MAD Magazine has been a long-running institution in American comics. While they recently went through some bumps — the monthly release schedule reduced to quarterly in 2009 before bumping up to bi-monthly in 2010 — the irreverent publication continues to cleverly lampoon the politics, lifestyle and pop culture topics of the moment. Many people do not know, however, that the venerable title started in 1952 under the EC Comics banner. Yes, the same notorious EC Comics whose horror and suspense titles, including Tales From The Crypt and Shock SuspenStories, were banned in the mid-1950s after misguided government censorship pressures aimed to destroy comics material obscene and inappropriate for young readers. MAD Comics — written and edited by Harvey Kurtzman, and drawn by cartoonists including Wally Wood, Bill Elder, Jack Davis and Basil Wolverton — was the only EC title to survive, rechristened as MAD Magazine and transformed from color to black-and-white.
IDW Publishing is planning a MAD: ARTIST’S EDITION that will be approximately 160 pages and measure 15” x 22”, with a slated December release. The book will include a dozen of the earliest covers and a selection of top-notch stories, including “Batboy and Rubin” by Wally Wood and “Howdy Dooit” by Elder. IDW promises: “In the Artist’s Edition style, these covers and stories will be reproduced as very few people have ever seen them before.”
“MAD influenced generations of filmmakers, artists and countless others,” said IDW editor Scott Dunbier. “Its impact on American culture can’t be understated.” Added MAD Editor John Ficarra, “This is a really fabulous book and I just want to be clear: I say something nice about it in the press release, and I definitely get a free copy. Otherwise forget it.”
IDW’s Artist’s Editions are printed the same size as the original art. As their MAD press release explains: “While appearing to be in black & white, each page has been scanned in COLOR to mimic as closely as possible the experience of viewing the actual original art — for example, you are able to clearly see paste-overs, blue pencils in the art, editorial notes, art corrections. Each page is printed the same size as drawn, and the paper selected is as close as possible to the original art board.”
This sounds like a treat for true MAD maniacs.