Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Number 2561: When Cracked went MAD!


This is not a usual Pappy posting. It's about Cracked #11 (1959), which your old Pappy once owned, and then found again on the internet. I had a subscription to Cracked, and remember that whomever mailed it to subscribers rolled it up and wrapped paper around it, then hand wrote the name and address. Ugh! I hated it!

But despite that I was smitten with the issues that featured Jack Davis. Davis is amply represented in this issue. He did work for more than one issue of Cracked, but I don't believe he had more of his artwork than is found here.

Looking at the contents page and the artist listing, it is like a listing of EC artists: Will Elder, John Severin, and Jack Davis. There may be another non-EC artist somewhere among those guys, but for all intents and purposes it's an all-MAD issue.

Davis and Elder had both done work for the upscale magazine MAD, after the comic book MAD fell prey to EC going out of the color comic book business. Davis, in an interview I read years ago but remember, said after Harvey Kurtzman's Humbug flopped he recalled going back to MAD publisher William Gaines and asking for work, but Gaines said his artist roster was full. What? You mean he gave Davis the bum's rush? What nerve! Eventually whatever was keeping Davis from MAD softened and he became a MADman again.

I mention again that I found this issue online. It is not what survived for a short time of my copy of Cracked #11 after being rolled and sent through the U.S. Mail. That disappeared decades ago.


Smurfswacker said...

I always loved that they labelled Horror House "real ad" just in case.

Daniel [] said...

Possibly, Bill Gaines simply felt that he had commitments or established relationships with artists whose work would be no less suitable and that left nothing for Davis. But I guess that Gaines felt very betrayed by Kurtzman, and by those who had left EC to work for Kurtzman. Being kind, forgiving, or even merely good can be difficult if one has had an abusive parent, and M[axwell] C[harles] Gaines was that.

I greatly prefer Mad under Kurtzman to Mad under Feldstein; but, considering how badly Kurtzman stumbled with most of his subsequent projects, I wonder whether Mad Magazine would have survived nearly as long as it did had he remained its editor for a few more years.

I've never cared for Cracked, and I'm somewhat surprised that it had as long a run as it did.

Mike Britt said...

"BRITT WAS HERE, SO WAS PAHLS" on page 11 was one of the many times that Severin tagged my name in CRACKED. Clearly pages 10 and 11 are by Severin, but signed by Elder.

Pappy said...

Daniel, I ignored Cracked until the late '80s, I think. Cracked was aimed more at kids, I think, so I bought the early issues and then years later when I had sufficiently lost enough brain cells I went back. Actually, at that later time I was buying (and enjoying) anything with Severin's artwork.

Pappy said...

Mike, a question about Severin. Did he ever tell you why he and Kurtzman had a falling out?