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Regina-born cartoonist featured in Mad Magazine reflects on its end

cbc.ca logo cbc.ca 2019-07-05 Jennifer Francis

A Regina-born cartoonist who had his work featured in MAD Magazine says he is sad the iconic publication is coming to an end.

"I love the magazine but you know it's owned by a giant corporation and they wanted to make more money and print is not always making as much money as everybody would like right now." Dakota McFadzean said.

McFadzean lives in Toronto, where he works as a freelance cartoonist. He has been cartooning since the early 2000s.

His has been published in the New Yorker and worked as a storyboard artist for Dreamworks. He is currently working on a graphic novel about an aging paranormal investigator. 

McFadzean worked on Almost Perfect Universe, a recurring comic in Mad, from 2014 to 2017.

a close up of text on a whiteboard: Dakota McFadzean at MAD’s New York offices before its move to Burbank in 2017. © Submitted by Dakota McFadzean Dakota McFadzean at MAD’s New York offices before its move to Burbank in 2017.

"Nothing in my career has come close to the feeling of joining the Usual Gang of Idiots in Mad Magazine," McFadzean said in a tweet.

While no official statement has been released from the magazine, Tom Richmond, an illustrator for Mad, said in a blog post that the magazine is coming to an end. It will stop making original content after 67 years of publication and rely on it's large collection to reprint magazines with new cover art, Richmond said.

History of Mad

a close up of a sign: An example of McFadzean's more recent work. © Submitted by Dakota McFadzean An example of McFadzean's more recent work.

Mad Magazine started in 1952 as a comic book by Harvey Kurtzman and William Gaines. It became a magazine in 1955.

The company was sold to the Kinney Parking Company, which later acquired DC Comics and Warner Brothers, in the early 1960s. Mad closed its New York office in 2017 and moved to Burbank, California to join the DC Entertainment headquarters. 

McFadzean said this resulted in a lot of people losing their jobs, including him.

"I think a lot of people in the comics world kind of saw it as inevitable especially when the officers moved to Burbank." McFadzean said.

He said Mad influenced generations of illustrators working on satirical content.

"It had an impact on National Lampoon and has an impact on The Simpsons," McFadzean said, "It's had an impact on the things that were inspired by that generation".

McFadzean said on Twitter that Mad Magazine died when they started selling ads. He told CBC that was sort of a joke, but it had some truth to it.

"Mad was built on the satire of popular culture and parodies of advertising," McFadzean said in an email, "It was a betrayal of Mad's values that meant the suits were going to ruin everything."

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