It's impossible to know when I first fell in love with Mad Magazine but the love affair has never ended. Even a year ago when a friend was coming to visit Vietnam from the States and asked me if there was anything I wanted, very high on my list was a copy of Mad. Throughout my teens, and well into adulthood, the art, wry humour and not-so-subtle satire of the thing has been always the ticket. As a kid, it taught us that one need not take the whole world so damn seriously, and that even political subject matter could be funny. Remember, we were growing up in the middle of the Vietnam War and that was a war that needed the edge taken off it for those of us who would soon be nearing draft age.
Upon graduating university, having been the first year of American youth not to have participated in the draft, I entered the advertising business. And within two years, had a budget that allowed me to hire Jack Davis, one of the cartoonists, to do an illustration for a client of mine. Somewhere, buried deep in a box, I still have the brown paper wrapper the illustration came mailed to me in with my name written in Davis' signature style by he himself. So cool. My name written by one of my idols.
Later I coerced my wife into attending a Halloween party as Spy vs Spy, with she as the white Spy and myself as the black. We did manage a Best Costume award for that but I am convinced it was the true reason for her divorce filing, after spending some time with a therapist and thinking it may have negatively affected her self-esteem. But through it all I've remained a fan. If anything, the magazine has lasted much longer than the marriage.
So now through maybe the most unlikely of sources, The New York Times, comes a web 2.0 version of Mad's famous rear cover fold-ins. A fabulous killer-app that allows you to digitally fold the covers in and see the resulting punch-lines and images. Al Jaffee, the original creator is still at large at the age of 87 and he hasn't lost a lick of wit.
Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear and give the big NYT a click. It'll be well worth the 15 or 20 minutes you waste and you probably already have one of those spreadsheet decoy screens you can implement should the boss saunter by.