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More Trash From Mad #1, 1958

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More Trash From Mad #1 Original art experts agree that one of the most important magazine covers of the entire 1950s is MORE TRASH FROM MAD #1.

In the history of MAD, there are only two "number one issue" pieces of original MAD cover art: this cover to MORE TRASH #1 and the cover to MAD comic book #1, which is famously and permanently locked in the private collection of legendary director/producer Steven Spielberg.

In 1958, MAD's new annual -- with the word "Treasures" crossed out and "TRASH" spray-painted in -- had a phenomenal impact on the rebellious youth who'd turned MAD into their anti-establishment training manual.

The annual MAD Magazine trashed every fad and fashion of the Fab '50s, and showed Alfred E. Neuman walking away, sack of paint and brush in hand, without looking back and without a care ... or a worry! WHAT, ME WORRY? was painted in symbolic blood-red graffiti, thickly oozing on the garbage can of 1950's life. The Usual Gang of Idiots who created MAD let fans across the land know that only ALFIE was the essential 50's icon!

Meanwhile, the rest of the icons were heaped in an amazing pile of garbage -- trashed and dashed dreams of Eisenhower & Nixon's whitebread America. The figures include a Brooklyn Dodgers pennant, a hatchet in a television, a barbecue grill and fork, a Geiger counter, a guitar from Elvis Presley (see MAD's "Melvis Breathless"), a Hula Hoop, a golf club, a banana peel, blueprints for '59 Cadillac tail fins, a leather "greaser" jacket (see the MAD "Crust" toothpaste ad), beer can opened with a church key, can of stewed tomatoes for throwing at targets deserving ridicule, an Academy Award Oscar statuette strangled by celluloid film, a parking meter, a gooseneck desk lamp, a Soviet cosmonaut space rodent (see the Wally Wood mouse that went to outer space), a Davy Crockett coonskin cap, a tube radio, brass knuckles, a beanie cap, John Foster Dulles' briefcase, a street sign for Madison Avenue, a Stetson cowboy hat, 78 records, pizza, Orson Bean's paper tree and avant-guard art in the style of Picasso. (George P. from Ottawa notes: "I think I found something that you might have missed. It's the brass sphere on a stand, framed by the hula hoop. It looks like Hero of Alexandria's steam machine, sometimes called an "aeolipile." It apparently demonstrated steam propulsion, probably in the first century A.D.")(Trevor from Melbourne reports: "Here are a few more items: The candelabra is probably Liberace's. The steel frame of a Knoll butterfly chair is at the very back. The space rodent's vessel is Sputnik which is spelled out in cyrillic text.")

This classic cover art was among MAD's greatest moments, and the actual painting is a work of fine art disguised as graphic illustration.

It was a pinnacle of achievement for MAD, which not long after lost artist Frank Kelly Freas to greener pastures and watched Alfie's transition to Norman Mingo's very popular but more two dimensional figure. MORE TRASH FROM MAD #1 is a classic 1950s color cover, painted brilliantly by Mr. Freas, who is celebrating his 50th anniversary in professional art during the year 2000.

What's the original art worth? Sotheby's expert Jerry Weist says: "MORE TRASH FROM MAD #1 is one of the most important covers of the entire 1950s. It's worth as much as $12,000 in today's market. As collectors read our new Original Art Price Guide and the market continues maturing, cover art of this quality will become untouchable."