Friday, April 30, 2010

22. Mad Magazine

Mad Magazine Staff. (2010). Mad Magazine, #503, $5.99. New York, NY: EC Publications

Magazine Information
The humorous Mad Magazine was founded in 1952 by Harvey Kurtzman, and originally ran as a comic book for E.C. publications before taking shape in the magazine format. The change to the Magazine format allowed for MAD to operate outside the Comics Code. As of 2010, the magazine has successfully reached over 500 issues, and now operates as a bi-monthly publication for D.C. comics and Warner Brothers.

Mad Magazine takes current pop culture, political news, and sports topics, then runs them through a blender of humor and satire. The magazine is filled with comic book and cartoon style art to illustrate the various parodies, reoccurring strips, and columns. The various exaggerated art styles of Mad artists add even more humor to the crude and clever articles. The popular Spy vs. Spy comic strip can be found within its pages as well as a folding page that reveals a unique image at the end of the magazine. The magazine also features a caricature rendition of mascot Alfred E. Nueman on each cover, which typically plays on current events. This magazine helps readers to find the humor in the misleading behavior of the American media, and provides nonstop comedy from start to finish.

Critical Evaluation
Mad Magazine has been a source of comedy and parody, depicting pop culture, film, television, and political figures for over 50 years. Before Saturday Night Live, before our spoof news television shows, there was Alfred E. Nueman and the talented writers and artists of Mad Magazine who devoted their professional lives to creating and delivering groundbreaking and influential comedy for American readers. This crude, often sexual, and violent humor places our media and culture into the spotlight, and allows readers to laugh at the garbage and lies spoon fed through American media outlets.

Current issues make fun of the infidelity of Tiger Woods, the promises of Barrack Obama, and the ridiculous plot of James Cameron's Avatar. The humor is evoked through the clever and media rich writing of Mad's staff writers and their play on words and popular news stories. A recent article is titled "Tiger Cheat" instead of "Tiger Beat," a magazine for teens, and depicts tiger woods surrounded by the girls in the media who claim to have been involved with him. Playing on words, a popular news story, and a magazine for teenage girls makes an article like this clever on a variety of levels. These clever articles and columns are enhanced by a variety of cartoon and caricature art styles, that suite the nature of the comedy. This magazine will appeal to fans of pop culture, comedy, and teenagers because of the comic inspired artwork and parody of popular media.

Reader's Annotation

Reality television stars, bumbling politicians, and unfaithful athletes have a common enemy that they are unaware of. That enemy is the humorous and outrageous
humor, Satire

Curriculum Ties

politics, sports, communications

Book Talking Ideas
Why is satire necessary in society?
What kinds of humor are distinctly American?

Reading Level
grades 9+

Challenge Issues
sex, language, violence

Challenge defense ideas:
1. Make sure you are familiar with your library collection and the book in question.
2. Be familiar with your library collection policy.
3. If possible, speak with the person challenging the material and make sure they feel comfortable. Ask the customer what they disliked or disapproved of in the resource. If they still insist on challenging the material give them instructions on how to file a formal complaint.
4. Research professional reviews that speak to the material's merit, and get input from teen readers on why they found the book important.

Reason For Selection
Mad Magazine was located in the young adult section of my local library and I realized that I had never actually read an issue. I have always been familiar with the image of Alfred E. Nueman, and after thumbing through the pages of a couple of issues, the humor and cartoon art really jumped out at me. The magazine discusses pop culture, sports, politics, and presents itself in a very nonsensical way. The topics and art discussed in this magazine, I feel, are very relevant and alluring for a teen audience.

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