It doesn’t get more classic than this. These beautiful hardcover dustjacketed embossed tomes contain gorgeous full color reprints of MAD comics issues 13-18 (Volume 3) and 19-24 (Volume 4). Along with Volumes 1 & 2 they represent the full run of MAD as a comic, before it morphed into its better known format of a magazine. It also represents all but one year’s worth of Harvey Kurtzman’s work as editor-in-chief at MAD.
During these early days, MAD struggled to find succes, eventually becoming a hit, then so much so that they drew the ire of parents and the law forcing them to change from a comic to a magazine format so they would not be subject to being censored. In this time artists like Kurtzman, Wally Wood, Will Elder, Basil Wolverton and Jack Davis poured their humor and talent into MAD, creating an impact that is hard to understand in this time of social media comedy and the 24 hour lifespan of memes.
These MAD articles are timeless. My cheap childhood reprints of them along with Monty Python, the Marx brothers, Steve Martin and Mystery Science Theater 3000 (what is it with comedy and Ms?) did more to shape my view of the world than just about any other set of influences I can think of. It’s a wonderful thing to have them collected in books like this to pour over and to, someday, pass on.
*full disclosure – while this was received in the mail, I didn’t order it. It was actually a 21st anniversary gift from my wife. Guys, when this is the type of anniversary gift you get, you know you’ve got a keeper!