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What, Me Worry? MAD Magazine Going Quarterly

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  • being as their mascot, and their mascot's philosophy, just left the white house

  • by onion2k (203094) * on Sunday January 25, 2009 @05:54AM (#26596817) Homepage

    Given the amount of time we (by that I mean "I, and I assume everyone else is like me") spend online actually interacting with other people interested in a similar subject to ourselves it's no wonder we don't spend money on magazines any more. Unless the mag can survive on ad revenue alone, on transition to an online format that affords it's readers some interactivity then it'll die off. Obviously some titles, like Old Person Weekly or Luddite News, that cater for a non-tech-savvy audience will weather it better because their audience won't jump ship, but even those ones will be at the mercy of advertisers wanting to push their costs down.

    I see a future without hardcopy magazines at all.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 25, 2009 @05:57AM (#26596829)

      Agreed. However, I dislike the fact that I will have to take my laptop into the bathroom to replace the magazines :P

      • You won't be able to tear a page out of your laptop when you realize there's no toilet paper. Sometimes print media has an advantage. ;)

      • by HungSoLow (809760)
        Two comments:
        - prolonged sitting on the toilet isn't good for your bowels if you're not actually going the whole time
        - if you have enough time to read while you go (i.e. the action takes that long) there's something wrong with your diet
        • by syousef (465911)


          - prolonged sitting on the toilet isn't good for your bowels if you're not actually going the whole time
          - if you have enough time to read while you go (i.e. the action takes that long) there's something wrong with your diet

          As someone who's just been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel, let me just say that while it's good to let people know there's a danger to behaving in a certain way (eg. sitting on the toilet for too long) it's not always possible to avoid that behaviour. The entire medical profession sometim

          • by Cruciform (42896) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @05:39PM (#26601279) Homepage

            I was "diagnosed" with irritable bowel in '91. Basically the doctor listened to the symptoms and proclaimed that was it. I got scoped a little while later but he didn't see anything to prove him wrong.

            So while it has gotten worse every year there was nothing that could really be done about it. The next family doctor I had just reiterated the first and said that there were no real effective treatments, just live with it and try to avoid triggers.

            He retired and I have a new doctor now. Oddly enough, I started dating a nurse and she wrote down a whole battery of tests (that I was never given) and told me to take that to the new doctor. I did. Turns out it's not IBS after all. Now I'm going through more tests to find out why my white blood cell count is high, and B12 is low.

            How many doctors have you seen regarding the diagnosis? Out of all the tests I was given, I only had to pay $60 for one (Canada), but if you're in the US I'm thinking it would be about 3 grand for all of em. Parasites, white blood cells, full blood workup, the whole bit.

            IBS is the diagnosis they give when they don't want to work for a real cause.

            • by Retric (704075)

              That's good info. I would like to add that changing your diet involves changing the ecosystem living in your intestines. So large shifts can cause temporary discomfort as the stuff living in your guts adapts to the changes in your diet. There are some supplements that will aid this transition but the simplest solution it to slowly shift your diet.

            • by syousef (465911)

              My family doctor retired this year and my current doctor isn't going to work for anything. My specialist did scope me and tested me for coeliacs (blood test only, though he offered to go do my throat). I certainly haven't been tested for vitamin deficiencies nor had blood counts done. Can you please provide me with more info on the tests you were given and your likely diagnosis? I've suggested blood tests to my doctor and she didn't think them necessary...really do need to find someone better.

              • by Cruciform (42896)

                I tracked down the list of things my nurse friend told me to take to the doc. He did pretty much all of them:

                Patient fulfill ROME III criteria No Alarmsignals Blodtests: FBC,CRP, ALAT, bilirubins, bas.phosphatases, Albumine, TSH, calcium, celiac screening, lactase gene test. (apparently here in Canada the lactase test isn't done. Silly)

                3 consecutive fecal samples for worm, ovaes and parasites. (doctor only did 1, but the thing about this test is that if it's a parasite they can shed in stages and you can mi

                • by Cruciform (42896)

                  Oh, as an aside to this thread...
                  Do you get colds or the flu? Oddly enough in all the times I've had these problems with my guts I've not had the flu once. And colds never last more than a couple of days, while my friends can hack for a couple of weeks.

                • by syousef (465911)

                  Thanks for the info. I'll print it out and take a look at it. I've got to work out a way to get my doctor to take me seriously without thinking the problem is hypercondria or otherwise being categorised as difficult. In the long run I think another doctor is the only way.

                  My symptoms are very different to yours from what I can tell. With me it's bouts of extreme constipation and extreme bend over double stomach cramps. These will last for a week or so, subside, then return days or weeks later. It feels like

                  • by Cruciform (42896)

                    Has the doc tested you with different types of fiber? I can't remember if its the soluble or insoluble that can cause trouble in IBS. But if you've got IBS-C instead of D, it would be worth checking.
                    Since fiber can actually make it worse, eating "healthy" can be brutal.

                • by syousef (465911)

                  One other suspect. I have been trying to work out what I had eaten each time I've had my symptoms. Cherries and plums are one possibility. Each time I've had a problem I had eaten one, or both of thse. Tuna is another possibility, but less likely because I don't think each time I've had symptoms I'd eaten Tuna. I initially thought I had food poisoning after going through about 4 small cans for lunch one day. Bread and wheat products don't seem to make a difference at all, and my Ign/Iga is low, so it's not

                  • by Cruciform (42896)

                    Wonder if it would be a sensitivity to certain chemicals. Like the mercury in tuna. It's only in small amounts, but if it's an extreme sensitivity it might trigger something.

    • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki.cox@net> on Sunday January 25, 2009 @06:28AM (#26596925)

      Yeah but quite frankly, I'd rather have hardcopy. When my computer dies, or when I'm not around electronic devices to entertain me, having a couple of back issues of say, EGM(RIP), or MAD was a great way to kill time.

    • by operator_error (1363139) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .diotzps.> on Sunday January 25, 2009 @06:29AM (#26596929)

      I see a future without hardcopy magazines at all.

      Odds are that you don't commute by rail. Commuting by rail has its advantages, and the magazine format coincides nicely with a hard day's use of the laptop. Especially given boot times, logins, possibly a connecting train. You get the idea.

      Also, like in the movie The Accidental Tourist, its often times nice to have reading material on public transport. Gives your eyes a socially-acceptable place to focus.

      • by isorox (205688)

        Odds are that you don't commute by rail. Commuting by rail has its advantages, and the magazine format coincides nicely with a hard day's use of the laptop. Especially given boot times, logins, possibly a connecting train. You get the idea.

        I usually take two trains, and two 10 minute bike rides, on the way to work (sometimes It's one train and a 40 minute ride).

        I use my laptop every day, usually to work (means I can leave earlier), but sometimes to waste time on the internet with a 3g dongle.

        I have this nif

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jalefkowit (101585)

        Odds are that you don't commute by rail. Commuting by rail has its advantages, and the magazine format coincides nicely with a hard day's use of the laptop. Especially given boot times, logins, possibly a connecting train. You get the idea.

        Meet Kindle [amazon.com], which answers all of your concerns.

        • by afabbro (33948) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @11:44AM (#26598343) Homepage

          Odds are that you don't commute by rail. Commuting by rail has its advantages, and the magazine format coincides nicely with a hard day's use of the laptop. Especially given boot times, logins, possibly a connecting train. You get the idea.

          Meet Kindle [amazon.com], which answers all of your concerns.

          Well, except that nothing I want to read is published for it. I guess I could change all of my reading habits just to be cool, though.

        • by porcupine8 (816071) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @02:27PM (#26599545) Journal
          Meet the average American, for whom a $350 device on which to read his $20/year magazine subscription (minus the color photos that are half the point of a magazine) is not a budget priority.
          • And it will always cost $350, because electronics don't get cheaper over time. Oh, wait.
            • ...and can reproduce the same color, format size, and dot pitch of the average full color magazine.

              Oh, and I won't care if I drop it or lose it rushing for my connection.

              Kindle is a nice toy...but really...that's all it is so far.

        • by honkycat (249849)

          Kindle and its like are interesting, but not perfect replacements for magazines. A mag can be rolled/folded/wedged into a pocket, and if you leave it behind somewhere, sit on it, someone spills coffee on it, etc, you're out $3 not $300.

    • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @06:33AM (#26596945) Homepage
      Magazines are still perfect for the toilet, travel and even night time reading.

      The problem is Mad Magazine used to be good. It used to push the edge a bit and have good writing.

      Now it's just a bit bland and tiresome. I, for one, would have never thought they'd do a kid version of Mad. That just goes to s how how much it's change, imo.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AuMatar (183847)

        I used to be a subscriber. Not for a few years now. The quality of their writing has gone way downhill, even back when Gaines was still alive. Without him it's gone straight down the drain. When the moved the magazine to color and started accepting advertisers it just seemed to lose its soul.

        • A new Administration should give them some new material, instead of the same stale BS (really, how many times can you say "Bush is an idiot" before it isn't funny anymore?). Moving to quarterly publication should help concentrate the funny again. They'll be able to drop 2/3 of the chaff and pack 3-issues worth of the good stuff into one.

          Imagine if Guns and Roses had only produced one CD for "Use Your Illusion" instead of diluting the album to make a box set. Sometimes less is more.

          • Whatever song you want to dump from Use Your Illusion I/II was at one point my favorite song. (Except 'My World' and 'Coma'- those were just fillers)

            I've got HEAPS of code with queries/variables with names like, 'TheGarden' and 'SoFine'. I would say that anything I wrote in the 90's would make a lot more sense to a person who is intimately familiar with those albums. I mean, you need to know that 'Back' contains 'Off' which contains 'Bitch'. Not knowing the order would be problematic.

            (Yes, I know, I shou

            • by honkycat (249849)

              I agree about My World, but Coma was one of my favorites. Not all the time, but there was a lot going on in it and it was good sorta background. Overall I thought the albums worked well. Yeah, not every song was a hit single, but (other than My World) together they made up a nice complete work. Also, I don't think you can combine the two into a single very well. The two parts had very different tones-- 1 really felt "red" and 2 really felt "blue" to me, matching the cover artwork.

      • No kidding. I was an avid reader when I was 8, 9 and 10 back in the mid-late 70's when MAD still had the original team of writers. I always kind of thought of it as a kid's magazine I guess. I thought it was really well written back then. I bought a copy a few years back and a lot of it seemed re-cycled and really bland. Then again, maybe I just got older / changed :P
      • The problem is Mad Magazine used to be good. It used to push the edge a bit and have good writing. Now it's just a bit bland and tiresome.

        It's not just you. I bought a copy a couple of months ago to see if my kids might like it the way I enjoyed it when I was their age. It was awful! I mean, you can't replace Don Martin, but they could have at least tried to keep the same spirit.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Dying is too strong a word. The format is being refined. The wheat is being separated from the chaff.

      It's the magazines that use filler info in order to sell advertising that are losing out to the internet. These magazines aren't offering any substance of their own, so they're losing out to the free websites that are doing the same thing for less. Their entire cost is based on their method of distribution. The internet comes along with virtually free distribution and no cost to subscribers, it's a no-braine

      • You know there are still those of us who object to using our laptops in the bathroom or in bed, would rather not bring them out on the bus. Or simply just want a break from their eye strain inducing monitors. Ill keep my printed media thank you very much.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "Obviously some titles, like Old Person Weekly or Luddite News, "

      MAD magazine is among them. It was amazing and culture-changing in its heyday, but society has moved forward. The people who made MAD special are elderly or dead. It's audience is old. Be glad it's preserved on electronic media, because it's a piece of cultural history.

      "After Mad, drugs were nothing."

    • I used to imagine that in the future instead of news-stands there will be "news-butchers" who just print up publications quickly on demand.

      I've gotten so used to getting my news online that when I'm reading an actual print publication I automatically go looking for the comments section at the end of every article.

      I think there's always going to have to be a hardcopy option.
    • by mikael (484)

      If it were on sale in the UK, I would definitely buy it - I used to read it when in the US - we do have "Private Eye" [private-eye.co.uk], but Mad magazine had a far wider area of focus.

      Whatever happened to Mad TV?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What do you mean? Is the world running out of 8 year olds?

    Going digital might help, but the target audience is still there.

  • My favorite part (Score:5, Interesting)

    by broothal (186066) <christian@fabel.dk> on Sunday January 25, 2009 @05:59AM (#26596839) Homepage Journal

    One of the things I always enjoyed from MAD was the fold-in images (they have a name, but that escapes me right now).

    I found this overview - very interesting: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/03/28/arts/20080330_FOLD_IN_FEATURE.html [nytimes.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I have been a mad subscriber for about 20 years now, and i love the mad. this really sucks. I hope they at least expand the issues to 200+ pages with extra content to make up for the extra few months of missing out. I wonder if dedicated mad subscribers will cancle their subscriptions because of this drastic change? anyhow I am going to keep mine until I determine this new format is the right direction to take the company.

    Lets hope mad exceeds our lame expectations and continues their tradition far into the

  • OK, Just one thing,
    make 'em bigger.
    sure, not the equivalent of 3 months worth of stuff, but more content than in just a single issue.

  • evolve or die! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by crazybit (918023) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @06:33AM (#26596943)
    publications like MAD will need to evolve into new communication media in order to stay in business. They already have the formula, the characters, the jokes and the artists... just throw in some 2D animators and a few web programmers and voila'! cash made out of internet traffic.

    Something curious is that Manga Magazines like Shonen Jump do not appear to be lowering their sales.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Technology won't fix this. Unfunny is unfunny whether or not it's online and the cost of putting all their old but good material online would probably kill them.

      It just desperately needs a better "usual gang of idiots".
      • by kimvette (919543)

        and the cost of putting all their old but good material online would probably kill them.

        They can't afford a $150 sheet feed scanner? Wow, they ARE hurting! ;)

        • You can already buy damn near every issue in digital form on Amazon for next to nothing. 50+ years on a DVD or two. "Absolutely Mad" it's called, and Amazon has it listed for $32, which is probably less than a year's subscription to the mag.

      • It is already [amazon.com] online. Scanned in nice PDF format files, even runs Linux.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The manga compilation mags are doing fine (at least here in Japan) because everyone has time to read on the train going to work or school. I doubt they will ever cease publication on this side of the Pacific. If there was a decent mass transportation system in America newspapers and magazine would probably not be suffering as much, but currently in America, you are usually somewhere that has Internet access when you have time to waste so why pay for something else to read when you already pay for the endles

  • Spy vs. Spy (Score:5, Funny)

    by retech (1228598) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @06:34AM (#26596949)
    Since Obama said OK to Warrantless Wiretapping it kind of put a kink in the whole Spy v. Spy thing permanently. Now it's just sorta ___vs. Us.
  • I stopped reading it (Score:5, Informative)

    by mangu (126918) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @06:43AM (#26596977)

    I stopped reading Mad when Don Martin [wikipedia.org] died. His cartoons were pure, unadulterated, fun. He had that rare insight that humor must be fun, it needs not always carry a transcendental message...

  • by SoundGuyNoise (864550) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @06:45AM (#26596981) Homepage
    It's unfortunate that a staple of American culture has gone in this direction. For years, Mad Magazine was one of the last holdouts to not run ads, but now they do.

    Since then, the quality of the humor has dipped significantly, but it's still better than other junk that passes for comedy these days. They're even now recycling classic "Lighter Side Of..." segments in their issues.

    Whomever tagged this "nothing of value was lost" needs a history lesson. Mad has its original roots as a satire of horror comics today. Mad Magazine still exists, and so do a lot of your tenets of free speech with comics and video games, because Bill Gaines stood up to those who wanted to censor horror comics, against those who were "thinking of the children." Does that sound familiar to anyone else?

    60 Minutes has several profiles on the writing staff over the years. There are numerous books by the same writers about working at Mad and Bill Gaines.

    If Mad Magazine goes under, we lose an American icon.
    • by popmaker (570147) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @09:44AM (#26597667)
      On the lighter side though, we now have www.cracked.com. Cracked used to be a kind of a Mad rip-off, but is now doing fantastic as an internet magazine.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DerekLyons (302214)

      Whomever tagged this "nothing of value was lost" needs a history lesson. Mad has its original roots as a satire of horror comics today. Mad Magazine still exists, and so do a lot of your tenets of free speech with comics and video games, because Bill Gaines stood up to those who wanted to censor horror comics, against those who were "thinking of the children."

      Methinks it's you who need a history lesson.

      Bill Gaines lost that fight and comics were censored for decades because of it. His 'standing up'

    • For years, Mad Magazine was one of the last holdouts to not run ads, but now they do.

      This is a popular conception, but not true. The MAD comic book took real advertising, as did MAD Magazine until the Spring of 1957. Because MAD also parodied ads, these were always marked with the words "REAL ADVERTISEMENT". If you have access to the CD or DVD "complete back issues of MAD" package, you'll see them.

      I honestly don't remember whether the advertising was discontinued because it wasn't profitable enough, or be

    • by Kulilin (170982)

      MAD started losing it the day William M. Gaines passed away. He was the heart and soul of the magazine and, when he was no longer there to say what made it and what didn't make it into print, the quality of the magazine suffered. A lot. So much so that I didn't renew my subscription after William's death.

      The problem is not that only one out of three issues is funny but rather than only one third of every issue is.

  • by sleeponthemic (1253494) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @07:09AM (#26597063) Homepage
    The "parody" pieces were rarely funny but stuff like the "lighter side of..." was always quite decent.

    If they had a daily "lighter side of" (or perhaps spy vs spy) online I'm sure they'd build up a decent following and stream for ad impressions. Comic magazines like Mad and Viz (British) are missing the electronic boat.
  • ...

  • They should have canceled standard MAD and left MADkids and Classic MAD The problem with mad is that its gone stale, every joke is just a copy of a joke they used on another TV show that was based on another TV show. With MADkids they could have thrown in a fart toy (or something else vulgar), put the latest cartoon character on the cover and they were pretty much guaranteed sales. with MAD classics, they could have appealed to the die hard part of their audience thats been buying MAD for 50 years religio
  • but the eggplant over there.
  • "Along w/MAD going quarterly after issue 500, our dental plan has been eliminated-so my idea of getting my missing tooth replaced is on hold!"

    --- From http://twitter.com/AlfredENeuman [twitter.com] (and I do have it from a good authority [twitter.com] that it is the real Alfred E. Neuman.

  • MAD Super Special (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Brett Buck (811747) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @10:23AM (#26597879)

    They only put out 12 of those a year! Oh, wait...
      That does it, I'm switching to "Cracked".

            Brett

  • ...I let my MAD subscription lapse a few months ago, more out of laziness than anything else.
    There could have been more content, but what there was I still found pretty funny, at least the first few times around.

    The compilation books of old stuff are still solid gold funny stuff; I received one yesterday

  • was that MAD magazine stayed in publication even after National Lampoon stopped publishing its mag. I thought the Lampoon generally had much more sophisticated humor than MAD. In my opinion, MAD was more for the kids.

    Of course, the movies put out since then by National Lampoon belie the "sophisticated" opinion I gave above, but the movies are not the same thing as their magazine. I watched a couple of their movies, and that was plenty. But I would buy their magazine again, if it were anything like the qu
  • When I started reading MAD in the 50's ( shows my age! ) its cool sardonic madcap view of the world was unique, and a breath of fresh air in the stultifying climate of the times.

    Now its outlook is mainstream, on shows such as SNL, on Jon Stewart's arched eyebrows.

    It is hard for MAD to stand out in this environment.

    Bookwormhole.net [bookwormhole.net] -- over 7000 published book reviews.

  • Perhaps Saturday Night Live should consider this approach.

  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @03:57PM (#26600405)

    I loved Don Martin's stuff as a kid, but it's aged beyond relevance. Husbands don't come home and hang their business hat, (business hat??) and say, "Honeeeey, I'm Hoooome!" anymore. The whole psychological connection of the strip is lost. It didn't age well.

    Spy vs Spy suffers from the same thing. The cold war is OVER. --Once brilliant, that strip is about as relevant and engaging today as Beetle Baily. (Which also once connected with people in a relevant way but which has become meaningless and prosaic.)

    The only guy who still has the chops to fit today is Aragones. His "Side Lines" and basic style still shine.

    I can't even remember any of the other guys doing stuff in Mad, but the collection of that bunch all at the same place and time was what floated Mad Magazine. The last issue I looked at, a couple of months ago as it happens, was just a bunch of re-tread attempts by no-name artists to copy old formulas.

    It read the way the new Kermit sounds. False and without spark or meaning.

    Sorry, but artistic collectives must die or change with their creators passing. The only way Mad could shine again would be if they hired on a bunch of luminary geniuses versed in comic observation and satire, (of the Jon Stewart caliber), who also happen to be able to draw in awesome, engaging styles. Not only that, but the editors would have to be willing to allow such new talent to re-invent the whole look of the magazine so that it reflected themselves. --Because anybody willing to copy a dead format and a dead style which last-gasped sometime around the 1980's is certainly not going to be particularly luminary. Any real genius would have been driven mad (ahem) over the restrictions and left asap.

    And Intelligent cartoon satire hasn't vanished. There are new guys doing awesome things which don't try to be Kermit, but which are unique and genuinely exciting. XKCZ, for example, is fresh and new and. . , bloody cynical. (Imagine; there was a time when Beetle Baily was just as electric!) The big difference today is that the luminaries aren't all gathered in one convenient place anymore, and certainly not exclusively on paper. You have to go looking. --That's the part which I find most difficult. I enjoyed concentrations of work which I knew everybody else was experiencing. There was something tribal and culture-defining about it which I really drew energy from as a reader. These days, it's easy to feel disconnected.

    Thank-goodness for Slashdot, eh?

    -FL

  • Good old days (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lawpoop (604919) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @06:07PM (#26601549) Homepage Journal
    For all you guys out there pining for the fjords, just go back and read some of those classic, black-and-white, pre-advertising MAD magazines. A lot of the material was *terrible*. I'm thinking particularly of the movie parodies. They were just frame after frame of bad pun or joke. But hey, at age 9, it makes you feel very grown up and rebellious to be reading such critical literature.

    What you are experience is the nostalgia of youth. Watching an 80s transformers cartoon today, at my age, just doesn't invoke the sense of awesomeness it did when I was young. The cheesy plots, dialogue, ans sometimes crappy animation shine through.

    Cracked magazine, however, seems to have come of age in the internet. The magazine always seemed like an un-funny knock off of mad magazine back in the day. Now, I find their online top-ten lists hilarious.
    • But hey, at age 9, it makes you feel very grown up and rebellious to be reading such critical literature.

      I developed a taste for critical thinking from Mad. To this day, I can't see things like "the best movie ever!" on movie posters without imagining the whole sentence to be "No one will mistake this junk for the best movie ever!" Seriously, Mad was great for instilling a sense of skepticism in kids. What is there now that doesn't encourage either blind faith or pseudorebellion?

    • That's a pretty glowing endorsement of Cracked. I always read Cracked second to Mad precisely cause I felt it was an unfunny knock off. But I think I should give it a try. I wonder if Heavy Metal is still as entertaining as it was when I was a kid.

      • by lawpoop (604919)
        Craked online has top-ten lists that are pretty good -- that's what I was referring to. They are more edgier and adult than the magazine I remember -- perhaps their funnier because the writers are in their natural element. I haven't seen the magazine in years, so I don't know about that.
  • It was the original Star Wars (1977) edition. It wasn't too bad, but I realised I'd already grown out of it. I was 15.

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.

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