When President Donald Trump compared Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg as "Alfred E. Neuman," many older readers probably chuckled.
Unfortunately, a lot of younger folks—including Buttigieg himself—asked, "who?"
Alfred E. Neuman was once as recognizable a figure as Ronald McDonald, James Bond or even President Trump himself. The grinning, gap-toothed mascot for MAD Magazine was the symbol for all that was simple—and subversive.
MAD was hugely popular in the 1960s and 1970s. Its brand of silliness and satire made it a favorite with fans from young to old.
The magazine—sole survivor of publisher Bill Gaines' empire of horror and crime comic books in the 1950s—captured the times perfectly. It sent up everything and everybody. There were few, if any, sacred cows in MAD's world.
Some of the finest comic writers and artists of the time made sure every skewer hit home.
But times change. Demographics change. Tastes change. And methods of media consumption change. After more than 60 years, MAD as we knew it is fading away. Owner DC Comics announced the magazine will stop publishing original material in August, restrict retail sales to comic book stores and subscriptions, and fill the pages with reprints. There is talk that new material might come out in special editions, but who knows?
MAD leaves a long legacy of laughter. And in today's world that's something sorely needed. We're sorry to see it go.