Mad #550 (John Ficarra) - Last New York Issue - April 2018

Well, this issue marks the end of an era.  Harvey Kurtzman started the publication as a comic book in 1952;  transformed it to a magazine with issue #24; but left the organization before 30 issues were completed.  Al Feldstein picked up the pieces and rebuilt the product through its most popular period before retiring after issue #256.  Then, the magazine was placed in the capable hands of tag-team editors Nick Meglin & John Ficarra.  Ficarra, who had been a Mad writer under Feldstein, became the sole editor when Meglin retired after issue #437.  Now, Ficarra is retirng and the entire New York editorial group is retiring with him.  Ficarra's 294 issues were completed with competence and style.  He kept Mad going strongly through difficult times for hard-copy publishing.  Good job, guys.

My favorite part of the last New York edition is "Gotcha: Mug Shots of Common but Despicable Criminals" which is really just a collection of self-portraits of 43 members members of the Usual Gang of Idiots (plus "Fluffy McDougal").  Note that numbers 23 and 24 are reversed in the helpful "artists credits" on page 4.  This switch was probably just another inside joke by those wacky, retiring editors.  Other great features in this farewell issue are: the great tv parody ("This is Pus") by Desmond Devlin and Tom Richmond of This is Us which btw is not me; "The Mad Sports Page" by current job seekers Joe Raiola and Charlie Kadau; "Olive Garbage" restaurant menu parody by the team of Scotts Maiko & Bricher; and another great fold-in by young Al Jaffee.  The final page before the fold-in shows Senior VP & Executive Director Ficarra and Sam Viviano, VP - Art & Design feeding their lunch to park animal as they begin their graceful retirement.  This finale is a well-deserved tribute to these two great men by Alison Grambs and Alejandro Rivas.

This issue had no paid advertisements and a straightened logo that revert to traditions of the pre-DC era.  The back cover art by Mark Fredrickson promises a new Mad under editor Bill Morrison with better hygiene and dental work.  Time will tell.  [JAM 2/14/2018]

Random Acts of Mindless - The Fundalini Pages
An Embarrassment of Richard's - First Aid for the Choking Victim in the Digital Age
Sentimental Illness - This is Pus
Generation Crap - Boomers vs. Millennials
Missive: Impossible - Donald Trump's Letter to the Incoming President
Joke And Dagger - Spy vs. Spy
Reduced Labor Farce - Workers We'd Like to Go a Day Without
Urine the Money - Mad Interviews the Incontinent Banker of the Year [fake department]
Jock the Presses - The Mad Sports Page
No Restroom for the Weary - Things You Don't Want to Hear Coming From the Next Bathroom Stall
Hashtag, You're It - The Life and Times of Jerry the Pound Sign
Arresting Developments - Gotcha: Mug Shots of Common but Despicable Criminals
Pen And Stink - The Mad Strip Club
A.I. Just Work Here - The Future of Job Automation
Death Comedy Jam - Selected Observations From Random Autopsies
Serge-In General - A Mad Look at Justice League
Character Flawed - Dewey Derwin Destroys the World
A Plate That Will Live in Infamy - Olive Garbage
I Can't Believe It's Not Clutter - What's on Sean Hannity's Desk
The Beat Goes On - Brutally Honest Park Bench Plaques

Fold-In - Flat Earth