MAD Magazine to Cease Publication
UPDATE: Details have emerged regarding the future of MAD Magazine following the end of original content later this year. You can read the plans, which include the continued publication of archival material and specials, here. The story as originally published continues below.
MAD Magazine will cease publication later this year, according to reports. Blogger Jedidiah Leland reportedly discovered the news after a MAD editor confessed to the magazine's doom in a Facebook group, and shortly thereafter, cartoonist Ruben Bolling seemed to confirm the report on Twitter. Of course, Bolling is not a MAD cartoonist (although he did have work published in it in 2005), so he may have been simply responding to the growing volume of responses to the Leland report.
Per the report, "I just heard from a friend of mine who is in a Facebook group with MAD writer Stan Stinberg that, after the next two issues, MAD will no longer be publishing original material. Instead, it'll publish reprinted material until it's subscription responsibilities are fulfilled and then the magazine will cease publication."
We cannot find the Facebook post in question, or even any account in the name of Stan Stinberg, on Facebook at present. Nevertheless, two separate sources close to the situation have confirmed for ComicBook.com that the report is, at least in substance, true. Later, MAD contributor David DeGrand confirmed the news on Twitter.
The venerable humor magazine, which launched in 1952 at EC Comics, relaunched in 2018, going bimonthly in a move that many fans suspected spelled a short lifespan for the magazine. Like DC's 2018 Vertigo relaunch, it seemingly did not bring in enough interest or revenue to revitalize the flagging brand. Two years ago today, MAD hired Bongo Comics co-founder Bill Morrison as its new editor-in-chief following the departure of veteran editor John Ficarra and other key members of his staff, who declined to make the cross-country trip from New York to Los Angeles with the rest of DC's editorial team.
The 2017 reorganization and subsequent 2018 reboot both struggled with finding an identity for MAD in an increasingly satire-saturated world. Between websites that can deliver topical comedy in real time and a fiercely divided American populace who cannot agree on what comedy is because their preferences break down along party lines, MAD struggled to find an elusive niche. When political humor seemed to work, MAD doubled down on lampooning the Trump administration, which earned some critical praise but likely alienated conservative readers as well as putting the magazine in direct competitions with late night shows that were delivering content nightly rather than once every two months.
ComicBook.com has reached out to DC Comics for comment, but has not, as of yet, received a response. With no comment from DC, even assuming that the reports are true, it is not yet clear what, if any, plans DC and parent company Warner Bros. might have for the MAD brand, which has lent its name to numerous projects outside of just the magazine, including two separate popular sketch comedy shows.