Every Cover of MAD Magazine, from 1952 to the Present: Behold 553 Covers from the Satirical Publication

For 65 years and count­ing, the pages of Mad mag­a­zine have enter­tained read­ers by sat­i­riz­ing all the cul­tur­al items, social fads, news items, and polit­i­cal issues of the moment. Through­out that span of time the cov­ers of Mad mag­a­zine have done the same, except that they’ve enter­tained every­one, even those who’ve nev­er opened an issue, whether they want it or not. Though on one lev­el designed pure­ly as dis­pos­able visu­al gags, Mad’s cov­ers col­lec­tive­ly pro­vide a satir­i­cal his­to­ry of Amer­i­ca, and one you can eas­i­ly browse at Doug Gil­ford’s Mad Cov­er Site, “a resource for col­lec­tors and fans of the world’s most impor­tant (ecch!) humor pub­li­ca­tion.”

Gil­ford start­ed the site back in 1997, a year that saw Mad’s cov­ers take on such phe­nom­e­na as The X‑Files, the Spice Girls, the Tam­agotchi, and Sein­feld. That last seizes the pre­sum­ably irre­sistible oppor­tu­ni­ty to draw Jer­ry Sein­feld scowl­ing in irri­ta­tion at “Neu­man” — not his neme­sis-neigh­bor New­man, but Mad’s mas­cot Alfred E. Neu­man, who appears in one form or anoth­er on almost all of the mag­a­zine’s cov­ers.

These sort of antics had already been going on for quite some time, as evi­denced, for instance, by the June 1973 cov­er above in which Neu­man dons a Droog out­fit to take the place of Mal­colm McDow­ell in A Clock­work Orange — or, in Mad’s, view, A Crock­work Lemon.

To see the archive’s cov­ers in a large for­mat, you need only scroll to the desired year, click on the issue num­ber, and then click on the image that appears. (Alter­na­tive­ly, those with advanced Mad knowl­edge can sim­ply pick an issue num­ber from the pull-down “Select-a-Mad” menu at the top of the page.) Gil­ford keeps the site updat­ed with cov­ers right up to the lat­est issue: num­ber three, as of this writ­ing, since the mag­a­zine “reboot­ed” this past June as it relo­cat­ed its offices from New York to Cal­i­for­nia. Recent tar­gets have includ­ed Don­ald TrumpDon­ald TrumpDon­ald Trump, and, of course, Don­ald TrumpMad’s longevi­ty may be sur­pris­ing, but it cer­tain­ly does­n’t look like Amer­i­ca will stop pro­vid­ing the ridicu­lous­ness on which it has always sur­vived any time soon.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

A Gallery of Mad Magazine’s Rol­lick­ing Fake Adver­tise­ments from the 1960s

Al Jaf­fee, the Longest Work­ing Car­toon­ist in His­to­ry, Shows How He Invent­ed the Icon­ic “Folds-Ins” for Mad Mag­a­zine

Mad Magazine’s Al Jaf­fee & Oth­er Car­toon­ists Cre­ate Ani­ma­tions to End Dis­tract­ed Dri­ving

Enter “The Mag­a­zine Rack,” the Inter­net Archive’s Col­lec­tion of 34,000 Dig­i­tized Mag­a­zines

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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Comments (10)
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  • Doug Gilford says:

    Thanks for the nice blurb, Col­in. Real­ly appre­ci­ate it!

  • Alan B says:

    The linked site is blocked for me due to detect­ed mal­ware, FWIW

  • Gus bucks says:

    I’m look­ing for either a Mad mag­a­zine or a Nation­al Lam­poon mag­a­zine when I was in col­lege in the 1970s ear­ly 70s up to 75 or 6 maybe and it was a fun­ny as hell one but I can’t find it I think it was either love or romance and it showed women when they were young and cute in high school and what they turned into when they were 40 or 50 and the what I remem­ber the most was cute pix­ie when she was in high school but then when she was old­er she became a bizarre-look­ing girl I can’t remem­ber do you know any­thing about this I appre­ci­ate it I’m dying to find just hilar­i­ous

  • Neil j klemek says:

    I’m look­ing for an old nation­al lam­poon issue cir­ca 1960s to the 70s that had a poster On raise and racial stereo­types from Dr. Shock­ley and it con­tained humor about racial stereo types

  • Bomba Tropie says:

    I love lemons, even when they’re brown and no longer tart. The sea­son­ing helps me with my elemental–and there­fore core–issues, such as drainage, coat, and lin­ing. I can tru­ly be free when trip­ping on elze­more.

  • Richard says:

    Can’t be 60s. The first issue of Lam­poon was April 1970.

    I do have many ear­ly issues. But I’d need more info to iden­ti­fy it. Month/Year, or theme {each issue had a dif­fer­ent one}, i.e. Sports, Back to Col­lege, etc.


  • Richard says:

    I think I know the issue you are talk­ing about. It was the For­eign­ers issue. It does­n’t have a poster The cov­er is a piece of paper nailed to a tree with a face made up of many dif­fer­ent nation­al­i­ties. French, Ger­man, Chi­nese, etc.

    Check eBay for it. If you cant find it, I can make mine avail­able.


  • Steve O says:

    Nation­al Lam­poon, Jan. 1974 “Ani­mal” issue, The Schlock­ly The­o­ry by P.J. O’Rourke on p.40

  • Steve O says:

    Nation­al Lam­poon, Nov. 1974 “Love” issue, The Engage­ment Guide by John Hugh­es on p.59. (Yes, it’s the same John Hugh­es who did Pret­ty in Pink, The Break­fast Club, and Home Alone.)

  • Susan Bennett says:

    This is a fan­tas­tic resource and obvi­ous­ly a labor of love. Thank you!

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