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October 22, 2009 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2009-10-22

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Metro

A VEIN OF HUMOR / ON THE COVER

Bill Carroll
Special to the Jewish News

Illir hat, me worry?"
Not Allen Warner, 59, of
Farmington Hills. He's not
worried at all. He recently bought his last
issue of MAD Magazine to complete his
collection of all 500 issues of the influen-
tial and irreverent American humor pub-
lication founded in 1952 by Jewish Editors
William Gaines and Harvey Kurtzman.
"Big deal: chirp the MAD editors.
It is a big deal, insists Warner, because
the collection — that he handles with kid
gloves — is insured for $20,000 and cost
the Jewish certified public accountant only
$3,500 to accumulate over the years.
MAD is famous for its satires and paro-
dies of all aspects of American life, mainly
pop culture, politics and entertainment.
The magazine's mascot is a character
named Alfred E. Neuman — who may
be Jewish — with misaligned eyes and a
gap-toothed smile, usually superimposed
over a public figure's face, uttering the
motto, "What, me worry?" A small picture
of him first appeared on a 1956 cover.
MAD's staff of editors and writers at
E.C. Publications Inc., in New York City,
who refer to themselves as "the usual
gang of idiots:' are mildly impressed by
Warner's feat. "It's nice of him to collect all
of the issues, but we're run across several
people with complete sets of the maga-
zine; it's not totally unusual: commented
Senior Editor John Ficarra, a MAD staffer
for 29 years.
"What's really unusual is a CPA with a
sense of humor;' he quipped.
What did Warner think about the com-
ment? Isn't it sort of incongruous for
an accountant to get that serious over a
humor magazine?
"My work with numbers is very
demanding and precise, so I like to read
and collect MAD because it's a hobby with
an outlet for my regular job:' he replied. "I
just love the MAD satires on the television
shows and movies, the foibles of American
life and the irreverent humor in general.
And the covers always reflect current
events in some way."

Starting To Collect
Warner, who works at GMAC in Detroit's
Renaissance Center as a consultant with

ito•

Allen Warner with his prized collection of all the MAD magazine issues.

MAD About

I •

Local collector completes a full set
of all 500 issues dating back to 1952.

Robert Half International, first got inter-
ested in MAD because he had a United
Hebrew School teacher with a sense of
humor. Fifty years ago when Warner was
9, teacher Israel Hochberg gave him a copy
of MAD, Issue No. 44, as a gift.
"I really didn't understand most of the
jokes and satires, but I started collect-
ing the issues anyway; I tried collecting
stamps and coins, but this was more fun:
he said.
Warner's college degrees also are a bit
more incongruous to his passion for a
zany comedy magazine. After graduating
from Oak Park High School in 1967, he got
a bachelor's of science degree in computer
and communications sciences from the
University of Michigan, then a master's
degree in computer science and engineer-
ing from Michigan State University. He
studied accounting at the University of
Detroit before becoming a CPA in 1983.
"Buying the later issues, starting with
No. 45, through a subscription was rela-
tively easy;' Warner explained, "but I had
to get those early issues, up to No. 43, in a
variety of ways. I bought MAD's first issue
in 1989 for $360, although it only cost a
dime when it was published in October-
November of 1952. Then the price jumped
to a quarter, and the 500th issue, in June,
has a newsstand price of $5.99 (that's still
"cheap: according to the editors).
"I also completed my collection in
June by finding issue No. 7 of October-
November 1953 right nearby in Livonia:
Warner said. "I don't think I could have
finished the collection without the
Internet, but I also got some of the old
issues through dealers, and at comic book
conventions and auctions. Those oldies
often cost $150. I even bought a few issues
over the Internet while working in Europe
on a year-long assignment in 2008:'
Prices of the old issues are determined
by a Grading Scale & Price Guide, which
rates them on the market condition
— how yellow the paper may be, if they're
frayed and even the condition of the
staples. Warner actually has a double sub-
scription now He keeps one copy to read
and wraps the other in a mylar comic bag,
puts it in an air-tight container and stores
it, along with all the others, in a climate-
controlled storage facility.

Mad About Mad! on page 12

October 22

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2009 11

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