Sadly, here’s another Cheap Pop Culture post based on somebody talented passing away. RIP Jack Davis.
Before Cracked became a listicle site and a podcast, and you were more likely to try a MAD Magazine fold-in than you were to look through its Twitter feed, these humor magazines served a purpose to many a youth when it came to satirical skewering of the pop culture we were surrounded with at the time. As wrestling caught on with the masses so did its coverage on many national magazines, giving us some pretty awesome Cracked and MAD magazine cover illustrations.
10. Cracked Magazine – October 1985
The number ten spot goes to the first issue to feature a wrestling-themed cover. Makes sense as this was right around the time when the WWE became the pop cultural phenomenon that fused rock and wrestling together, as is evident with Cyndi Lauper being included on the cover. And Mr. T, although he wasn’t very rock ‘n’ roll.
9. MAD Magazine – February 1998
One of the few issues on the list that only features a single wrestler, which is saying something when the only other two to be featured individually are Hulk Hogan and Alfred E. Neuman as the Ultimate Warrior. Technically, there are other drawings of wrestlers in the background, but Undertaker is upfront and in color. This came out during the Monday Night Wars that gave wrestling it’s second boom period. The thing is, it’s a pretty tame cover for the Attitude Era. Undertaker should’ve had Alfred E. Neuman nailed to his cross-like symbol, or something. Okay, maybe that’s a bit much for even MAD Magazine.
8. MAD Magazine – July 1986
Wrestling was still on a hot streak when The Hulkster finally made it on to MAD Magazine. No disrespect to Cracked, but back then you know you’ve made it in the world of satirical humor magazines when you were featured on MAD Magazine. It’s also kind of crazy when you realize the drawing of Hulk Hogan is not really a caricature, but more of an accurate depiction of his likeness, it being the roid-filled 80’s and all.
7. MAD Magazine – February 1999
Unlike Sylvester P Smythe, Alfred E. Neuman doesn’t mind taking one for the team and letting his ass get handed to him by the wrestlers on these covers. It’s a good thing he’s only getting twisted up in a knot and not being forced to join Mr. McMahon’s “Kiss My Ass” club.
6. Cracked Magazine – Summer 1996
Given the amount of WCW wrestlers showcased on the cover (despite Kevin Nash still be referred to as Diesel), it’s safe to say that Cracked was the WCW to MAD’s WWE. MAD wouldn’t even feature WCW wrestlers on their wrestling covers, but Cracked did, and for their Blockbuster Wrestling Special, no less.
5. MAD Magazine en Mexico – 1992(?)
How awesome is this cover? Everyone knows that luchadores were the first live-action super heroes. Everyone. What better way to show their dominance than by laying waste to the most iconic super hero of all time. Seeing as this came out around the time of Superman’s death, it makes total sense that La Parka is triumphantly standing over him. Now, how many legendary luchadores can you name from this cover?
4. MAD Magazine – October 1992
Playing off of Alfred E. Neuman’s famous “What, me worry?” catchphrase and the ultimate of warriors, MAD Magazine gives us the most fitting wrestling persona for their iconic mascot.
3. MAD Magazine – March 1989
In the second of his third appearances for the magazine, Hogan brings along his Mega Powers brethren, Randy Savage, and the lovely Miss Elizabeth, in an homage to their famous finish at the first SummerSlam. Clearly, it was too much for Alfred E. Neuman to take. This would’ve been my number one pick if they hadn’t forgotten to include The Million Dollar Man. Mega Bucks 4 Life!
2. Cracked Magazine – May 1999
I’ll give it to Cracked Magazine for putting out a cover that really personified the crazy-ass point in time that was the Monday Night Wars, and more specifically the Attitude Era. You got some of the most famous players from each organization beating the crap out of each other in the most era-appropriate, hardcore of styles.
1. MAD Magazine – March 1992
With the exception of Earthquake (RIP), there’s a lot of star power on this cover. Granted, the Cracked cover at number two also boasts some heavy hitters, but this is the cover of the first all-wrestling super special issue to come out. And it was put out by MAD, not Cracked. Which means it was most likely way better than the wrestling special Cracked put out years later. Also, once again, Alfred E. Neuman is involved in the action going on, and not just standing by reading a book, like Sylvester P. Smythe.