Nick Meglin, Editor, John Ficarra, Editor, Ted Rall, Introduction by , intro. by Ted Rall. Warner/Mad Books $12.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-4012-0095-4

From Andy Capp to Ziggy, no comic strip, classic or new, is safe from the Mad Magazine treatment. Containing 40 years' worth of Mad comic strip sendups, this collection features work by comic book notables, including Wallace Wood, Harvey Kurtzman, Sergio Aragones, Russ Cooper, Will Elder and Bernie Krigstein, to name a few. The great artist Wood makes some of the parodies far more vibrant than the originals. Other takeoffs look so accurate that it's hard to believe the original strip artists didn't draw them. The humor, however, is somewhat more variable. There's a particularly funny Poopeye and Mazola Oil story that features spoofs of a few of comics' greatest strongmen, and the story "Final Episodes of Peanuts You Never Saw" finally captures such events as Charlie Brown kicking the f0otball and Marcie and Patty professing their love for Melissa Etheridge. However, spoofing material that's already satirical is a delicate business, and most of these works are mildly amusing rather than downright hilarious. The parody works best when the artists use the bland daily comic strip format to savage another topic, as in "Bush Family Circus," which takes on both Bil Keane's strip and the presidential dynasty. The book features several full-color sections and looks terrific overall, succeeding as much as a tribute to the great comic strips of the past as a lampoon. (Nov. 2003)

Reviewed on: 02/02/2004
Release date: 12/01/2003
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