I really hate doing this, but this book is A MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT!
Like many other people out there, I grew up reading MAD. As a matter of fact, I got to learn more about politics, society and life in general from MAD than from any other form of education.
So where does this book fail? For starters, we only get a page or two reproduced from different issues over the years (so we don't get the complete stories). While there's no real problem there (after all, reproducing the complete stories would need more than a 1000 pages), the thing is that we usually get a two-page spread from the magazine printed on a single page of this book. This means that the art is reproduced at about 25% of it's original size, making the text completely UNREADABLE! Maybe this book is aimed at a younger generation, one that can watch a complete film on their iPhones. And then, when we do get a two-page spread reproduced over two pages, the art seems to have been scanned from a second generation xerox copy. What happened here? Some lines from the original artwork are missing (this is all the more evident with Jack Davis' art). I don't know why, as the recent book on Mort Drucker reproduces his work quite fine.
About the only things worthwhile here are the reminiscences by Frank Jacobs about Bill Gaines, the MAD lawsuits, the MAD trips, etc., but unfortunately they only amount to about 12 pages throughout the book. The other good thing is found at the end of the book, where we get an envelope with 12 reproductions of Gaines' and co.'s favorite covers. These appear without the logo and accompanying text, so you get the full color art as it was originally done. Most are by the late, great Norman Mingo, with an occasional one done by Kelly Freas and, oh yeah, the one done by the monkey.Read more ›
Plus a number of the best moments from later years. I grew up with Mad magazine in the 60's. It's subversive humor and hilarious parodies could make a whole day better. True, as I got older, and after William Gaines died, I stopped reading it on a regular basis. But still to this day I can pull one off the newsstand and get a few grins & yucks from a copy.
(Mostly) Hilarious, but even if every article or bit isn't a hit, the next one will be.
Don Martin, Al Jaffee, Frank Jacobs , Mort Drucker, Antonio Prohías and Dave Berg all have some of their best work showcased here.
PS- in some of the "bits' you may need to break out the higher power reading glasses!
First, let me begin by reiterating a remark by another Amazon.com reviewer (D.C.). I agree D.C.'s remarks that, "This means that the art is reproduced at about 25% of it's original size, making the text completely UNREADABLE! Maybe this book is aimed at a younger generation, one that can watch a complete film on their iPhones."
In my own judgement, I found that about 15 percent of the reproductions were too small to be easily read.
TOO SMALL TO READ. Regarding the complaint about small reproductions, half of THE MADISON AVENUE PRIMER, with art by Wallace Wood, is readable, but the other half of THE MADISON AVENUE PRIMER, was reproduced in a shrunken version and cannot be read, except perhaps with a magnifying glass. THE MADISON AVENUE PRIMER is one of the best of all the stories in Mad Magazine, not only because the art is by Wallace Wood, but also because one of the raisons d'etre of Mad Magazine is to parody Madison Avenue's advertising agencies.
TRUNCATED STORIES. Many of the stories are truncated. The most unfortunate example of this is IF KIDS DESIGNED THEIR OWN XMAS TOYS, with art by Jaffee. Only two illustrations are shown from the original story. The original story had about ten illustrations. I own all of the Mad Magazine issues from the year 1957 to 1965. Therefore, I am able to determine when a story is re-published in its truncated form, and I am also able to determine when a story is reproduced in a shrunken form.
OMISSION OF THE BEST MATERIAL. My biggest complaint is that this book omits much of the very best material, in particular, material that was published between 1958 and around 1963.Read more ›
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I've been a Mad fan on and off for many years. So how could I not love this book? Well, I came across this book at my local library. Lucky for me!!! I would have been very unhappy if I had paid good money for this. This book is a mess. Here's the problemm: TOO MANY OF THE ARTICLES FROM THE PAST ARE DELIBERATELY PRESENTED INCOMPLETE! Perhaps, as a history of what Mad has done, this idea of presenting snippets from the past works, but I wanted to read or reread some of the great pieces from the past in their entirety!!! How irritating and frustrating to not get the entire piece of humor. Apparently, the book editors had this rather stupid plan...(Oh wait, the word "stupidity" is on the cover twice. I should have spotted that.) Anyway,they had this rather stupid plan to limit each piece from the past to only two printed pages in this book. The result is that any article or parody more than two pages long, is cut short, sometimes to two pages, sometimes to one or even a half a page. Huh? What's the point of giving the reader only the beginning of a story? Would you want a book of short stories that cut off the ends of stories that were too long? Or how about a biography of all the Presidents that ended each President's life story at age 30? Or how about 60 years of Playboy centerfolds but you only get the top half or less of each playmate's photo? Awful concept. Very disappointing! And not funny!
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