LOOKING BACK ON my formative years in small-town NoDak, I'm amused and alarmed by the role MADmagazine had on my development (or lack thereof). With its prime location conveniently out of the cashier's view on the bottom shelf of Northbrook Drug's sizable magazine rack, my own "usual gang of idiots" made a ritual of lifting the latest issue the morning it arrived, then poring over it for the rest of the day. We'd soak in its subversive wit while marveling at how perfectly and absurdly artists Mort Drucker, Jack Davis, and Angello Torres captured our heroes. The patron saints of delinquency, Alfred E. Newman and Co., had influenced a generation before me and now had its sassy grip firmly around mine. Following in the footsteps of last year's compilation of '60s reprints, the magazine Time once snubbed as "short-lived satirical pulp" now offers us a compilation that chronicles America at its cheesiest.
MAD About The Seventies is filled with the mag's bread-and-butter material: dead-on parodies of cinema giants (Saturday Night Feeble, One Cuckoo Flew Over The Rest) and television icons (Churlie's Angels, Schmork & Windy); the usual suspects (SPY vs SPY, The Lighter Side, Don Martin); as well as period essays from the artists themselves--all of which come together into a cheeky compendium of the Disco Decade. Had they put MAD magazine on the top shelf and Redbook or McCalls down below, it might have saved my mom from shedding so many tears over my future (the cashiers weren't always so clueless)--but then I never would have accumulated such a wealth of "snappy answers to stupid questions."