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Mad Art : A Visual Celebration of the Art of Mad Magazine and the Idiots Who Create It

When I was a kid, I had a subscription to Mad Magazine. Its weird, gross, and wacky humor made me believe that there was a place in the world for freaks like me, even if it may not have been the rural/suburban Massachusetts town where I grew up. I bought the Mad books. I learned a lot of the Mad songs satirizing ads for products that were already decades old by the time I’d heard of them. I enjoyed the slightly racy retellings of popular movies like Star Wars and Jaws.

At some point, I stopped reading Mad as much. I sold my Mad books and kind of forgot about it for a while. I saw this book in the library and remembered how much I had enjoyed it. This book is a history of the illustrators of Mad and the story is told in the same irreverent slightly crazy tone that the magazine always had. It tracks the magazine from its very beginnings to the present day where I noticed many illustrators I know from other places are also contributors. Even though the history of Mad is far from sanguine, the tone of the book is upbeat and positive with every artist -- even the nutso ones -- being praised for whatever it was they did well. The book is heavily illustrated with black and white and color illustrations and a few photographs. It was fun to page through it and remember some of the covers of issues that I had personally owned and later to see covers by artists I knew from elsewhere.