Thursday, December 29, 2011

ANOTHER MAD PAPERBACK REVIEW! THE ORGANIZATION MAD by the usual gang of idiots! (Signet paperback, 1960)

Hope you had a merriest of Christmas...wish I did! But as the old philospher said,  despite all the amputations there were a number of great moments to be had this past December 25th, including the receiving of a number of hotcha gifts that really helped to sate the soul so t' speak. These gifts include a collection of DENNIS THE MENACE DVDs replicating that series' second season courtesy of Mr. Lou Rone, the entire run of the legendary JOHNNY STACCATO private dick thriller featuring John Cassavetes thanks to Brad Kohler, and none other than volume one of the daily BLONDIE comic strip (featuring the very first right up until the wedding of Blondie and Dagwood) via the graciousness of one Bill Shute, a name that better do a few ringy-dings in your mind after all these years! All of these items are whatcha'd call necessary to retain the proper BLOG TO COMM frame o' mind, but for now they'll have to wait their turn w/regards to their time in the blog spotlight because frankly, I'm gonna hafta eat 'n digest everything about these items before I can give 'em a fair shake! For now, I'd like to talk at'cha 'bout a tried and true book that's graced my library in one form since at least 1970, and if it coulda survived all those years w/o being tossed into a wastebasket or sold at a garage sale (which come to think of it is what happened to my first copy!) then it coulda survived in yours as well!

THE ORGANIZATION MAD's got a boffo Kelly Freas cover (tho no actual Alfred E grin guaranteed to sucker at least 100,000 early-sixties adolescent geeks into buyin' the thing!) and innards that reprint some of the earliest post-Harvey Kurtzman material at a time when you could see the shakiness in transition from Kurtzman's particular "chicken fat" style to Al Feldstein's more sleek, cosmopolitan humor vision. This 'un also contains some of Jack Davis' last MAD work before he joined up with just about every imitation in sight willing to milk his rep before returning to the fold a good decade later, and although it ain't as finely detailed as the stuff he was doing for HUMBUG (as well as some of his earlier MAD work) it's sure eye-grabbing. No Elder in sight, but there's a lotta Wally Wood which helps not forgetting the newcomers along the lines of George Woodbridge (who was better off doing westerns at Atlas), Bob Clarke and of course Don Martin who was at least two years away from perfecting his famous bulbous-nosed style which we all remember him best by.

No comic strip spoofs, but ya do get the classic tee-vee takeoffs on DISNEYLAND and GUNSMOKE which are boss even if they were edited for paperback form. (Not uncommon in these early fact I even noticed that Wood's "Wedding Album" had the needless narration excised which did improve on the thing!) As usual, some succeed while others flop. I mean, it's sure funny watching Walt Dizzy try to hide the millions of megabucks he's made o'er the years (especially for a Disney-hater like myself), yet "High School Dance" couldn't even hope to reach the level of an ARCHIE comic strip dealing with the same subject matter! And even this early in the game you can see the usual ideas and gimmicks that MAD'd be milking well into the late-seventies (when I stopped paying attention) well into perhaps today's variation on the mag which I assume is the usual pale image of that pale image everybody seemed to loathe with a passion as far back as the mid-sixties!

Not a high-rated collection true, but a definite keeper (this time). And lo and behold, whoever had previously owned this particular paperback was so possessive of it that he even wrote his name on the inside front cover in a show of true MAD loyalty or something like that. Nice move "Brian Davis" or whatever your name is, but if you want to get thie copy back you're gonna hafta fight me for it!

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