First thing I should mention… in tough economic times, especially when stocks and bonds have been naughty, it’s often been suggested that investing in art makes sound dollar sense. So with my two bits of wisdom said, here’s a suggestion on how to spend your ever dwindling cash cow.
Next month on November 14th three dozen pages of original artwork from MAD Magazine will be put up for auction. The pieces are expected to bring anywhere between 8 to 40 thousand dollars each. Some have estimated that as much as $400,000 dollars will be bid on these artifacts from the 1950’s. Several covers featuring MAD's official mascot -- the grinning, jug-eared boy wonder Alfred E. Neuman -- will be among the 36 items to go on the block in Dallas at the Heritage Auction Galleries, including the first cover drawing of Alfred E. by the legendary artist Norman Mingo. It's from MAD's issue No. 30, from December, 1956. It shows the gap-toothed icon as a write-in candidate for president, saying "What -- me worry?" while in the background an elephant and donkey are locked in mortal battle.
The 36 items up for bid will be previewed at New York's Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art starting on October 29th.
Founded by William Gaines and Harvey Kurtzman in 1952, MAD quickly became one of the most popular magazines of the day with its blend of absurdist, screwball, and irreverent humor -- especially with its clever parodies of Hollywood, political satires, and MAD’s brilliant ability to upend any number of the self-absorbed, bloated nabobs strewn across our pop-cultural highways.
MAD is also the last surviving title from the notorious and critically acclaimed EC Comics line that worried most every parent and teacher back in the 1940’s and 50’s. Concerns stemmed from EC’s infinite array of ghastly stories, violent-prone anti-heroes and gruesome plot twists, no doubt sickening the imaginations of every kid within eyeshot of such horror. Now owned by Warner Brothers Entertainment and subsidiary DC Comics, MAD magazine is published in over 20 countries, and has been adapted as an off-Broadway stage show, as a board game and as television ads for Mountain Dew. Several MAD albums have also been released such as Musically Mad, Mad Disco and Mad Grooves, featuring the flexi-disc hit “It’s a Gas,” and of course the sketch-comedy series, Mad TV, all sharing DNA with the ever distinguished Alfred E. Neuman.