I‘ve been subscribed to Tom Richmond’s MAD blog for close to a year now, ever since I first spotted it. It’s regularly filled with great drawings and discussions about caricature, and his review of the Wacom Cintiq 12WX is largely what convinced me that I really wanted one for myself.
This morning, he posted a very detailed piece discussing why all the arguments that MAD‘s move to quarterly publication is an indication of a decrease in quality of the content of the magazine are largely bullshit. This section is particularly spot on:
MAD’s real problem is one they cannot avoid… they are a magazine. Name me a single magazine, outside tabloid trash peddlers, that isn’t struggling badly right now. I suppose that’s all about content also, right? TV Guide used to sell over 20 million copies a WEEK, and now they sell about 3 million copies… I suppose the quality of their TV schedules has badly declined. Playboy used to sell over 7 million copies an issue and today they are at 3 million copies…. of course we all know the quality of naked women has decreased dramatically since the 70’s.
Now, the question I’m wondering is what is next for MAD magazine, because Richmond is very right when he concludes, “MAD is one of the few places that cartooning and illustration of it’s kind appears, and if it ceases publication entirely the world will be a poorer place.” Richmond notes that MAD and all magazines who want to survive need to embrace a combination of a web/print model. This clearly isn’t that embrace. Great blogs tied into the magazine, like Richmond’s MAD blog, are part of the solution, I think. What else is needed to make magazines survive in the age of the internet?