Monday, April 12, 2010

THIMK #4, 1 of 4

THIMK was one of many magazines that came out when MAD started as a magazine. There were also FRENZY, NUTS, PANIC, LOCO, SHOOK UP, FRANTIC, LUNATICKLE, CRAZY, ZANY, COCKEYED, SNAFU, and the only one to last, CRACKED. In the fifties, “THINK” was a popular motto, sometimes written on posters in offices then. MAD even parodied it on the cover of their last comic.

Though MAD likes to deny the existence of other humor magazines, they did watch them closely. As Frank Jacobs wrote in 1971 in THE MAD WORLD OF WILLIAM GAINES, “'s hard putting out an imitation of MAD...About two dozen publications have tried, most of them during MAD's first decade...Most of the imitations featured an Alfred E. Neuman-like character on the cover and borrowed liberally from MAD's premises. Only two remain. The rest died painlessly at an early age. Gaines likes to think he helped speed them on their way by means of a ceremony held in his office. He would print the name of each new competitor on a piece of paper, then take a wooded darning needle and stick the paper into a voodoo doll he got in Haiti...”

These publishers knew MAD was successful, but in the late 50s, MAD itself wasn't sure what it was yet. The imitators knew it parodied ads and popular culture, so they went with that.

For some reason, it was a big deal that Elvis Presley joined the army. That's like if Tiger Woods was having affairs or O.J. Simpson was accused of murder.

I've heard of some of the writers and artists but I'm not sure who the publishers were.

The later issues (there were only five) had an attempt at a mascot named Otis Dracenstein. The cover featured him with bushy eyebrows and a scar, but not in this interior article. It's as if the editor told the artists the mascot looked like Frankenstein, and they each drew their interpretation.

In its early days, MAD used a lot of big-name comedians. THIMK didn't have much of a choice after MAD scooped them, but they found a few to reprint material from.

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