Monday, July 9, 2018

Dork Shadows

Cracked has one of the strangest histories of any humor magazine. Once considered a pale imitation of Mad Magazine, Cracked evolved into a publication that often felt more vibrant than the comic that inspired it (though its sales numbers were never comporable), if for no other reason than it avoided Mad's slow slide into formula. It didn't hurt that Cracked sometimes benefitted from personnel failures within their rivals' bullpens. It wasn't unusual for creators who quit Mad or National Lampoon to show up a few months later in the pages of Cracked. The strangest creative change came when Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen (?!) was briefly named the magazine's publisher.

Cracked also liked to horn in on the occasionally on-going monster magazine craze, publishing its own horror-themed parody mag "For Monsters Only" before reviving the concept in the 1980s with "Cracked Monster Party." The publication's tenth issue (which has a cover date of October 1990) included portraits of Cracked mascot Sylvester P. Smythe as various monsters, including as Barnabas Collins. I think it's pretty nifty.

The scan at the top of this post (and a few others I'll be sharing later this week) comes courtesy of Penny Dreadful, the host of PENNY DREADFUL'S SHILLING SHOCKERS. You can find her online at and catch a video sample of her show below.

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