It was the 40s. Comic books were 10 cents, and Mr. Wellman, who owned the news stand down the block from my house had a wall full of constantly updated comic books, which he let me read for free while I sat on the bench and munched on penny candy.
On the way back from visiting my mother yesterday, I listened to a piece on NPR about Harvey Kurtzman the creator and driving force behind Mad Comics and later, Mad Magazine.
By the time the 50s arrived, my interests were moving away from comic books and more toward True Confessions and Mad Magazine.
Comics historian Tom Spurgeon picked Mad as the medium’s top series of all time, writing, “At the height of its influence, Mad was The Simpsons, The Daily Show and The Onion combined.” Graydon Carter chose it as the sixth best magazine of any sort ever, describing Mad’s mission as being “ever ready to pounce on the illogical, hypocritical, self-serious and ludicrous” before concluding, “Nowadays, it’s part of the oxygen we breathe.” Joyce Carol Oates called it “wonderfully inventive, irresistibly irreverent and intermittently ingenious American.” Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam wrote, “Mad became the Bible for me and my whole generation.”[4
Irreverence and ingenuity. They sort of go together.
There is something endearingly irreverent about Alfred E. Neuman, the poster boy for Mad Magazine, and his philosophy of “What, me worry?”
It was the 50s, and I didn’t worry about much.
Nothing good lasts forever.
Except maybe irreverence.
Here’s a great comparison of the sayings of Alfred E. Neuman and George Bush, asking “Who would you trust?”
One of the many great things about Obama is his ability to be irreverent about himself.
Yesterday, when I walked in the door of my now home after visiting my mother, I was greeted with a scene that was a far cry from the 50s. My son in law was ironing his shirts for the work week and my grandson was imitating him, using his toy iron on one of his own shirts laid out on a tray table.
There are lots of good things about it not being the 50s, even though we all do worry a lot.,