Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Bastille Day!

I read MAD Magazine's parody of "Papillon" (issue 170, October 1974) when I was six, and thought it was disgusting and hilarious. To this day, whenever I catch a snippet of the movie - which features Steve McQueen's title character being repeatedly beaten, brutalized, betrayed, and otherwise suffering horribly - I burst out laughing!

If you are a fan of MAD Magazine, or just remember some issues fondly from your childhood / adolescence / young adulthood / whatever, you should do yourself a favor and get a copy of the Absolutely MAD DVD-ROM. Oddly, I have just read in two different places that this is a two-DVD set; my copy has only a single DVD, and that's all the packaging claims is contained within. My version contains every issue from #1 (October - November 1952) through #460 (December 2005), plus Super Specials, interviews, and other extras. It runs on an Adobe Reader platform, so it functions on more systems than its seven CD-ROM predecessor Totally MAD, which contained issues through 1998 but also featured a more interactive interface and many more extras.

MAD Magazine is still published today. In early 2009, beginning with issue 500, it switched to a quarterly publication schedule. (This change was accompanied by the cancellation of the MAD Super Specials - most recently called "MAD Color Classics" - and the youth-targeted MAD Kids.) This was just one of many changes to the publication frequency over the history of MAD Magazine. In the most recent issue it was announced that MAD would be switching to a bimonthly schedule - or switching back, I should say; it wasn't too long ago that MAD was using the phrase "Buy a Bi" in its subscription advertising.* I'm looking forward to the increased frequency; MAD's quarterly schedule was not accompanied by an increase in the number of issue pages, so the total annual content dropped considerably. It was also very difficult to be timely or topical with such a stretched-out publication schedule.

So, if you love MAD Magazine or are just fond of print media, please also consider supporting the magazine - and the industry - with a subscription!

*UPDATE: This was apparently a reference to the Super Specials. After writing this I checked the frequency of publication for the last twenty years: there were eight issues a year for the first few years of the 1990s, then a few years of nine, then one of eleven, then twelve issues a year from the late 1990s through the end of 2008.

1 comment:

Linkmeister said...

I haven't seen a copy of it in years, but I loved it in the 1960s.