Thursday, November 11, 2010

CRACKED #198: That's an awesome cover!

October 1983
by Pierre L.

So, we are just a smidge away from the big issue 200! And, this mighty shark, first appearing on the cover in 1975 (well, not him...the JAWS series), bursts out of the movie screens in 3-D! The shark is cool, the concept is fun and all the detail on the folks in the crowd are just wonderful. The UPC code does get in the way (and why does it have the yellow background and why does the top third have the yellow background). And, the whole thing feels crammed in but I like it. Hey! Check out the upper left hand corner. "Jaws Contest"! I hope it involves fighting with sticks!

Before we step know all the repeats that have been popping up lately, well...that may be happening more often now...

POSTER: Repeat from Issue #145

TABLE OF CONTENTS: "Will I. Goof, pruffffff rdrrrrr" I see King Kong and...another King Kong...Hmmm...

LETTUCE FROM OUR READERS: "Next issue - August 9th" Official Cracked Fan Club going strong...Another Secret Message...I have to try and decode these things. Amos Svoboda writes! One of the letters has the "gorilla of my dreams" joke in it...Oh boy, Mickey Michaels, we want to talk to you...Are you Forrest J. Ackerman's long lost son?

THE MAKING OF JAWZ #23: Fun opening bit that covers all the Jawz films they've made over the years. Not just 3-D, but fighting Rocky and going after King Kong and teaming up with The Godfather...Wait a second...Issue #131...The Godfather Meets Jaws is on the cover. And...there is a two-page Godfather Meets Jaws section...And, this article has a 1 1/2 page abbreviated version...guys...apart from that, it's a fun bit.

WHAT YOU'LL REALLY MISS AFTER YOU GRADUATE: When I graduated from grammar school, I didn't miss articles like this. Oh, the sarcasm! From me and CRACKED... "Today in World History, class, we'll be studying the luggage of Rumania." There is a Groucho Marx joke, which is funny. But, mainly, it's three pages of all the dumb things from school...I was going to list them but you know them...The Drama Club's performance of "Fiddler" really grabbed me. I'm scanning this article again and it's so Thoroughly Average CRACKED that I can't get excited about it...sorry...

WORD PLAY: Hey! 1 Page of this! always...I didn't get any of them. Although, the giant Earth with a "What" on top of it rang a bell.

THE WIDER WORLD OF SPORTS: Repeat from Issue #139

ONE DAY ON ROUTE 14: Fun two pages. A guy following really fast chickens back to the farm. The closing gag isn't great but it's got a nice movement to it.

ABSOLUTELY, UNQUESTIONABLY, POSITIVELY, UNDENIABLY, THE VERY, VERY, LAST OF THE CRACKED LENS (and we really, really mean it this time, for sure!) Part XXI: Well, they weren't in the last issue. It's great to see them back. But, this one is 6 pages...I think that's the longest one of these they've done in a regular issue. I wonder why so long. Possibly this ties-in with all the repeated stuff. Why all of these repeats as such an historic occasion draws near?

A gentlemen left an interesting comment under #197. Giving one possible reason for some of the repeats. Give it a read.

CRACKED'S EARLY WARNING SIGNS OF "NO RESPECT": Oh no...this is just like the "What You'll Really Miss etc." article. It is only 2 pages so that's cool. "When your parents finally gave you the key to the house was it from the lock they had changed two years ago?" "If you get higher than a D on any test does your teacher think you've cheated?" "Do you have to share your hair brush with the family's cat?" "Did your parents rent out your room while you were away on an over night trip?" goes like that. Someone must have loved these sorts of articles but it wasn't me.

MRS. KONG GOES TO TOWN: Fun one pager...I am wondering why the return of Kong in this issue but, as I said, this is a charmer.

THE TRUE STORY OF THE LONE RANGER: Odd...feels like a repeat but it isn't from something I've reviewed...If I find out where it's from, I'll update this. Until then...This is a fun three page bit (they used to do bits this size more often in the past). The Lone Ranger talks about himself, and Tonto (Pronto) and other cowboys and Roy Rogers and, in the end, Lone quits and Sylvester becomes the New Lone Ranger. This is a very good bit. But...the repeat thought still nags...


GIANT "JAWS" CONTEST!!: Excellent! 1st and 2nd Prizes: Atari Home Video Games (Which ones?) 23 Runner-Up Prizes: One year Subscription to CRACKED! Well, the first two prizes are so vague...I'd shoot for #4!!

You have to find the identical sharks on a page. There are 8, pick the 2 that match. Go! There's a second page here with a huge questionnaire. What are your Favorite CRACKED features? How often do you watch TV on Saturday morning? What are your interested or hobbies? Do you own a home videogame unit? If Yes, what kind? How many cartridges do you own? How many times do you reread all or part of CRACKED? How often do you have cereal as part of your breakfast? (CRACKED Cereal!) What other CRACKED Publications do you buy? _Biggest Greatest CRACKED _King-Sized CRACKED _CRACKED Collectors' Edition _Super CRACKED _Extra Special CRACKED _Giant CRACKED (Wow!) That's not all of the questions, just my favorites.

THE FALLING GUY: Last issue, Simon & Simon. This issue, The Fall Guy. Another in the series of endless 80's hour long dramas that bore me to absolute tears. 7 pages of this. There's some fun art here but I don't know the series so maybe I'm not the one to review the parody. And, it has a joke about how dumb the show is and yet it still gets great ratings. Wasn't there a joke like that in the S&S parody last issue? Sorry, folks. This one kind of grinds the end of the issue into the ground for me.

SHUT-UPS: Oh the Fresh Air!
1 - Video Arcade (Blip!)
2 - Shoe Store (Al!)
3 - Carnival (Mom!)

Good stuff.

BACK COVER: Three strips....Sagebrush! It's not going to send you to Comic Heaven but they're fun. (I wonder if these are reprints?)

So, 13 1/2 of the 52 pages are reprints...possibly saw all those other publications I listed...Let's knock of the repeats. More than 25% of this issue is reprints and it's supposed to be the New Issue.

What's next? I'm dying to see...

Next issue: Episode 6 and the Minimal Publicity From CRACKED


VeniceBlue said...

Dear Pierre,

I must disagree with some of the statements that the other fellow made in the comments section of #197. I understand where he is coming from since he stopped reading until Don Martin joined up, but this is what really happened. I have read every issue of Cracked from the mid'70's up to the last issue in 2004 so I know what I'm talking about.

Things started to wind down, as he stated, during the last Sproul issues. Humor magazines in general were selling poorly as video games took over the interests of the young. After issue #212, Paul Laikin took over the editorship and produced some of the worst issues of Cracked every published, with stale jokes and ideas. However, this low point only lasted for a few issues. He hired a young talent, Mort Todd (aka Michael Delle-Femime) who started to offer fresh ideas and insight. Around issue #218, Mort took over the magazine and totally brought Cracked back to life, and made it more fun to read than it had been for many years. He also brought John Severin back around issue #218, got Steve Ditko, Daniel Clowes, and other great talents to work for Cracked. He brought back Bill Ward, Dick Ayers and others, and eventually brought in Don Martin. His issues of Cracked, #218 through to around #255 are some of the best Cracked magazines ever produced, and it is a great injustice to write them off.

I strongly, strongly, urge you to purchase and read the Mort Todd issues and continue reviewing them on this blog. I loved the Sproul issues at their best, but I liked Todd's even more. I know this is a long shot, but if you decide to do this, you might want to skip #212 through #217 because they are mostly horrible, but you should read through and review to 1990 at least. I love the work you have done on this blog, but I will be extremely disapointed if you don't give the Mort Todd (Delle-Femine) issues a chance. Even the letters pages and advertisments in his issues were far more interesting and fun to read than anything Cracked had done before.

After Todd left in 1990, Lou Silverstone and Matty Simmons took over Cracked and created a stable, consistent magazine. It lost the excitement of the Todd issues, but it was still a great humor magazine. It settled into a familiar pattern and could get a little dull at times as a result, but it was well-written and drawn, and I would say, just as good as the Sproul issues at this point too.

It wasn't until the late '90's when the gross-out humor started to appear as our culture itself started to go downhill at a fast rate. When Dick Kulpa took over the magazine in the early 2000's, the magazine really took a nosedive in quality with an abundance of elementary school and base humor. The last few issues of Cracked edited by Scott Gosar and Marten Jallad brought back some of the former glory and the magazine became respectable, and quite good again, but this only last for four or five issues until the magazine ended. We will not speak of the newer Maxim Cracked which I don't consider part of Cracked's history. The magazine really ended in 2004.

In conclusion, I beg of you to read and review the Mort Todd issues. You have to at least give them a shot. They are so much fun to read, I can't imagine why you wouldn't be thrilled. (But skip #213 to #217).

Tom Waters (collector, reader and owner of hundreds of humor magazines from the '50's to the present)

VeniceBlue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

THE TRUE STORY OF THE LONE RANGER: Odd...feels like a repeat but it isn't from something I've reviewed...If I find out where it's from, I'll update this. Until then...This is a fun three page bit (they used to do bits this size more often in the past). The Lone Ranger talks about himself, and Tonto (Pronto) and other cowboys and Roy Rogers and, in the end, Lone quits and Sylvester becomes the New Lone Ranger. This is a very good bit. But...the repeat thought still nags...

UPDATE: This story was an original written an sumitted by my father Rick Samples. It was not a repeat

Turbot's Finest said...

Thank you, Anonymous. I have corrected my entry. Tell your Dad he wrote an excellent bit.

-Pierre L.