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Monday, November 18, 2013

STARCHIE! - Mad Magazine #12 (June 1954)

Mad Magazine came into existence, when William Gaines, having grown tired of the interference of the Comics Code Authority to his line of EC Comics, decided to branch out into humor. Written and edited almost entirely by the great Harvey Kurtzman, and featuring the art of such greats as Wally Wood, Will Elder, Jack Davis, and John Severin, the first issue debuted in August of 1952.

After, what has been reported as a lackluster first 3 issues, Kurtzman introduced the first straight parody of an entertainment icon: Superduperman, after Superman and Captain Marvel. That skewering of a topical entertainment property would become standard operating procedure for the magazine from that point on and make it one of the great success stories of comic related publishing ever.

(from Mad #4 - April 1953)

About a year later, Kurtzman decided that Archie, in it's height of popularity, was a good target for satire. Thus was born 'Starchie', in issue #12.

Featuring Starchie Andrews, Bottleneck, Salonica and Biddy, and a host of others (as well as some cameos from other cartoon characters), it was written by Harvey Kurtzman and drawn by Will Elder.

Every Archie fan should own a copy of this in one form or another, as satire is really a celebration of the popularity of it's target (like a comedy roast), and at the end is a list of books reprinting it, BUT
here for your enjoyment, is the entire 8 page story. 


  1. This is so cool. I just noticed the Tales Calculated to Drive You Mad; Archie not only ripped off Mad with Madhouse but then used it on Tales Calculated to Drive You Bats. Oh well, I guess everyone robs from someone!

  2. Great observation! As much as Archie got imitated back then, it's only fitting they did a bit of lifting themselves!

  3. ≈ Kurtzman and Elder did another Archie parody after leaving MAD, "Goodman Goes Playboy." The premise was that the Riverdale gang had gone hedonistic and had orgies. This was apparently more objectionable than them turning into gangsters, as Archie Comics sued, and ended up with all rights to the comic. It was suppressed for many years, but is now easy to find on the Internet.

    (Kurtzman and Elder then did essentially the same thing with Little Orphan Annie, with their long-running Little Annie Fanny feature in Playboy. That one somehow got past King Features' lawyers.)

  4. I consider Starchie the single greatest comic in the history of the medium . Thanks for reprinting it here so I can share it with my many depraved friends .

  5. I've skimmed a few posts as a causual Archie fan, and it's been really interesting so far!

    BTW "its" is posessive, and "it's" is a contraction for "it is."

  6. Thanks for posting this! I spent many an hour reading these Mad parodies when they were released as paperback compilations. I think I had over 50 of them by the time I was 13 or 14.

  7. I've been looking for this for years! Bill Elder was a demented genius. Loved it when I was younger and love it now. Thank you :)

  8. video archer :

  9. Brilliant! What could match this in 1954?