Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Mad Review

I promised some time ago I would do a review of Mad Magazine. I am not sure who I told that to. I believe it was my friend Travis, but I could be wrong. Mad is not as funny as it used to be, but it has its moments. This issue, number 496 is actually funnier than most of the issues.

I have been debating how to rate the issues. I decided to use a won-loss system, with good articles as winners and bad ones as losers. Then I will give a percentage for an overall rating. I subscribe, which is the greatest value. If I was buying it off the newsstand I probably wouldn't buy it. At $4.99 an issue it isn't worth it to me. For my subscription I got 12 issues for $14.00. They vary the subscription rates. Currently it is 12 issues for $19.99, which to me is a fair rate. On with the review.

The Fundalini Pages are found in every issue. They are written and drawn by various people. It usually is very uneven and usually to me it is a loser. This one however is one of their better efforts. The best one is called Signs Your Dad Loves Football More Than Your Family. There are 5 lines there. My favorite is "He always complains it's 'to cold' to build a snowman with you---yet goes to every Bears home game in nothing but face paint and a thong." WIN

The Rise And Fall Of A Rap Star written by Desmond Devlin, art by Hermann Mejia. This was very funny. It follows the life a rap star "Yung Carl" from his beginnings, his fame and his untimely death. I don't care as much for Mejia's art, but the story carries it. WIN

What The Deal Or No Deal Models Are Thinking. Written by Ross Garmil and Matthew A. Cohen, over a picture of the models. When dealing with 23 one-liners there are going to be a few clinkers, but over all I liked it. WIN

The Horse That Knew The Way. Written by Brian McConnachie, art by Leonardo Rodriguez. This is a short story that I simply thought inhaled vigorously. LOSE

A Mad Look At Road Trips. Written and drawn by Sergio Aragones. Sergio very rarely misses and he is on target here. WIN

7 Periods Closer To Death. Written and drawn by Ted Rall. This is an on going strip that deals with life in high school. I rarely find it funny and this one is no exception. LOSE

Monroe And The Natural Disaster. Written by Anthony Barbieri, art by Tom Fowler. I never have liked Monroe. His family makes the Simpsons look like Ozzie and Harriet. LOSE

Comments You'll Never Hear No Matter How Long You Live. Written by Darren Johnson, Art by Tom Bunk. I like this. My favorite is a lawyer telling his client "Sir, it was obviously your own stupidity that caused this accident and there's absolutely no grounds for a lawsuit." WIN

Spy Vs Spy. Peter Kuper has taken over this feature. He is not as good as Antonio Prohias but I like it. We also get two different tales in this issue. WIN

Planet Tad. Written by Tim Carvell. This a blog from Tad, who is in 9th grade and according to his blog his height, expressed in Vern Troyers, is 2.3. This, along with Sergio Aragones bits, is consistently the funniest thing in the book. You are given a week of Tad's activities, this time he joined the debate team. He practiced for the debate by arguing who is lamer, Aquaman or the Sub-Mariner. His opinion is they are both equally lame because they hang out with fish. WIN

The Darker Side Of The Lighter Side. Written and drawn by Dave Berg, new wording by ???. This would have been better if they had simply reprinted old Dave Berg strips. The new gags simply don't work. No wonder no one put their name on it. LOSE

Using Kids Books To Explain The Awful Bush Years. Written by David Shayne, art by Gary Halligren. They parody two Shel Silverstein books that I am not familiar with and The Little Engine That Could, which I do know. I might have found this funnier had I been familiar with Silversteins books, but I am tired of all the Bush jokes. If you can't stand him you might find this funny, but to me it was too mean spirited. LOSE

Al Jaffees Fold-In. Written and drawn by Al Jaffee. Al Jaffee is an amazing man. At the age of 87 he is still doing these. He has appeared in every issue since 1964, over 440 consecutive issues. He rarely misses and this one is another winner. WIN

The totals, out of 13 articles 8 were winners, for a winning percentage of 62%.

I will start reviewing each issue as I get it. Soon I will review an older issue from the late 80's to the early 90's to see how they compare.


Travis said...

I enjoyed to review, Howard. I also really dig the way your break down the individual articles and then that brings you to the overall score. Nice work.

Howard Bagby said...

Thank you, Travis. I had several ideas how to rate the book, but I kept coming back to that. That will be the format when I do a full review.

Volly said...

Good nostalgia piece!! I miss MAD -- last time I read it was in the waiting room of my dentist in ATL. His name was (still is) Roger Abbott and he had an autographed picture of his namesake ... Roger Rabbit. So it would figure such a person would keep issues of MAD in the waiting room.

I have clear memories of it, going back to the early/mid-60s. When "Portrzebie" was the default surname for nearly anyone. Reading the older issues was really a time-machine look back at pop culture of a bygone age.

Their movie parodies can't be beat. "QT, The Quasi-Terrestrial" had me in stitches, and my favorite character-parody name was "Oldie Von Moldie" from "Star Bores."

May the farce be with you!

Howard Bagby said...

Thank you Volly. The movie parodies are still highlights when they present them. In the previous issue they parodied The Dark Knight and it was great.

Anil said...

Nice review! I look forward to your other reviews.

I'm a MAD magazine & Al Jaffee fan from India. I was a keen MAD magazine reader till 2000.

Howard Bagby said...

Thank you for reading. I will be doing at least one Mad post a month.