did, MAD became a regular purchase for me along with all the other Marvel and DC comics.  I loved the covers which spoofed popular movies and TV shows of the day.  I loved Spy vs. Spy, Sergio Aragones’ margin cartoons, anything by Don Martin, and the famous fold-in covers by Al Jaffee.  Apparently a lot of other people feel the same way.

Inside MAD is a double dose of MAD love.  Essays by famous celebrities expressing their adoration of MAD are mixed with current and past MAD creators who pick their own favorite strips and creators.   I supposed one might say that the book is self-indulgent to a degree but I found it more of a tribute and it is fun and surprising to read how many well-known people grew up reading and enjoying MAD.

Those people providing essays and tributes include Roseanne Bar, Todd McFarlane, Dane Cook, Ken Burns, Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Hawk, Ice-T, Penn Jillette, Harry Hamlin, David Lynch, George Lopez, and more.   Some of these are way too short to truly five you a feel for their history with MAD but some, such as George Lopez’s, go into great detail about how the magazine influenced him and his comedy.

Much more insightful though are the comments from the many great past and present MAD talents like Jack Davis, Jaffee, Angelo Torres, Mort Drucker, Paul Coker, Dick DeBartolo, and countless others.  Best of all, their favorite strips are reprinted for you benefit.  As a result, the book presents a great cross-section of MAD strips and talent from nearly the past 50 years!  MAD has always been about timely pop cultural relevance and one of the joys of the book is seeing what was big in the public eye from each of these time periods…from TV and movies to politics and sports, MAD’s spoofs have always done a brilliant job keeping up with the times.

The hardbound book is over-sized so it is able to present all of the great strips in their original size.  MAD has likely touched almost everyone’s lives at some point  and Inside Mad serves as both a great tribute and a historical look back at its storied history.

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Mania Grade: A-
Published By: Time Entertainment
Series: