Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Holiday Reading Room MADHOUSE "Going-Going-Real Gone!"

Though it doesn't look like it...
...this cover is actually the opener of a haunted house story spoofing both horror and then-current pop culture!
The Iger Comics Studio produced this tale for Ajax-Farrell's MadHouse V1N4 (1954), showing teen/young adult hipsters/hepcats encountering ghosts (apparently of middle-aged/older people) who didn't realize their attempts at creating ugly art and terrifying music resulted in cutting-edge popular culture!
When MAD became a surprise hit in 1953 (after the early issues lost money!) other comics publishers were quick to jump onto the bandwagon, eventually bringing out more than a dozen imitations with titles like FLIP, WHACK!, NUTS, EH!, UNSANE!, MADHOUSE/BUGHOUSE, and GET LOST!
These copiers realized that Will Elder’s cluttered “chicken fat” layouts were a major part of MAD’s success, and their pages were also densely-packed with all sorts of outlandish and bizarre gags!
Trivia: While most companies (like Ajax/Farrell) published just a single MAD imitation title, Atlas (the predecessor to Marvel) dove head-first into the fad, with no less than four titles, Snafu, WILD, RIOT, and Crazy!

These “parody comics” are uniquely 1950s catching the popular culture zeitgeist through a dual lens: not only reflecting '50s culture through parody but also being typical examples of that culture...ironically, in a way that MAD wasn't!
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