- Publisher: Lyle Stuart Hardcover; First edition (November 1972)
- ISBN-10: 0818400544
- ISBN-13: 978-0818400544
- Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,549,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Mad World of William M. Gaines Hardcover – November, 1972
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Top Customer Reviews
Bill Gaines, what a character! That's what Frank Jacobs stuffs into this book: tons of character. I felt like after reading this book I had met Bill Gaines - like I'd known him, sat down with him at one of his favorite restaurants, and laughed with him about some really zany antics. This was exactly what I was hoping for with this book.
One of the focuses of my comic book studies has been the early days of comics, and particularly the assault on comics between 1948 and 1954. While Gaines wasn't the first publisher of comics to come under heavy fire, he certainly was the most notable. EC Comics pushed the boundaries of horror comics in the early 50s - an era which is briefly touched upon in this book. Gaines was the only witness in defense of comics at the Senate hearing that led to their demise, and because of it, became the face of the "evil" of comic books. When his comics line was banished from the newsstands, Gaines fell back on Mad, which flourished to become an extremely successful magazine.
Knowing a basic biography on Gaines from other reading, including some of his quirks and generosity, I couldn't help but to want to learn more about this man. Frank Jacobs, who was a friend of Gaines and a contributor to Mad, writes an amusing and revealing semi-biographical, semi-anecdotal account of Bill Gaines life, work, and passions.
Some of the stories in this book are so outrageous I couldn't help but smile while reading them. This is one of the liveliest biographies I've ever read. Biographies can often be dry, simply regurgitating facts on a timeline, but this book alternates between simple fact and an honest view into character.
Jacobs may be a bit bias. He clearly had a great affection and admiration for Gaines. For further reading, I hope to find something from the point-of-view of Harvey Kurtzman, Mad's original creator and editor, who had a difficult relationship with Gaines.
Overall, this was a wonderful book, providing insight not only to the life and character of William Gaines, but to many other members of the EC Comics/Mad Magazine crew.
This history/bio of Bill Gaines and his magazine Mad, covers anything you ever wanted to know about this American institution of satire. I first read it in 1974, soon after it was published. He went thru his share of trials and tribulations to bring us the funniest humor mag in history, even though wholesome, it considers nothing sacred, or out of sight to the all-seeing eyes of the staff of Mad's writers.
Frank Jacobs is a brilliant writer, keeping endless detailed accounts of the lives of all of Mad's contributors, and shows how Gaines orchestrated their talents to comprise a zany editorial commentary on the things we hold dear, or normally overlook as mundane.
Gaines fearlessly takes on his critics and accusers who sue him, only to emerge unscathed, successfully keeping his publishing empire afloat.
I cannot say I appprove of all Gaines ideas, antics and atheism, but this book offers an inside look, in detail, at how it all came about, and real life adventures of those involved.
The book is witty, well written, and shows both the business and human side of an American icon. I think you too will enjoy this book.
As it was written by MAD writer Frank Jacobs, The MAD World of William M. Gaines is not the typical, dry biography of a millionaire publisher -- and whether you're a MAD fan or not, Gaines lead an eccentric lifestyle that's simultaneously interesting, inspiring, touching, and often laugh-out-loud hilarious.
Many comic book fans may not know just what an impact Gaines had on the comic book industry and even broader issues such as censorship. But you don't have to be a MAD fan, or even a casual comic book fan, to enjoy this book -- it's just plain fun.
I strongly recommend anyone with an interest in MAD Magazine (or any of the EC Comics) or any interest in comic book history whatsoever pick this up.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was printed in 1972 - so that's were it's story ends.Read more