Friday, September 5, 2008

Crazy #61

Like most kids that grew up to become cartoonists, I was heavily influenced by MAD. So much so that I found out when newsstands got their weekly shipment. And if the boxes were still unopened when I got out of school, I'd pester their employees into hurrying up and putting them on the racks. If a new issue of MAD was out, I'd run home and plead for my parents to give me an advance on my allowance since I couldn't wait three days. One time my mother was outraged that it cost 60 cents for the new issue, as if the publishers could still afford to charge a dime but chose not to. I told her there was a thing called inflation, to which she replied, "I know. It makes garbage cost more". And this was just last month.

No, not really. It was more than twenty-five years ago. But back to the story. If the new MAD wasn't out, I'd settle for CRACKED. If that wasn't around either, I settled for CRAZY. If that wasn't out, SICK would do. If I was really desperate, I'd buy WACKO, TRASH, NATIONAL CRUMB, or one of the other myriad fly-by-night black & white 52-page kids' humor publications. I'd go down the ladder of humor magazine hierarchy so that like a methadone addict, I could get my weekly fix.

CRAZY was a MAD imitation Marvel did. This when Marvel was still a subsidiary of a company that put out imitations of every successful magazine in existence. CRAZY went a little bit further than most of the other juvenile satire mags mostly because some of the articles were things Marvel staffers tried to sell to NATIONAL LAMPOON.

One piece they published and reprinted several times that stuck with me was a parody of CASPER. The premise was that Harvey comics were tame and saccharine despite the fact that much of their audience read them only two years earlier, kind of like how second graders call first graders "babies" (can you imagine if 37-year-olds considered all 36-year-olds less mature? Anyway....)

Ed wanted the actual comic people had as a kid. I had several boxes of these magazines. Aside from getting them fresh off the newsstands, I would scour yard sales and thrift stores for them. Unfortunately, I got rid of them by the time I was in high school. I don't remember how, but I know it's not the usual stories like "my mother made me throw them out" or "I discovered girls". Luckily, I was able to find this story online, and the person who scanned it kept the stains and other damage the comic accrued over the years. I think if you click on the images, you can get versions that aren't cut off.

I like how the victims say what's happening to them in the throes of death. And I guess wife-beating and child abuse were okay for kids' material as long as the characters didn't say bad words.

This particular comic freaked me out as a kid and I hid it under my bed for an eternity (i.e. three months). I wasn't superstitious at all or worried comic characters would come to life and get me. I didn't have any belief in anything scary but for some reason I couldn't look at certain things a second time.

Another comic that bothered me at that age was "Flob Was a Slob" from MAD #4 by Jack Davis and Harvey Kurtzman, because of the face in this panel.
Yes, my father kept all the EC's he had as a kid, but they weren't my earliest influences, so I can't scan those.

--Sam Henderson


tomN! said...

whoah... that comic is totally crazy! possibly one of the most disturbing i've read.

Tonebone said...

I had that issue of Crazy, as well... in middle school, or thereabouts. It has always stuck with me as something a little too mean, and really unsettling. I felt bad for reading it... but how could you not?

Crazy did have its positive notes, however, like The History of Moosekind feature... it was really too good for the rest of the mag.

Muscles Moriarity said...

Yikes! Now that issue would have really traumatized my young fragile eggshell mind. I'm glad I didn't come across that one!