What? Me Worry! MAD Turns 43

OK, so we blew it. If we had been thinking straight (but then, that's

an impossibility), we'd have told you that the legendary humor

magazine MAD had turned 43 earlier this month. So sue us. No,

don't do that. In any case, MAD had a profound influence on ATN

editor & publisher Michael Goldberg. While he missed the first decade

or so of the magazine (only catching up much, much later), by the time

he hit his pre-teens Goldberg could be found hanging around the corner

drug store waiting for the new issue to arrive. Yes, after a while he

actually subscribed to MAD. The first issue was published at

the end of the summer, 1952, and was dated Oct.-Nov. The headline on

the cover read: "Tales Calculated To Drive You MAD," with the subhead:

"Humor In A Jugular Vein." The magazine was published by William

Gaines, who had already become successful publishing the

soon-to-be-controversial EC line of comics, including Weird

Science and Tales From the Crypt. MAD's editor was

the truly talented Harvey Kurtzman. It was Kurtzman who chose to

parody movies, TV, fine art and pop art. Today there's nothing novel

in that; in 1952 it was not the norm. Kurtzman and Gaines disagreed on

who came up with the name MAD. Each believed that they were

responsible. In any case, the magazine has influenced generation upon

generation of humorists. Today, one can find the influence of

MAD in everything from MTV to, well, ATN.