MAD magazine, the iconic humor magazine that debuted back in 1952, is getting a feature documentary from Warner Brothers Studios. Award-winning director Jessica Yu, known for Fosse/Verdon and Quiz Lady, will helm a documentary about the humor brand that has entertained kids of all ages for over 71 years.
The documentary, spanning the length of a feature film, will delve into the origins of the magazine, as well as its irreverent, independent, and often sharp-witted humor. It will also explore how MAD became an enduring symbol of American satire, inspiring generations to challenge authority. DC, the current owner of MAD magazine, has officially authorized this documentary. Variety reports DC has granted the filmmaking team exclusive access to its extensive archives.
The MAD Magazine Documentary Plans to Pull From 70 Years of History
Mad Magazine boasts a rich history, originating in 1952 through the collaborative efforts of William M. Gaines and Harvey Kurtzman. This renowned publication showcased an array of parodies, including movies, off-the-wall cartoons, comic strips, and various facets of pop culture.
Alfred E. Neuman, the iconic character of The Magazine, became synonymous with MAD through his famous motto “What? Me Worry?” The talented artists, writers, and all those involved in creating the magazine are known as The Usual Gang of Idiots. Between 1952 and 2018, MAD released a total of 550 regular magazine issues, along with numerous reprint “Specials,” original-material paperbacks, compilation books, and other print projects.
Al Jaffee, the brilliant artist behind MAD magazine’s iconic fold-in feature, passed away in April at the remarkable age of 102. In 1964, Jaffee introduced the fold-in to Mad magazine, changing how readers engaged with the publication. This ingenious technique perfectly complemented the magazine’s satirical humor. It delighted readers with hidden, comical images that revealed themselves when the cartoon was folded. Jaffee’s legacy will forever be etched in the hearts of Mad magazine enthusiasts. His innovative contributions continue to bring joy and laughter for generations to come.
MAD Magazine is Still Going Strong
In 2019, MAD ceased its distribution through newsstands and shifted to exclusive availability through subscriptions and comic book shops. However, MAD magazine is still alive and well. The current issue lampoons last summer’s Barbie movie.
Of course, this isn’t the first time MAD has branched out beyond print. In 1995, Fox Broadcasting Company’s Mad TV bought a license to use the magazine’s logo and characters. However, aside from short bumpers starring animated Spy vs. Spy and Don Martin cartoons during the show’s initial three seasons, there were no significant connections between the TV show and the magazine. This sketch comedy series, produced by Quincy Jones, ran for an impressive 14 seasons and 321 episodes.
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