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Mad magazine returns to celebrate its 70th birthday

With tributes from Jordan Peele and Weird Al

key art celebrating Mad magazine’s 70th anniversary, mascot Alfred E. Neuman shrugging in the center of a circular logo
Alfred E. Neumann, septuagenarian.
Image: Mad/DC Entertainment
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Mad magazine, America’s journal of adolescent satire, turns 70 this year. The publication will come out of hiatus on Oct. 4 for an anniversary edition headlined by tributes from Jordan Peele and “Weird Al” Yankovic, as well as the “Usual Gang of Idiots” who still carry on the magazine’s many absurd traditions.

Yankovic will salute Al Jaffee, 101, who contributed his signature Fold-In puzzle to Mad’s back page for all but one issue over a 50-year stretch (1964 to 2013). Mad’s anniversary volume will also include a “special two-page Mad Fold-In by [artist] Johnny Sampson that folds in on itself!” parent company DC Entertainment said in a news release Tuesday.

Peele will write a tribute to Mad referencing his childhood memories of the magazine. He had included a fictional Mad magazine cover in a scene of this year’s comedy-thriller Nope.

Other highlights:

  • Sergio Aragonés, the artist who contributed to 491 issues of Mad (second only to Jaffee), returns with “Another Look at Mad.”
  • Dick DeBartolo, the magazine’s longest-tenured contributing writer, gives “a ‘MAD-gical history tour.’”
  • Former editor-in-chief John “Hot Shit” Ficarra and art director Sam Viviano team up for “an illustrated look at the classic Mad employee cruise to Bermuda.”
  • And Mad gets back into current movie parodies, bringing in contributors Desmond Devlin and Tom Richmond for “The Bathroom,” a send-up of The Batman.
The cover of Mad magazine’s 70th anniversary issue
70% new content. Choke on it!
Image: Mad/DC Entertainment

Mad launched in August 1952 under editor Harvey Kurtzman and publisher William Gaines of Entertaining Comics (EC). Its circulation peaked at 2.1 million in 1974, an important figure for a magazine that famously did not accept advertising (relenting only in 2001). DC Comics’ parent company acquired Mad in the 1960s.

In 2019, after two decades of schedule changes, cutbacks, format modifications, and relocating Mad’s headquarters to Burbank, California, Mad ceased publishing original content and switched to printing compilations of its greatest hits from the preceding 67 years.

Mad’s Special Anniversary issue is $5.99 (Cheap!) and promises “70% new material!”

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