Cracked #357

Cracked #357 • USA
July 2002
Toon Wars!
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Comment by Tom Smith:

The joke is really clever on this Rick Parker cover, and it's really well-drawn. Making the war between American cartoons and Japanese anime is quite funny and still relevant today since anime is unbelievably huge with younger American audiences, especially with gamers. Putting the war into a World War II setting was a joke worthy of National Lampoon.

I love the text blurbs on the cover as well except that a lot of them are self-promotion, which was a hallmark of Barry Dutter's editorship at both Cracked and Gag. He had a tendency to write about himself a lot, promoting his appearances on game shows and Howard Stern, selling his dating books and sometimes even writing himself into parodies. This could be both interesting and somewhat annoying at the same time. I don't know if Nanny Dickering interviewing Dick Kulpa was his idea, but wouldn't doubt if it was. As stated Dutter liked a lot of self-referential articles, so maybe that was a tribute to his boss? This was probably the only time that Cracked listed their own editor (Dutter) on the cover as a feature attraction of the issue.

No offense to Dutter, but the contents of Cracked would get better after he left as editor. Dutter could be funny, and his Gag magazine was better than his Cracked under Kulpa, but it still suffered from an overdose of Dutter talking about himself and his personal interests. He pretty much wrote his entire Gag magazines, very much in the same way that Laikin wrote several entire issues of his humor magazines (with the main difference that Laikin didn't write about himself, except for frequently making a solitary self-depreciating remark about himself at the end of many articles, kind of a trademark.)

In addition, it could be argued (I certainly found it to be the case) that the Dutter-edited issues featured the greatest amount of toilet humor ever seen in Cracked, and I got the feeling that the audience had been shifted to Grade 1 to Grade 5 kids around this time. The classiness would come back to Cracked in a few issues, and the bar raised, when others started to take over the reins, around #360 if I remember correctly but it may have even been an issue or two earlier, I can't remember. It happened whenever Duttter left.

I do know that several people have told me that it wasn't Dutter's fault and blame it on Kulpa, but suffice to say that Cracked was at its nadir when Dutter was editor in my opinion, and was quite a good magazine again after he left, and Kulpa still published those issues. The early Kulpa issues were better as well, but not as good as the later ones.

Although there were a number of hands involved who brought dignity and class back to Cracked, I still think Scott Gosar was likely the primary person who saved the magazine in its final issues (although I remember the one with the Harry Potter cover being quite good and that's just before Scott got there).

Note the "I'm Back" in the top left hand corner, signifying that Cracked had been gone from the newsstands for about a year when this issue appeared.

The Silly CD covers were similar to what was done by Silverstone et. al. in the '90's with fake CD covers, and also similar to Wacky Packages except that most of the jokes seemed to involve bodily functions, which was a shame.