Obscure MAD Parody by Esquire

Obscure MAD Parody by Esquire • USA
August 1964
Special Sophistication Issue
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Considering all the MAD fans that are out there, I would have thought that a parody that a major magazine like Esquire did on them and their mascot Alfred E. Neuman to have lived on in infamy. This doesn't appear to be the case.
Around 1965 when I was completing my run of every issue of MAD, a friend of mine gave me a copy of the 5 page parody called BAD. The pages were cut out of Esquire magazine but I didn't know this as each page was cropped and bound together with tape to make it its own little 5 page magazine. Decades later I decided to do a Google search of the MAD parody and was surprised to see that absolutely nothing about it came up. However, with a little more investigation I finally found that it originally appeared in the August, 1964 of Esquire. (For all you fans that want to get a copy of this, now's your chance. Back issues of Esquire are fairly plentiful.)
I never thought this parody was hilarious- in fact, I think it's a bit odd. There's a streak of dark humor here as Esquire compares the readership to degenerates, drop-outs and juvenile delinquents. (Or is it that kids who read this magazine are just getting smarter and figuring out the sad truth of how the real world works?) No one claimed authorship of this parody- not listed within the five pages or even the table of contents page. Odd. The artist who drew is, not only signed his name but is also listed as the illustrator. This would be Blake Hampton who was a freelance artist who also did illustrations for various children's books. In drawing this MAD parody, Blake seems to have channeled a bit of Al Jaffee's style in his artwork. At least, that's how I see it- and overall I like how the artwork was done. Mad-like in a bent sort of way.
All things considering, I don't see how this Esquire magazine parody has seemingly fallen into complete obscurity. It's worth taking a look at and reading and then you can judge for yourself.

[by Barry Siegel]

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