(nypost.com)—“Mad began as a comic book published by EC, debuting in August 1952 (cover date October–November), and located in lower Manhattan at 225 Lafayette Street. In the early 1960s, the Mad office moved to 485 Madison Avenue, a location given in the magazine as “485 MADison Avenue”.
The first issue was written almost entirely by Harvey Kurtzman, and featured illustrations by Kurtzman, along with Wally Wood, Will Elder, Jack Davis, and John Severin. Wood, Elder, and Davis were the three main illustrators throughout the 23-issue run of the comic book.
To retain Kurtzman as its editor, the comic book converted to magazine format as of issue #24 (1955). The switchover induced Kurtzman to remain for only one more year, but crucially, the move had removed Mad from the strictures of the Comics Code Authority. After Kurtzman’s departure in 1956, new editor Al Feldstein swiftly brought aboard contributors such as Don Martin, Frank Jacobs, and Mort Drucker, and later Antonio Prohías, Dave Berg, and Sergio Aragonés. The magazine’s circulation more than quadrupled during Feldstein’s tenure, peaking at 2,132,655 in 1974; it later declined to a third of this figure by the end of his time as editor.
When Feldstein retired in 1984, he was replaced by the senior team of Nick Meglin and John Ficarra, who co-edited Mad for the next two decades. Long-time production artist Lenny “The Beard” Brenner was promoted to art director and Joe Raiola and Charlie Kadau joined the staff as junior editors. Meglin retired in 2004; however, Ficarra as executive editor, Raiola and Kadau as senior editors, and Sam Viviano, who had taken over as art director in 1999, would continue for the next 13 years.
In June 2017, the publishing company, DC Entertainment, announced that Mad would relocate to Burbank, California. None of Mad’s veteran New York staff made the move, resulting in a change in editorial leadership, tone and art direction. Bill Morrison succeeded Ficarra in January 2018. However, Morrison’s tenure was the shortest of any top editor in Mad’s history as he suddenly left the magazine without explanation in February 2019.
Gaines sold his company in the early 1960s to the Kinney Parking Company, which also acquired National Periodicals (a.k.a. DC Comics) and Warner Bros. by the end of that decade. Gaines was named a Kinney board member, and was largely permitted to run Mad as he saw fit without corporate interference.
Following Gaines’s death, Mad became more ingrained within the Time Warner (now WarnerMedia) corporate structure. Eventually, the magazine was obliged to abandon its long-time home at 485 Madison Avenue, and in the mid-1990s it moved into DC Comics’ offices at the same time that DC relocated to 1700 Broadway. In 2001, the magazine broke its long-standing taboo and began running paid advertising. The outside revenue allowed the introduction of color printing and improved paper stock. Mad ended its 550-issue/65-year run in Manhattan at the end of 2017, when its offices relocated to DC Entertainment headquarters in Burbank, California. The first issue of Mad under the new editorial team was published as “#1.”
In its earliest incarnation, new issues of the magazine appeared erratically, between four and seven times a year. By the end of 1958, Mad had settled on an unusual eight-times-a-year schedule, which lasted almost four decades. Issues would go on sale 7 to 9 weeks before the start of the month listed on the cover. Gaines felt the atypical timing was necessary to maintain the magazine’s level of quality. Mad then began producing additional issues, until it reached a traditional monthly schedule with the January 1997 issue. With its 500th issue (June 2009), amid company-wide cutbacks at Time Warner, the magazine temporarily regressed to a quarterly publication before settling to six issues per year in 2010.
Throughout the years, Mad remained a unique mix of adolescent silliness and political humor. In November 2017, Rolling Stone wrote, “operating under the cover of barf jokes, Mad has become America’s best political satire magazine.” 
Though there are antecedents to Mad’s style of humor in print, radio and film, Mad became a pioneering example of it. Throughout the 1950s, Mad featured groundbreaking parodies combining a sentimental fondness for the familiar staples of American culture—such as Archie and Superman—with a keen joy in exposing the fakery behind the image. Its approach was described by Dave Kehr in The New York Times: “Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding on the radio, Ernie Kovacs on television, Stan Freberg on records, Harvey Kurtzman in the early issues of Mad: all of those pioneering humorists and many others realized that the real world mattered less to people than the sea of sounds and images that the ever more powerful mass media were pumping into American lives.” Bob and Ray, Kovacs and Freberg all became contributors to Mad.
In 1977, Tony Hiss and Jeff Lewis wrote in The New York Times about the then-25-year-old publication’s initial effect:
The skeptical generation of kids it shaped in the 1950s is the same generation that, in the 1960s, opposed a war and didn’t feel bad when the United States lost for the first time and in the 1970s helped turn out an Administration and didn’t feel bad about that either … It was magical, objective proof to kids that they weren’t alone, that in New York City on Lafayette Street, if nowhere else, there were people who knew that there was something wrong, phony and funny about a world of bomb shelters, brinkmanship and toothpaste smiles. Mad’s consciousness of itself, as trash, as comic book, as enemy of parents and teachers, even as money-making enterprise, thrilled kids. In 1955, such consciousness was possibly nowhere else to be found. In a Mad parody, comic-strip characters knew they were stuck in a strip. “Darnold Duck,” for example, begins wondering why he has only three fingers and has to wear white gloves all the time. He ends up wanting to murder every other Disney character. G.I. Schmoe tries to win the sexy Asiatic Red Army broad by telling her, “O.K., baby! You’re all mine! I gave you a chance to hit me witta gun butt … But naturally, you have immediately fallen in love with me, since I am a big hero of this story.”
Mad is often credited with filling a vital gap in political satire from the 1950s to 1970s, when Cold War paranoia and a general culture of censorship prevailed in the United States, especially in literature for teens. Activist Tom Hayden said, “My own radical journey began with Mad Magazine.” The rise of such factors as cable television and the Internet has diminished the influence and impact of Mad, although it remains a widely distributed magazine. In a way, Mad’s power has been undone by its own success: what was subversive in the 1950s and 1960s is now commonplace. However, its impact on three generations of humorists is incalculable, as can be seen in the frequent references to Mad on the animated series The Simpsons. The Simpsons producer Bill Oakley said, “The Simpsons has transplanted Mad magazine. Basically everyone who was young between 1955 and 1975 read Mad, and that’s where your sense of humor came from. And we knew all these people, you know, Dave Berg and Don Martin—all heroes, and unfortunately, now all dead. And I think The Simpsons has taken that spot in America’s heart.” In 2009, The New York Times wrote, “Mad once defined American satire; now it heckles from the margins as all of culture competes for trickster status.” Longtime contributor Al Jaffee described the dilemma to an interviewer in 2010: “When Mad first came out, in 1952, it was the only game in town. Now, you’ve got graduates from Mad who are doing The Today Show or Stephen Colbert or Saturday Night Live. All of these people grew up on Mad. Now Mad has to top them. So Mad is almost in a competition with itself.”
Mad’s satiric net was cast wide. The magazine often featured parodies of ongoing American culture, including advertising campaigns, the nuclear family, the media, big business, education and publishing. In the 1960s and beyond, it satirized such burgeoning topics as the sexual revolution, hippies, the generation gap, psychoanalysis, gun politics, pollution, the Vietnam War and recreational drug use. The magazine took a generally negative tone towards counterculture drugs such as cannabis and LSD, but it also savaged mainstream drugs such as tobacco and alcohol. Mad always satirized Democrats as mercilessly as it did Republicans. In 2007, Al Feldstein recalled, “We even used to rake the hippies over the coals. They were protesting the Vietnam War, but we took aspects of their culture and had fun with it. Mad was wide open. Bill loved it, and he was a capitalist Republican. I loved it, and I was a liberal Democrat. That went for the writers, too; they all had their own political leanings, and everybody had a voice. But the voices were mostly critical. It was social commentary, after all.” Mad also ran a good deal of less topical or contentious material on such varied subjects as fairy tales, nursery rhymes, greeting cards, sports, small talk, poetry, marriage, comic strips, awards shows, cars and many other areas of general interest.”
[Mad (magazine) – Wikipedia]