Al Feldstein, who led Mad Magazine at the peak of its popularity, died at his home in Livingston, Montana today, at the age of 88.
Feldstein took over Mad in 1956 and built it into a satirical powerhouse, with subscriptions topping out at over two million by the early ‘70s. Famous features like Spy vs. Spy and Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions were hatched under Feldstein’s leadership, and he was also responsible for raising Alfred E. Neumann—the grinning, freckled red-head with a “What, me worry?” philosophy—to iconic status.
Under Feldstein, Mad Magazine skewered anyone and everyone, often earning the subject’s real-life ire, as when FBI agents working on behalf of J. Edgar Hoover demanded an apology after Mad encouraged its readers to write the director asking for an “official draft dodger card.”
Mad’s circulation, and reputation, had diminished by 1984 when Feldstein left. He spent the rest of his life in the west, mostly Montana, painting nature scenes and fantasy art.
He is survived by his wife, Michelle, stepdaughter Katrina Oppelt, her husband, and two grandsons. No cause of death was released.