Al Feldstein, who helped Mad Magazine grow, dies at age 88

By Daniel Levine,

Al Feldstein, the longtime editor of Mad Magazine who helped it become the top satire magazine in the country, has died. He was 88.

Feldstein died on Tuesday at his home in Livingston, Montana, Franzen-Davis Funeral Home & Crematory said Thursday, reports CNN.

Feldstein took over as Mad’s editor in 1955 and saw the magazine grow to its height of popularity. He brought together the “Usual Gang of Idiots” that provided the magazine with its outrageous content. Nothing was off limits for the group of artists and writers, who made fun of politicians, celebrities, movies and everything else in pop culture. Feldstein remained editor until 1984.

According to the New York Times, some of Feldstein’s biggest hirings include Don Martin, Spy vs. Spy creator Antonio Prohias and The Lighter Side Of...’s Dave Berg. He brought in Mort Drucker, who was skilled at caricatures poking fun of hit movies.

“We were all saddened to see Al's passing,” John Ficarra, Mad's current editor-in-chief, said in a statement. “It's impossible to overstate his importance to Mad. He took over Mad when it was transitioning from comic book to magazine and much of what the nation knows to be as Mad. He attracted many of the talents that went on to become legends -- Don Martin, Al Jaffee, Mort Drucker, Sergio Aragones ... to list just a few of the many. The result of his work in Mad can be seen in a lot of comedy media today.”

Feldstein was born in 1925 in Brooklyn and was interested in art at a young age. He went to High School of Music and Art in Manhattan and served with the Army Air forces during World War II stateside. After the war, he worked at EC, which published Harvey Kurtzman’s Mad Magazine. Kurtzman left the magazine in 1955 and Feldstein took over.

Mad is still in circulation and is published by Warner Bros.’ DC Entertainment, although its circulation is nowhere as high as it was during Feldstein’s tenure.

He is survived by his wife, stepdaughter and two grandsons.

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