I have recently been getting back into MAD magazine mostly because of Tom Richmond's MAD blog. I used to read the magazine a lot as a kid and teen though truth be told I always preferred Cracked mazagine.
For a long time I used to think that Cracked was the original and MAD the imitator, hence the title of the post. In either case I used to view them both as the best magazines in the world. When I was old enough I would buy them but as a kid I would read them while my mother would shop. Years later I figured out that I was wrong in my thinking MAD imitated Cracked (this occurred around the time Wikipedia had entries on the two magazines).
I can't pinpoint exactly when or why I stopped reading them but as I got older I did. I recently purchased my first MAD magazine in many years. Although I liked much of what it contained there was only one article that made me laugh out loud and that was 'It's a GOOD brand name and a BAD brand name...' written by Jeff Kruse and illustrated by Joe Coker. The rest of the stuff in the magazine I found myself appreciating more for the art than the humor. Not to say the magazine was unfunny just that the bulk of it wasn't as funny as the average 'Pearls before swine' strip.
I am in the middle of reading MAD ART by Mark Evanier. Very interesting stuff between that and the Wikipedia pages I have learned a great deal(Not to mention from the aforementioned Richmond Blog).I really loved all the Don Martin stuff ( I knew him from Cracked and had no idea he was from MAD originally as was John Severin ).
I was disappointed that Cracked no longer exists as a print mag, the online thing is nowhere near as good. I didn't get a chance to catch the brief revamped print version but I suspect it was as much a disappointment as the revamped Ren and Stimpy was.
Since I brought them up I might as well talk about them. I loved Ren and Stimpy when I was a kid. What disappointment that Rugrats lasted as long as it did but they didn't. Doug was good too (until Disney ruined it). When Ren and Stimpy came out on Spike TV I was ecstatic. That didn't last long. While I did enjoy some of the stories I got the sense that it just went over the top. I love stuff that walks the edge but not when it goes over the edge like I felt this did. Much of it seemed to be vulgarity for vulgarities sake rather than for advancing the cartoon. It also had the misfortune of being on in a block with the superior Gary the Rat and Stripperella (in my opinion the best thing that Kelsey Grammer or Pamela Lee did). Those two cartoons I was surprised to see gone so soon. While I did find Ren and Stimpy to be a bit of a disappointment I didn't want to see it end before it really had a chance.
This post seems a bit random and discordant. I am going to edit it in the near future when my thoughts are more organized. I will also add some links.