American's Mad Magazine


Founded as a comic book by editor Harvey Kurtzman and publisher William Gaines in 1952, Mad and its gap-toothed mascot Alfred E. Newman (still active today!) pioneered populist satire and inspired many lesser imitators. One distinctive feature of the magazine for almost its entire existence was its ability to run without advertising, allowing it to tear apart materialist culture without fear of biting the hands that fed it. Instead, for decades, the magazine ran fake spoof ads like those you see here. At the top, for example, see a 1963 ad for the “1963 ¾ Edsel,” an update of the “1963 ½ models—which made all ’63 models obsolete.” The text goes on to state frankly, “we’re taking the first steps toward “Planned Monthly Obsolescence—when every car owner will be shamed into trading in his old June ’64 car for a brand new shiny July ’64 model.” Apple, take note.



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