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Found this today . . .

I was organizing my office and came across this obituary. It’s from 1992. I was 15 years old, and seeing this obituary was the saddest news I’d ever seen. I revered W. M. Gaines and the crew at Mad Magazine. The parodies jumped from intelligent to infantile, but they were always hilarious. My sense of humor, and the way I approach life today, is due in very large part to Mad Magazine. I cut this obituary out and have kept it preserved for almost 15 years. It reminds me about the importance of a sense of humor in the face of everything life throws at you, why irreverence is a good thing, and it gives me an example and a guide to live my life.

Now that Gaines is gone, Mad has become more commercial. Issues come out monthly, each issue has soul-sucking advertisements throughout, and they’re slowly becoming all color. Why I can respect the business end of it, and the need for the changes, part of me died when these changes started happening a couple of years ago. I still find it funny, and I still read it monthly, as I’ve done every year for 24 years, but it’s just not the same.

‘Mad’ publisher William Gaines

NEW YORK (AP) – William Maxwell Gaines, the eccentric publisher of Mad magazine, which lampooned life’s sacred cows with help from a goofy, gap-toothed mascot named Alfred E. Neuman, died Wednesday at age 70.

Gaines, who was often the target of his magazine’s humor, died in his sleep at his Manhattan home, said Mad co-editors John Ficarra and Nick Meglin.

The cause of death wasn’t given.

In nearly 40 years, Mad “changed the way three generations of Americans thought about themselves and about their culture and society,” said Maria Reidelbach, author of “Completely Mad,” a history.

With a 6-foot, 240-pound build and Santa Claus-like hair and beard, Gaines’ appearance was a constant source of gags at the magazine.

Mad promoted the freckle-faced Neuman – whose motto was “What Me Worry?” – as a presidential candidate in every election since 1956.

Mad began as a comic book series in 1952 featuring spoofs – like “Little Orphan Melvin” – of existing comic strips. In 1955, Gaines turned it into a magazine.

Gaines always printed eight editions a year and never accepted ads. Newsstand sales make up 95 percent of Mad’s 1 million circulation.

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2 Replies to “Found this today . . .”

  1. Avitable

    I read Cracked, too. But since, it was after Mad, and seemed to be copying it, I wasn’t as enthralled. It did have some great stuff, though.

    Now I want to find my old Cracked collection and read it again.

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