For almost 70 years, MAD Magazine has satirized pop culture, politics, and nearly every facet of modern life. The publication had a high-profile relaunch last year, but this year brings with it some bleaker news for the magazine’s future.
Later this year, MAD will shift to a publishing schedule consisting only of archival material. Aside from the covers, each issue’s contents will consist of previously published work.
While this is an improvement over reports that the magazine would be canceled outright, which began circulating on social media on July 3rd, it’s still disappointing news for longtime readers of MAD and fans of satire in general.
Issue #10 of the current series, set to arrive in stores in October, will be the last of its current incarnation.
MAD is published by DC Comics, who recently announced the end of their storied Vertigo imprint. A report from Vulture raised the question of whether these two changes might be part of a larger initiative at the publisher.
The legacy of MAD includes everything from the distinctive cartoons of Don Martin and Al Jaffee to the nihilistic humor of Spy vs. Spy. A spin-off sketch comedy show, MadTV, debuted in 1995 and helped launch or bolster a number of careers, including those of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele.
In a post on Twitter, cartoonist and writer (and MAD contributor) Evan Dorkin cited the circular nature of the magazine’s influence: he was influenced by several cartoonists associated with MAD, and was then able to apply that to his own work for the magazine.
Between this and the news that The Nib has lost their funding and is changing business models, it’s been a bad week for satirical comics. And yet there’s no shortage of targets for satire in the contemporary world — an ironic turn of events that could be the stuff of bleak comedy from MAD in its prime.
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