I got sold all of the magazines aimed at 12-year-olds when I was in college, and now I regret doing so in my 40s. I used to have a shitload of magazines like Cracked, Crazy and Sick. I had a lot of Mads and National Lampoons I unloaded recently (in retrospect, for a song) because I have the complete runs on disc and didn't need to take up space with several boxes what I can have in something I can put in my hand. Plus the fact that electronic files are not a fire or health hazard. Even though I got rid of most of them, I still have a bunch of the lesser-known magazines and even though I originally planned to post one of each that I felt was a representative issue, I figured why not post them all. Their complete runs aren't on disc.
Cracked was around for nearly 50 years as Mad's main rival (in fact, when asked to submit to Mad a few years ago, they told me not to submit anything to Cracked), and now exists today as one of those top ten list humor/men's mag websites.
I wish I knew more about Paul Laikin. His name shows up in lots of different magazines and comics and in the credits of different shows, sometimes under variations on the spelling of his name or members of his family. He seems to have been pretty prolific.
In his later years, he was editor of Crazy magazine. I'm pretty sure he was writing some entire issues of the magazine himself. I have no proof of this, though. Maybe I'm more like birther conspiracists I deride than I think, and I come to contrived conclusions without evidence because I want them to be true. Here's why I think this:
1) he did write entire issues of Cracked by himself, like this one.
2) Some of the names in these magazines were spelled differently and never appeared anywhere else. There's no reference to them in any of the dozens of books or databases that I have.
3) As editor of Sick, he had pictures of himself and his family in one issue he mentioned by name, in later issues they're credited as writers when they still would have been children.
4) He was caught by Cracked staffers in the 80's recycling articles he had written 20 years earlier in magazines under the aforementioned pseudonyms, and crediting his dead wife as art director so he could collect two paychecks.
Though I've been told (if he's still alive) he's not a huckster at all, just capable of producing quick and he's very open about his experience in the comedy-writing business.
But anyway, here's the 16th issue from October 1960.
cover by Jack Davis.
Mascot Sylvester P. Smythe was originally there to repair cracks throughout the magazine. The name wasn't just meant as a synonym for 'insane'.
Harry Chester was also production manager for various Kurtzman projects and Warren monster magazines.
One of the reasons I don't think letters were always real is because even when people were still corresponding entirely through the post office I doubt that many people would even bothered to write to them. The letters were often too sophisticated to be from their average readership. These letters were obviously not if you check some of the names.
The Untouchables was a popular show before the movie where Robert DeNiro hit everyone with a baseball bat and before Robert Stack became the Unsolved Mysteries guy.
Art here by the one artist who worked for Cracked under its many incarnations over 30+ years John Severin.
Once again Jack Davis
More to come Thursday.