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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