Thursday, April 11, 2013

Paperback of the week: Mad's Dave Berg Looks at Things

I spent a lot of time reading my brother's Mad magazines growing up and my favorite artist was always Dave Berg, who did "The lighter side of..." comix. Despite the warm-and-fuzzy feelings I have for the venerable publication, however, I almost never buy the Mad mags and paperbacks that I see on my rounds. They haven't increased much in value over the years, for one thing, and god knows if I had wanted them, my hoarder-turned-minimalist brother would've gladly passed on his collection rather than slowly selling them off for small change on But I don't think I need them in my life; it's enough that my elder daughter has all of his Archie Digests (thankfully, none of the Richie Riches). And at some point I expect I will reach a crossroads with my Ripley's Believe It or Not collection...

That said, when I saw this 1967 Signet edition of Mad's Dave Berg Looks at Things, I couldn't pass it up—my favorite Mad man on my favorite topic? Come on! Sadly, this book doesn't really live up to its glorious cover. There are a few strips devoted to actual things—mostly with regard to the greedy materialism of children and wives, the whole keeping-up-with-the-Joneses compulsion—but the rest tackle more typical Berg-ian subjects (bratty teenagers, surprise parties, office politics, pets, class wars, damn hippies). But the cover totally makes it worth my while. Look at those things! Exactly the retro stuff I scavenge at the sales! The reel-to-reel, the Brownie camera, the soda siphon, the vintage kitchenware—it's like an etsy shoppe exploded all over the poor Dave Berg alter ego. Love it.

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