MAD About Star Wars: Thirty Years of Classic Parodies (Del Rey)

mad-header.jpgThe "usual gang of idiots" tackles the ultimate bloated space opera in this collection of classic parodies.



152 pgs. FC; $21.95

(W / A: various; Editor: Jonathan Bresman; Foreword: George Lucas)


The cover to MAD About Star Wars. Click for a larger image.When MAD first began publishing in the 50’s, the slightest whiff of non-conformity was enough to make adolescents plotz, as the magazine’s Yiddish-friendly editors might say. But as the years went by, savvy readers demanded humor that was less corny and ever more clever.

The growth of MAD and its audience from blushing, Cold War-era adolescent to wiseassed, iPodded, Gulf Wars-era adolescent is made plain in the pages of a new compilation, MAD About Star Wars: Thirty Years of Classic Parodies.

In 1982, MAD suggested that future episodes of the series would be subtitled "Makin’ Wookie," "Cut and Droid," "A Matter of Life and Darth," and "Look, Ma, No Han."

In 1999, the puns gave way to a vicious and hilarious feature called "MAD‘s Star Wars Trivial Pursuit" with such questions as:

Q: This loathsome creature has a lipless mouth and a sluglike body

A: Linda Tripp


Q: Who did Luke describe as "a strange old hermit"

A: Andy Rooney

Keep going ‘til 2007, when MAD offered "Rejected Star Wars [Postage] Stamps," including one depicting "Princess Leia Ewok-tossing at an Endor cantina."

A classic MAD parody by Mort Drucker. Click for a larger image.The Star Wars films are the ultimate cultural touchstone, the book contends, and it’s a point that’s hard to argue. The franchise is ubiquitous, and so it’s been an easy target for the beloved wags of MAD for three decades now.

As MAD‘s humor has edged closer and closer to various taboos over its 50-plus years, the "usual gang of idiots" has always made sure to cover both ends of the spread: juvenile stuff for nine-year-olds, and adult stuff with a juvenile wink for fifty-nine-year-olds who’ll never outgrow the mag. The collection of Star Wars gags has the fold-ins, Don Martin and Sergio Aragones pieces, and cracks about tauntaun turds for the kiddies, and, for an older crowd, a joke about Yes album covers being recycled as Star Wars Episode II backdrops, for instance. We can only hope that George Lucas will keep screwing the pooch (or the Wookie, if you will) so that MAD can keep riffing on the mounting absurdities of the ultimate bloated space opera. | Byron Kerman

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