“(Mad founder Harvey) Kurtzman didn’t inherit his parents’ (left-wing) politics, but his background left him hostile to conventional American culture, which he regarded as filled with lies.”
Don Martin may have been my personal favorite, but Mad was a many-splendored piece of work for a very long time.
The Nation gets it.
‘Mad’ Magazine Told the Truth About War, Advertising, and the Media, by Jeet Heer (The Nation)
Patti Smith: “After Mad, drugs were nothing.”
… Born in the troubled era of McCarthyism, Mad is dying in another squalid political epoch. Mad was arguably America’s greatest and most influential satirical magazine, a strange claim to make of a publication that was mostly read throughout its existence by children and teenagers, but still justifiable.
Mad was often rude, tasteless, and childish—which made it all the more potent as a tributary of youth culture. The kids who read Mad learned from it to distrust authority, whether in the form of politicians, advertisers or media figures. That was a lesson that successive generations took to heart. Without Mad, it’s impossible to imagine underground comics, National Lampoon, Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, The Daily Show, or Stephen Colbert. In the historical sweep of American culture, Mad is the crucial link between the anarchic humor of the Marx Brothers and the counterculture that emerged in the 1960s …