Monday, November 2, 2009
Sick #3, 1 of 4
Since most of the comics I put here come from the same public domain resources and are used by other bloggers, I've instead decided the days I set aside for old comics will survey lesser-known humor magazines which I'll probably post in their entirety. Most were aimed at 6th graders and imitated MAD. I'm also doing this because I'm thinking of doing a book on the subject.
First up is SICK. This has gone through many incarnations in its history, but always used the same format as MAD, fifty-two pages on newsprint. It started out trying to differ itself from them by focusing on current events and the “sick” humor of stand-up comics of the day. Not sick as in “gross-out”, but as in the sick world we live in. It was closer to the humor of Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl than the parodies of TV shows and movies MAD was known for.
SICK soon evolved into the same kind of magazine it was trying to differ itself from, copying MAD and eventually even using a mascot, one Huckleberry Fink. They went from publisher to publisher, presumably part of a group deal, where a publisher acquiring one magazine gets all the others. The editor for most of its run was Paul Laikin, a MAD writer who worked on many different MAD clones, cashing in on his success authoring THE JOHN KENNEDY COLORING BOOK. It's sad that he went from doing that with Mort Drucker to working on projects with Drucker imitators.
In its final days, SICK was being published by Charlton, known for being a bottom-of-the barrel comics company that paid the lowest rates. Inexplicably, Huckleberry Fink became a knight wearing a suit of armor. The dialogue was no longer typeset but typewritten, with big words having footnotes, and the art done with Zip-a-tone rather than Duo-tone paper or wash illustrations. Editor Jack Sparling did a Little Annie Fanny imitation called Cher D'Flower which seemed out of place with the rest of the magazine's pop culture kids' satire.