MAD Magazine was first published in 1952. I discovered the magazine in the early '70s, devouring every issue my dad brought home (hopefully before my brother could get hold of it and fold the back page). Since then, a few TV shows have tried to capture the same sense of humor, including the live sketch comedy MADtv.
MAD is back again as an animated comedy on Cartoon Network, premiering Monday, September 6, 2010, at 8:30 p.m. ET. Kevin Shinick and Mark Marek are the producers who are shepherding Spy vs. Spy, Don Martin, Al Jaffe and many other favorites onto the small screen.Kevin Shinick is perhaps best known as the creative director of Adult Swim's acclaimed stop-motion animated comedy Robot Chicken, where he is also a writer and voice actor. Nominated for an Emmy Award for his collaboration with Seth Green and George Lucas on Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II and III, Shinick won an Annie Award for the same and has gone on to write for DC Comics and EA Games, as well as for the new animated series Ugly Americans.
As Mark Marek modestly puts it, he has enjoyed moderately successful careers as a dishwasher, a chef, an illustrator and an animator. Most recently, he was animation director and lead animator on the series DJ & the Fro, lead animator on Crank Yankers as well as Young Person's Guide to History and Saul of the Mole Men for Adult Swim, and lead animation and design for KaBlam!.
The premiere will not only bring MAD back to the mainstream, but also introduce the MAD brand of humor to a whole new generation. Kevin Shinick and Mark Marek answered several of my questions about this new incarnation of MAD.
I've seen commercials and clips for the new MAD cartoon. How did you decide what to resurrect (Spy vs. Spy) and what to make new?
Kevin Shinick: Well you can't have MAD without the likes of Sergio Aragones, Spy vs. Spy, Don Martin, Al Jaffe and a host of others. Luckily for us, we not only have the blessing of these artists, but we have their talents as well. Sergio is currently drawing sketches for us, Tom Richmond is working on our parodies and we've added a whole new crop of artists to the mix. That way we're able to create brand new content, and tackle current topics, all while giving a lot of it that MAD look. Because what was most important to us was capturing the flavor of MAD.
Mark Marek: SPY vs SPY is rather iconic so the decision to animate that was easy. Sergio Aragones is available and eager to contribute and he's a legend so that was an easy pick as well. Don Martin is iconic as well. Easy pick. From the outset we've wanted to bring in new artists and styles the same way MAD magazine did. And there is always a possibility that other old school artists might become involved down the road (Jack Davis would be great).
Will there be movie parodies, like the old days?
KS: Absolutely! What would MAD be like without the likes of Avaturd, Trans-bore-mores or Groan Wars to name a few. Growing up, that was one of the things I loved most about the magazine and now I get to butcher a whole new generation of titles.
MM: Absolutely there will be movie parodies and TV parodies. Those are the hallmarks of MAD (as well as commercial parodies, product parodies, reality show parodies and all other sorts of parodies).
Since the cartoon is on Cartoon Network, with a targeted demo of young kids, how will MAD stay funny and edgy without being too "adult?"