The Australian version of MAD Magazine was founded in 1978 by Horwitz Publications. Although the licence to produce MAD in Australia was purchased in 1978, the first magazine printed wasn’t until December 1980.
When the first magazine came out it bore few differences to the US version. But most notably, it was 56 pages long compared to the 48 page US edition. It also featured some original Australian content, including “Australia Is Going MAD” announcing the new Australian edition.
The first four copies lacked an issue number and a barcode. This is presumably because Horwitz was undecided on whether to start a new run from number one, or continue with the US numbers. All was revealed with the fifth issue, sporting No. 223 on the cover. Horwitz had decided to continue with the US numbers.
The first Australian issue to have a cover different to the US edition, was number 224 in 1981. The cover art was done by Dave Emerson, with Alfred E. Neuman trying to free his mother from prison with a poorly hidden metal file in a cake.
The first Australian MAD Special was issue #38 in 1982.
Australian MAD today regularly has a different cover to the US, and while there is always reprinted US material, there is also some original Australian content.
When the first issue came out, it was prices at $1.25 AUD for 56 pages. Today, the magazine costs $5.95 AUD at 48 pages.
Australian MAD is now published by Next Media, at 12 issues per year including 8 regular issues and 4 MAD Classics.
Information on subscriptions can be found at www.mymagazines.com.au
(Author: Mark Beadle)