The Best CRACKED Magazine Cover Ever!

Although CRACKED Magazine was never as popular as MAD Magazine, it still managed some awesome covers and incredible artwork, sometimes scoring major coups when MAD artists like Don Martin joined CRACKED. The parody and satire magazine survived from 1958 on until an anthrax scare in their office building in the wake of the 9/11 aftermath caused the magazine to miss an important publishing deadline, and was unsuccessfully revived again in 2007.

While MAD’s art styles continued to modernize, CRACKED thankfully was able to stay with nearly the same sort of nostalgic artwork styles as originally appeared in 1950’s versions of the magazine. This made CRACKED really something special, cool and familiar. And the writing was often crisp and clever as well, and certainly better than SICK or some other competitors. SICK would sometimes waste can entire page to showcase a single joke that wasn’t even hardly funny.

Working with low overhead and low pay schedules, the crew at CRACKED managed to offer monthly issues of the magazine during the long years when MAD only published eight times a year before Time Warner purchased MAD and moved it to 12 issues. MAD has now been cut back to a quarterly publication and will probably disappear sometime in the future.

Despite a far smaller circulation than MAD, CRACKED was an underrated gem of a magazine and one of the greatest American artwork magazines ever published. This classic cover parody of the Campbell’s Soup can is sheer genius. Some wealthy magazine publisher needs to step forward and bring this great magazine back again. Life is tough without it. But, humor magazines are a dying breed, with even MAD MAGAZINE seriously on the extinct species list.

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  • And of course, CRACKED has returned as a successful Internet humor blog, with top-5 and top-10 lists. I didn’t get the magazine as a kid, but I now realize it wasn’t really for me at that age.

  • Rhindle the Red

    Cracked was *absolutely* for kids when I was growing up in the 70’s. Heaping big helpings of M*A*S*H, Star Wars, the Fonz, Mork, the Dukes, etc. kept me coming back well into the 80’s, as well. I have recently begun filling in the missing issues, trying to complete all 365 issues (yes, that’s one a day for a year).

    I always preferred Cracked to Mad, mainly because Mad seemed to be stuck in a snarky, mean-spirited type of humor that I did not appreciate then and do not really appreciate now. In fact, it took many years before I learned of Mad’s better days, when Kurtzman was still on the job.

    John Severin is, of course, the main draw to classic Cracked material. His brilliant and detailed, yet clean, line gave the parodies the authentic look that made them work much better than Mort Drucker’s cartoony efforts at Mad.

    Another major draw was the regular cast of characters, something Cracked embraced righ from the get-go. In the early magazines, there was the ficitonal Editor and the sultry Veronica in addition to the ever-present Sylvester P. Smythe. Throughout the the 60’s and 70’s, the cast expanded, particularly with the introduction of Nanny Dickering, best known in her leggy, buxom and blonde incarnation courtesy of the great Bill Ward.

    Ah, I’m going on and on here. Cracked was a major part of my childhood and I do think that the world needs not only a humor magazine in the style of Cracked, but Cracked itself. I think it’s unfortunate that the legacy of Cracked is tied up in the current, as there couldn’t be anything further from the style that made Cracked what it was in its heyday. Mad at least *tries* to live up to its legacy.

    If I had the money, I’d buy the rights to the old Cracked material, pay off to change its logo (cutting ties to the mag) and start a series of reprints, as Warner has done with Mad. Can you imagine a Cracked Star Wars special, gatherin all those brilliant Severin features in one place? Star Wars meets the Six Million Dollar Man, Star Wars meets Close Encounters, Princess Leia in Gone with the Wind! Severin is still around. I’d get him to draw a parody of Episode III, the only Star Wars episode released after the shuttering of the old Mazagine.