MAD has a long history of running a wide variety of material on our back cover: fake ads, magazine parodies, comics, and more. To wrap up 2012, each member of the MAD staff selected a favorite back cover and explained why this one stands out above hundreds of others. Come back later today to see another pick, and to read them all, click here!
MAD #265, September 1986
Selected by Assistant Art Director Ryan Flanders
Ryan says: "I first saw this back cover as an adolescent MAD fan, and I consider it to be a prime example of how MAD can be equally hilarious AND educational for the younger readers in our audience. To fully understand why each card was funny, one had to be well informed about the world at large. Though I was crazy for Garbage Pail Kids, I knew little about global politics, so I made sure to learn the story behind each figure represented. I wanted to laugh at P.W. Botha as completely as I could at Prince. To this day, I often cite this piece when discussing why it works for us to address aspects of the culture that might go over a kid's head — when I was that kid, MAD made me want to jump high enough so I could catch every word.
I was also mesmerized by how well Will Elder, Harvey Kurtzman, and the MAD Art Department mirrored the look of the real Garbage Pail Kids cards. That was one of the first times I noticed that the visual elements of satire should be as accurate as the writing, and that precision is something I now strive for in all of my work at MAD."