My Third Grade Reading List

Some of my fondest memories of childhood include pouring over magazines. Sure, I enjoyed books as much as the next guy, but some of the periodicals in the 1970's were just classic. I've sold so many things at yards sales (it kills me to think of those comic books and records that I parted with for mere pennies), but I managed to retain basically all my childhood magazines. Here's a sampling of gilligan's rainy day reading list - 1970's style.

First, there's Cracked. I know it was direct imitator of MAD with slightly less adult themes, but I didn't care. John Severin was an incredible artist (click here to see a page from his Hawaii 5-0 parody) and you had to love those monster themed issues!

Sometimes I wonder if the reason I know so much about every single TV show and movie that came out in the 1970's is because these magazines spoofed them all. There's no way I went to see Shampoo or One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest as a child, but there it was in MAD magazine.

Don't let the title of this post fool you - I still love to read these magazines, and MAD is the most enjoyable to me as an adult.

MAD had so many talented artists on its staff that each issue was a treasure to behold. All my issues of MAD have a deep crease on the back page due to Al Jaffee's fold page. I also loved Don Martin's stuff. Go here to see a sample of his off the wall works. I also enjoyed Spy v. Spy as well as the works of Sergio Aragones.

And there may be no better time capsule of the period than Dave Berg's "Lighter Side of..." series.

Then there was Crazy magazine published by Marvel Comics. The artists and writers weren't as talented as those at MAD, but it could still be irreverent and a lot of fun to read. I read it when their mascot was that little black sheik (Irving Nebish), but had gotten off the humor magazines by the time they switched to the infamous Obnoxio the Clown.

And finally, there was Dynamite magazine. Most kids got them through their Scholastic Book Club at school. Every cover was basically a stark background with a 70's icon on the cover. I still have a few of these - man are they a blast from the past! I seem to remember a magazine called Bananas that was very similar to Dynamite (help me out on this one - my memory is cloudy).

From Star Wars to "Welcome Back, Kotter" they featured the things that were important to most children of the 1970's. Of course, sometimes they were way off the mark.... egad! Sheilds and Yarnell!


  1. And when reflecting back on the Mad of the 70's we cannot forget the great movies parodies drawn by Mort Drucker. I read an interview once and he said he did not sue photos. he would watch the film and do little sketches or draw from memory. His stuff was so detailed and expressive.

    I was sort of sad when John Severin left mainstrema comics and went to Cracked full time. the last things I remember by him were his fine inks on Marie Severin's (was it his wife or sister???) King Kull, and his inks on Herb Trempe's The Hulk. Great stylist.

  2. Did you ever read SICK? With Mad, Crazy, Cracked and (if you were ahead of the curve) National Lampoon as its betters, SICK provided spoofery or a decidedly c-grade quality. Still, sometimes it would have me laughing.
    Dynamite was good too, but if you mention that, you have to mention Bananas, too!

  3. Dean- Absolutely, I read SICK. You're right that it wasn't at the level of Cracked or MAD, but well worth the quarter (or was it fifty cents?).

    Bananas was good too. I seem to remember it being just like Dynamite but for a slightly older age group.

    Sorry it took forever to reply. I'm not very organized.

  4. Mad and Cracked were required reading for me. Later, Cream (sp?) was a big one for me, once I got more into music.

  5. I mostly read Cracked in the '70s but I enjoyed Mad, as well.

    One of the funnisest things was the parody of Death Wish, when Bronson's Paul Kersey tells his friend to put 25 dollars worth of quarters in a sock to beat up muggers. Later, the friend comes back all bruised and beaten. Bronson asks him "Why didn't you put the 25.00 of quarters in the sock?" The friend replies: "I did, but all I had were traveler's checks!"

  6. I remember jerking off to that Highlights with Yarnell in it imagining what it'd be like to stick my penis in her ass... Too bad she passed away a few years back..