Comics

Throne in My Side: Exclusive Preview of "MAD #521"

"Live fast, die young, leave a beautiful corpse"… and MAD, on Game of Thrones

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW

Jimmy Dean echoes in the popular imagination, with a strange magical resilience. He'll never grow old, tired, worn out. He's the opposite of an aging rockstar; no old, no fat, no quiet surrender to the obscurity of needing to work a blue collar job for the last few decades to just now reclaim his fans during the Reunion Tour. There's something incredibly, immortal about the Dean health and youth and vigor.

Not that there's any good reason to knock the Aging Rocker archetype. When done right the Aging Rocker, Dylan or the Stones (your opinion of whom to include or exclude on this list will no doubt vary) leads us into very different territory -- not immortality, but perpetuity.

Like TIME or Superman, baseball or Rock n Roll itself, MAD has been unremitting these last 60 years. In many ways, it feels as if the Usual Gang of Idiots' trademark "humor in a jugular vein" has only just now found a firm footing for a proper beginning. Maybe that fact alone explains the wit and acuity with which the Usual Gang find their way into the parody business.

It's one thing to sync up the release of a "Jimmy Carter of Mars" parody poster with the release of Disney's John Carter. It's something else entirely to script and to draw a parody of Game of Thrones or Lost or Star Wars that points to the inherent weaknesses of an intellectual property that might become exposed over time.

Every hit has one or two distinct paths it can go by. Will it take three or maybe four or maybe (as with the Simpsons) 21 seasons before the depths of the storytelling model have been plumbed? Or will the hit incinerate in a blaze of glory, just two or three seasons like Rome or Deadwood? Will these hits be Jimmy Dean, or the Aging Rocker?

When MAD parodies a hit, it feels like an honest appreciation of property, its sensational strengths, and its inherent structural weaknesses. It's something that might even help creators chart that happy medium of shows like X-Files or the West Wing or Seinfeld, where and end can be reached, not not for some time yet.

Please enjoy our exclusive preview of MAD #521.

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Film

Masaki Kobayashi's 'Kwaidan' Horror Films Are Horrifically Beautiful

The four haunting tales of Masaki Kobayashi's Kwaidan are human and relatable, as well as impressive at a formal and a technical level.

Film

The Top 10 Thought-Provoking Science Fiction Films

Serious science fiction often takes a backseat to the more pulpy, crowdpleasing genre entries. Here are 10 titles far better than any "dogfight in space" adventure.

Books

'The Kill Chain': Why America Might Lose Its Next Big War

Christian Brose's defense-nerd position paper, The Kill Chain, inadvertently reveals that the Pentagon's problems (complacency, inertia, arrogance) reflect those of the country at large.

Music

2006's 'Flat-Pack Philosophy' Saw Buzzcocks Determined to Build Something of Quality

With a four-decade career under their belt, on the sixth disc in the new box-set Sell You Everything, it's heartening to see Buzzcocks refusing to settle for an album that didn't try something new.

Books

'Lie With Me': Beauty, Love and Toxic Masculinity in the Gay '80s

How do we write about repression and toxic masculinity without valorizing it? Philippe Besson's Lie With Me is equal parts poignant tribute and glaring warning.

Music

Apparat's 'Soundtrack: Capri-Revolution' Stands Alone As a Great Ambient Experience

Apparat's (aka Sascha Ring) re-imagined score from Mario Martone's 2018 Capri-Revolution works as a fine accompaniment to a meditational flight of fancy.

Music

Chouk Bwa and the Ångströmers Merge Haitian Folk and Electronic Music on 'Vodou Alé'

Haitian roots music meets innovative electronics on Chouk Bwa and the Ångströmers' Vodou Alé.

My Favorite Thing

Weird and Sweet, Riotous and Hushed: The Beatles' 'The White Album'

The Beatles' 'The White Album' is a piece of art that demonstrates how much you can stretch, how far you can bend, how big you really are. The album is deeply weird. It has mass. It has its own weather.

Music

Sarah Jarosz Finds Inspiration in Her Texas Roots on 'World on the Ground'

By turning to her roots in central Texas for inspiration on World on the Ground, Sarah Jarosz has crafted some of her strongest songs yet.

Music

Hinds' 'The Prettiest Curse' Is One of Victory

On The Prettiest Curse, Hinds create messy pop music that captures the vibrancy of youth without being childish.

Music

12 Essential Performances from New Orleans' Piano "Professors"

New Orleans music is renowned for its piano players. Here's a dozen jams from great Crescent City keyboardists, past and present, and a little something extra.

Music

Jess Williamson Reimagines the Occult As Source Power on 'Sorceress'

Folk singer-songwriter, Jess Williamson wants listeners to know magic is not found in tarot cards or mass-produced smudge sticks. Rather, transformative power is deeply personal, thereby locating Sorceress as an indelible conveyor of strength and wisdom.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.