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If You're Cracked, You're Happy: The History of Cracked Mazagine, Part Won Paperback – April 3, 2015
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The book reveals a few stories I didn't know - like LucasFilm's objection to Cracked's excessive Star Wars material, and the time Cracked was nearly acquired by Warren magazines. It's mostly personal anecdotes from creators about working FOR Cracked, although there are a lot of nice pictures.
The editing reminded me of CRACKEDs published during the Kulpa era, it was obviously rushed and errors were glaringly evident.
Now, with that said, the actual history of the magazine, as told by the editors, writers, and artists, was pure gold. The editing made the flow and narrative choppy, but the overall history of CRACKED and the magazine publishing industry surrounding its rise and fall was invaluable.
The story needed to be told and I'm pleased that Mr. Arnold invested his time and sweat into the project.
Think of opening a refrigerator-sized box full of Styrofoam packing peanuts knowing that a small gold nugget is somewhere in the box.
The two-set volume will go on my bookshelf and become part of my CRACKED collection, but if you're not a die-hard CRACKED addict, you WILL be disappointed.
One precaution; the first 161 pages of this book are devoted to the first thirty some years of the magazine's history from 163 to 529 is an extensive index of each issue of Cracked (which may continue into the second book of this series). I could perhaps have gone without the index and had more history and pictures.
That being said the first part of the books is pure gold exploring the history of a humor magazine that just does not gets its due both for longevity and quality. I say buy it; and will be buying the second part soon.
It's not gold by any stretch...but it is a must have. Think of it like Al Jaffee's recent 'Mad Life' compared with Frank Jacobs' 'The MAD World of William M. Gaines'. You want to know 'all', so knowing a bit is better than nothing; and who wouldn't clamour for a peek into 'Cracked'?
As I went through the books I kept getting the feeling the spirit of Dick Kulpa (yes I know he's alive) was pushing the whole project forward without getting any editorial input...and then when the printed volumes were released Mark Arnold and Steve Ditko just figured 'it is what it is' (there a few headache inducing sections in Part 2 where you can be reduced to tears over the transcriptions).
Another way to think of it: This would have held up well across several issues of 'Hogan's Alley' within the context of individual interviews.
I'm glad it's out there.
I'm glad I bought it...but your experience should be tempered.