Mad Magazine Editor Tickled Counterculture’s Funnybone

Ed Tant's picture

“What — me worry?” was the moronic mantra of Alfred E. Neuman, the grinning, gap-toothed and mirthful mascot of Mad magazine for nearly 60 years. Longtime Mad editor Al Feldstein died on April 29 at his home in Montana. He was 88.

Feldstein served as Mad’s editor for nearly 30 years, overseeing a talented staff of satirical writers and illustrators listed as “the usual gang of idiots” in each issue of the magazine. He also pushed for the fictional Neuman to be the cover boy on each issue, a tradition that continues to this day in Mad’s print editions and on its website.

Feldstein became Mad’s editor in 1956, just as the periodical was transforming from a comic book to a magazine format. He told early Mad artists Norman Mingo and Kelly Freas that Neuman should have a “devil-may-care” attitude and look like “someone who can maintain a sense of humor while the world is collapsing around him.”

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