I've heard the first couple of issues of Mad didn't exactly set the comic book buying world on fire. It took a couple more issues for that to happen, and eventually the comic book was selling a million copies an issue. "Blob" from issue #1, and "Gookum" from #2, both by Wood, didn't get the attention of his later strips, like "Superduperman."
To show some of the difference in the respect "Gookum" got as opposed to "Superduperman," in issue #4 (where Mad sales were said to have taken off), Heritage Auctions sold the six pages of original art for "Gookum" in 2002 for $10,925, but in 2009 the splash page only of "Superduperman" went for $43,318.75.
Above is the scan of the original art for the "Superduperman" splash page, and below the whole six-page "Gookum" for you to look at and admire. There's nothing wrong with "Gookum." The earliest issues of Mad were supposedly take-offs on the EC line, so Wood did science fiction stories and Davis did horror spoofs. It was when Mad started spoofing other comic books and television that readers found them.
I was too young to buy those issues of Mad from the stands, but my brother-in-law, Jim, was a high school kid at the time and said Mad was IT, the coolest comic ever. Even in the early '50s comic books were considered kid stuff, beneath the hep kats in high school, except for Mad.
I'm also showing the color version of "Gookum," which I scanned from the Tales Calculated To Drive You Mad Special #1, published in 1997.
**********While we're on the subject of EC Comics, I came across this interesting reference to the infamous "Are You A Red Dupe?" ad that ran in EC's titles in mid-1954.
This letter, by T. Bernard Mathews of Reading, PA, was published in the Reading Eagle of May 19, 1954. What Mathews has done is quote directly from the "Red Dupe" ad. (He even perpetuated the misspelling of Wertham's name: it's not "Frederick," but Fredric). "After little reading," he claims early on in his letter. Yes, very little! One page, one ad out of a comic book. That's Bernard's research! I'm not saying the information in the EC page is incorrect, although it does seem a bit odd that they blunted their message with a Mad, or more correctly Panic (i.e., the comic poor Melvin printed is Panisky), satire of Russian censorship.
The ad got publisher William M. Gaines in even more trouble with the Senate committee he testified before. People in that era didn't have a sense of humor about being called red dupes.
I found the letter on the blog, Yesterday's Papers, an amazing site by John Adcock. I recommend it highly.