Thursday, July 18, 2019

Ryan Flanders: "An Unusual Gang of Idiots: The Joy of Working at MAD Magazine Past Its Heyday"

 There were 550 issues of Mad Magazine produced in NYC, and Ryan Flanders was there for the last 150 of them. Ryan was my contact at Mad, where I was able to sell a couple of cartoons. So, I am one of the "Usual Gang of Idiots," though a much lesser idiot.

Here's Ryan talking about his time at Mad Magazine and what it was like to put the magazine together for The Comics Journal in a piece titled "An Unusual Gang of Idiots: The Joy of Working at MAD Magazine Past Its Heyday."

"To truly succeed at MAD was to put it above your own ego. The staffers and freelancers who flourished are those who understood that the reader community and MAD ethos were the priority — and who knew that few opportunities in life would make them feel as good as working on MAD Magazine, and all that came with it. Making each other laugh in editorial meetings, getting called a clod over stupid misunderstandings, oohing and aahing as we’d crowd around a piece of freshly delivered artwork. Lunch visits from freelancers — some of the greatest minds, and kindest people, the world has even known. The thrill of coming up with a funny cover idea, the shock when a cover you didn’t think was anything special goes viral and sells extra copies. The smile on your face when the Bart Simpsons of the world show up for an office tour, eyes bulged and mouth agape. Sharing the pride of a new staff member holding the first issue they worked on. Veteran artists you’ve long admired saying that appearing in MAD was a career highlight, and young cartoonists telling you being published in MAD validated their career choice to their parents."


Mad Magazine is Dead. Long Live Mad Magazine.

1977 Video: Bill Gaines on the History of Mad Magazine's Alfred E. Neuman

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