MAD Magazine

INDEX of Theme Pages:


Publication Dates: October/November 1952 - Present

Publication Info:

MAD was first published in 1952 in a comic book format with a cover date of October/November 1952. Beginning with issue #24 (July 1955), MAD converted to a standard magazine size format. The MAD editorial and publishing staff celebrates September as their anniversary month, as the magazine first hit the newsstands in that month of 1952.

Originally priced at 10, MAD increased the cover price to 25 when it changed formats and became a magazine (issue #24). Prices have risen accordingly ever since, even though the magazine still employs the plug CHEAP right under the price, on every issue.

William M. (Bill) Gaines was the founder and publisher of MAD. Harvey Kurtzman was the magazine/comic's first editor. Kurtzman left MAD after issue #28, July 1956 and was replaced by Albert B. (Al) Feldstein with issue #29, September 1956.

Bill Gaines took over E. C. (Entertainment Comics) Publications when his father, Max, died in a freak boating accident in 1947 and owned the magazine until 1982, when he sold it to Time-Warner. Max himself was a pioneer in the comic book industry, producing Famous Funnies and Carnival of Comics in 1933/34. He later became co-publisher of DC-National along with Harry Donenfeld, left, founded All American Comics, was bought out by DC, and founded EC.

Bill Gaines retained editorial control of the publication until his death in 1992.

The current location of the editorial offices is 1700 Broadway, New York NY. Other locations, starting at the first, included: 225 Lafayette Street, 850 Third Street and 485 Madison Avenue, all in New York city.

Mad magazine has, in its 50+ year existence, become a well-recognized worldwide brand. Over the years, Mad has been published in 25 countries or territories, but currently only is published in 10. The countries which at one time or another published and distributed MAD are Argentina, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Puerto Rico, Spain, Taiwan and Turkey. The countries in which MAD is currently published are Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Germany, Hungary, India, South Africa, Sweden and the United States of America.

MAD was a pioneering influence not only for its irreverent, sarcastic editorial posture but also for innovations in magazine publishing itself. One such innovation was the inclusion of records inserts to the magazine. The Special and Annual insert records include Meet The Staff From MAD (Worst From MAD #2 and Ridiculously Expensive MAD), Nose Job (Worst From MAD #5, from MAD Twists Rock &'N' Roll), She Let's Me Watch Her Mom & Pop Fight (Worst From MAD #6, from Fink Along With MAD), It's A Gas (Worst From MAD #9, from Fink Along With MAD), Gall In The Family (MAD Special #11), Makin' Out (MAD Special #26), It's A Super Spectacular Day (MAD Special #31), and A MAD Look At Graduation (MAD Special #32). The CD that wasincluded with MAD #350 contains three songs. The record which came with MAD Disco contains 6 songs. The Totally MAD CD collection contains all of the Special and Annual songs.

MAD began publishing paperback books with The MAD Reader in December 1954 and ended with Spy vs. Spy The Updated Files #8 by Bob Clarke and Duck Edwing in August 1993.

Between 1954 and 1993, 220 paperbacks books were released. Ninety-four contained previously published material. Bristling MAD (#93, June 1993) was the last reprint book. MAD has resumed producing paperback books again, starting with a reprint of How to Be a Successful Dog (December 1999).

There were also a number of MAD calendars produced in the US: 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1988, 1989, 1990,1993 and1997. For 1996, a 35th Anniversary Commemorative Calendar was produced and was also a stapled-in premium to the fanzine The MAD Panic #37.. Page a day calendars were released for 2001 and 2002. Mad also published an Eternal Calendar for promotional purposes. A poster featuring the classic Mingo Alfred E. Neuman was produced for 1988. This calendar was produced by Bi-Rite. German calendars were produced for 1977, 1978, and 2001. An Australian calendar was released for 1982; a Finnish calendar was released for 1991.

One of the lasting icons of MAD magazine and American pop culture is MAD's official mascot, Alfred E. Neuman. The origin of the image of Neuman is somewhat hazy, though some believe the earliest image is in an ad for Atmore's Mince Meat Plum Pudding, in the Illustrated London News (the New York City edition), circa1895. Other images or characters of Neuman include - though there is no definitive source of verification or any continuity of creative authorship - The Yellow Kid, The Hampden Handsome Waiter (Hampden Brewing Company) and Howdy Doody.

The best and most widely-accepted image of Alfred E. Neuman, from which all images of the goofy kid who says, What, Me Worry? are derived, is the Alfred E. Neuman for President drawing by Norman Mingo from issue #30.


    Consecutive run estimates (ranges from good to mint):
  • Issues 1-10: $1200 - $7500
  • 11-23: $950 - $3800
  • 24-100: $650 - $1750
  • 101-200: $500 - $1500
  • 201-300: $375 - $850
  • 301-428: $200 - $650
Key Issues:

Volume 1, #1: Initial publication
Issue #24: 1st magazine format issue.

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