The Courier-Mail - QWeekend - - RELATIVE VALUES -

If you are nearer 40 than 20 and had a taste for risqué mag­a­zines in your youth, then you’ll prob­a­bly know who Al­fred E. Neu­man is. Neu­man was – and still is – the gap-toothed mas­cot on the cover of MAD mag­a­zine, the comic book that has satirised mod­ern life for the past 60 years.

The first Aus­tralian ver­sion of MAD was pub­lished here in 1980 but the mag­a­zine was founded in 1952 in Amer­ica by ed­i­tor Har­vey Kurtz­man and pub­lisher Wil­liam Gaines. The first four Aus­tralian copies lacked an is­sue num­ber and a bar­code. The fifth is­sue, No.223 , con­tin­ued with the US num­bers. When the first is­sue came out, it was priced at $A1.25 for 56 pages. Today, the mag­a­zine costs $A5.95 for 48 pages. By 1974 it had reached peak circulation with more than two mil­lion read­ers in the US as its satire on all as­pects of life and pop­u­lar cul­ture be­came a cor­ner­stone of teenage ex­is­tence.

Peren­nial ado­les­cent Neu­man has been on ev­ery cover since 1955 and is on cur­rent is­sue #539, pok­ing fun at the “mad” craze for adult colour­ing-in. His face has been crafted to send up ev­ery­one from Michael Jack­son to Darth Vader, and his mis­chievous moniker has struck a chord with read­ers around the world.

The mag­a­zine is still lam­poon­ing TV shows, satiris­ing big-ticket movies and ridi­cul­ing pop cul­ture. Is­sue #537 ( pic­tured) is sure to be­come a col­lec­tor’s edi­tion with Neu­man shar­ing the cover with Don­ald Trump to pro­mote “The 20 Dumb­est Peo­ple, Events and Things (of) 2015”.

On the con­tents page, there is al­ways a quote at­trib­uted to Neu­man. Past clas­sics in­clude: “Smok­ing helps you lose weight – one lung at a time”; “A teacher is some­one who talks in our sleep”; and “Get­ting old is when a nar­row waist and a broad mind change places”.

Aus­tralian MAD is pub­lished by Next Me­dia (12 is­sues per year, in­clud­ing 8 reg­u­lar is­sues and 4 MAD Clas­sics).

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