Wednesday, August 16, 2017


In the great BLOG TO COMM tradition of hailing the cheap, the swipe, the copy and the things us kids got instead of the real deal for years, I now present to you an entire tome for our times dealing with none other'n all of those definitely teenage-oriented humor mags that came and went during the latter part of them oft-loathed (but we know better!) fifties, a time when funtime entertainment was available with the flick of a switch, trashy lo-fi rock 'n roll was plentiful, life was stable enough that even the garbage man could afford a good home, wages were high and boy were some people PISSED OFF about it!

But certainly not us suburban slob baby boom ranch house UHF-TV dwellers who were soaking it all in until the seventies really put a kibosh on everything. And along with all of those other cheap imitations from cereals to comic books and tootsietoys, hipster-type satire mags were sprouting up and about the fruity plain in an attempt to coax even more pseudointellectial college kids outta their hard begged. And man, there were plenty of 'em about from CRACKED and HUMBUG to THIMK and ZANY, and you can bet your banana that alla 'em were in one way or another a swipe of that BIG TIME humor rag that was taking the teenage world by storm, an' I certainly don't mean POPULAR MECHANICS!

This long-awaited book is the brainkiddie of Dutch comics fan Ger Apeldoorn whose THOSE FABULEOUS FIFTIES blog can be espied if you'd only click the link listed on the left, while co-author Craig Yoe's one of those BIG TIME OPERATORS on the scene who lives/breathes/eats and for all I know defecates comics so you know what he's talking about! Together the two have put together a nice and solid history of the various humor mags (which were and remain oversized comic books if you ask me) that didn't last too long, and for most of us woulda been forgotten to history if we hadn't come across tattered remnants of 'em in early-seventies flea markets and still wouldn't pick 'em up for a nickel!

Apeldoorn and Yoe ignore the biggie titles which is all fine and well and stop their saga with the dawn of the sixties which ain't, but nevertheless we still get a hefty handfulla not only pertinent information regarding the titles and publishers but actual complete stories that were vying for the imaginations of people like you and me back in those funner than fun times. And ya gotta admit that the pair really do a good job not only with their li'l histories of each and every tmagazine extant but with their selection of the kinda sagas that were popping up in these pages which really do give us a good idea of just where college har hars stood a good sixty or so years back!

And those various entries from the pages of many a forgotten title remarkably show that some of the stories and artwork that appeared in these knockoffs did reach MAD's usual high standards of trashdom. I woulda been under the impression that these flybynight publications mostly run by flybynight conmen were but mere nth-raters that made mags like CRACKED and SICK look qualified in comparison, but most of these examples were good enough to have made it into the originator of it all. (Even the worse ones were about as good as a typical satire fanzine of the day, so there ain't that much dross to be found.) The stories for the most part were comparable to anything that MAD was churning out at the time, while the artwork (at times done by men before, after, or after/before their various MAD sojurns), is mostly up to the kind of airbrushed quality that were found in Bill Gaines's baby which ain't that surprising given how many of the artists were obviously swiping ideas from the usual gang of idiots given all of the Jack Davis cops to be seen here.

Well, I will take one thing regarding the art to be found within these pages back, because in NO WAY did Bill Elder ever do anything for the likes of CRAZY and LOCO that was as good as the detailed delineations he did while working for Harvey Kurtzman, but I don't really care because I'd take anything from this book over some 1973 issue of SICK with Huckleberry Fink taking Sonny's place in Sonny and Cher onna cover.

So yeah, BEHAVING MADLY really is a fantastico settle back 'n read offering with surprises galore and a few things that I'm sure will even get you all hot and bothered under the collar. Not only that but this thing can be funny (remember that word?) in a way that the entire history of COMEDY CENTRAL let alone its spiritual predecessors like Lenny Bruce and Dick Gregory (and don't forget SNL after say, 1980) haven't been even though we have been told otherwise by people who know better than us. If you value your fifties kultural jamz this might be a book to snatch up to have and to hold at least until the next significant hardback to hit us right in the psyche makes its way out.

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