Wednesday, March 09, 2011

It's a Mad House!

I'm not sure why I bought this comic. I think it was because I read a ton of these when I was a kid and this issue was just so cheap I couldn't resist picking it up. I got it for $1.99. You can't a buy a new comic that cheap! And this one's 48 years old! And in excellent condition. I couldn't resist the purchase.

Mad House was an attempt by Archie Comics to capitalize off of the popularity of Mad Magazine. As it happened, the publisher/owner of Archie absolutely loathed William Gaines, the publisher of Mad. Mainly because of the early parody "Starchie" that appeared in isssue #12 of Mad when it was still in comic book format. I'm sure the owner, Mr. John L. Goldwater was apparently totally enraged over this Kurtzman/Elder take on his wholesome characters and just did not get the joke. So he must have taken great satisfaction when one of Goldwater's own creations, The Comics Code Authority, put most of Gaines' publishing empire out of business. Of course the revenge was short-lived as Mad switched from a comic book to a magazine that quickly became one of the most profitable publishing concerns in the history of American periodicals, making Gaines insanely wealthy.

The comic book publishing business was (and still is) notoriously incestuous. Ideas are stolen and what one company finds success with another publisher will do its best to steal and/or copy. Mad was such an enormous boon for EC that just about everyone did their best to copy it. Even Archie Comics threw its hat into the ring with a watered-down and innocuous version of the parody comic by creating ARCHIE'S MAD HOUSE. This was basically just a series of short-shorts and one page jokes and even one-panel jokes, some featuring the Archie characters, but many starring monsters or aliens or cartoon versions of historical figures placed into funny settings.

It must have worked for the series ran for eighty issues in various incarnations and counting annuals, (of which this was the first).

At any rate, I'd best be careful. Or else I'll find myself collecting Archie Comics! There are just way too many of those!

Annual #1.

To see the entire parody of "Starchie" that so enraged Goldwater to the point of wanting to actually destroy Gaines and EC Comics, go to this link HERE.

The horny Principal Weathernot chases the big breasted Biddy & Salonica around his office while Starchie and Bottleneck watch. Later he exclaims "I can't help it! They're just drawn so gosh darned cute!"

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