Mad Magazine for children?
August 24, 2011 10:07 AM   Subscribe

What are some magazines like Mad that are suitable for an eight-year-old?

My son picked up some copies of Mad at the library and loves them "because they're full of jokes." I'm not thrilled with the content, though -- he's too young for jokes about sex changes, some of the language, drawings of half-nekkid ladies, etc.

What magazines are out there with a sense of humor and lots of comics, but that are appropriate for a kid? (I know about Mad Kids but it isn't being published any longer.)

Please, don't base your answers on your childhood memories -- I'm looking for current titles. I thought Mad would be fine, but either I'm picker or it's changed a lot in the decades since I subscribed.
posted by The corpse in the library to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
You can try some of the CHEAP!!!! MAGAZINES!!!! websites, just as a sort of directory to see what's available. For example, I looked through the children's section of and didn't see anything. Forgive my childhood memory, but I was thinking of Nickelodeon Magazine, which is now defunct, although according to Wikipedia they just launched a UK version. Are you in the UK? Maybe your library can get access to that? Okay actually nevermind, according to a press release I just found about Nick Magazine UK, it's targeted at tween and teen girls. So... if he's too cool/old for Highlights and Cricket, you might just have to prescreen his Mad magazines.
posted by thebazilist at 10:21 AM on August 24, 2011

Best answer: Do you have any source for old copies of Mad? My mom came of age during Mad's glory days and was a huge fan of the magazine, so I had a number of back issues and several anthologies to peruse growing up. (I remember they were books of just comics from the magazine or just jokes or just Spy vs. Spy, etc, and not books of full magazine reproductions.) Maybe he would enjoy something like that? Check second hand bookstores and thrift stores--my guess is that the bulk of what I had was published in the 60s.

I would like to note, however, that I read a whole bunch of "inappropriate" books and jokes when I was a kid and had my fill of half-nekkid lady drawings. I did not turn into a crazed sex pervert. YMMV.
posted by phunniemee at 10:31 AM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Archie and Disney comics, and Marvel and DC both makes comics aimed at younger readers, but I can't think of any satirical magazines that are aimed for that age.

But I dunno, I read MAD when I was 9 or 10 and I don't think I got half of the jokes at the time. I really think most of the blue jokes will just go over his head completely. I wouldn't worry unduly about it.
posted by empath at 10:34 AM on August 24, 2011

Best answer: I grew up reading MAD at a young age and found all the weird cynical sex humor very confusing and unsettling. I just wanted to commend you for trying to provide something else -- if he seeks them out on his own and reads them privately, so be it.
posted by hermitosis at 10:43 AM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I'm in the US. I'm open to magazines in English from other countries, if they weren't one bazillion dollars.

Yeah, I read Mad when I was a kid and the jokes might not have fully sunk in. But the jokes are cruder now, I feel. I don't remember them having the same, ah, vocabulary that I'm seeing in the copies we have here now: what happened to #@)!%*!?

He's eight but wicked smart and understands things you wouldn't expect an eight-year-old to get.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:44 AM on August 24, 2011

Not a magazine, but my son loves reading Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes and especially Foxtrot. Books are cheap enough and available at any bookstore.

He also subscribes to Muse, which isn't a humor mag but has a lot of interesting articles for kids.
posted by bondcliff at 10:44 AM on August 24, 2011

Response by poster: That's it, hermitosis: "confusing and unsettling." Thank you for putting the words on it. He has autism and can take things quite literally, so it might be even more unnerving.

Foxtrot and Calvin and Hobbes are beloved here. He likes Muse (thanks for the reminder, I'd forgotten about it), but he's on a comics kick right now.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:48 AM on August 24, 2011

Yep, MAD, Cracked, etc., really aren't for kids. But my Google chops have failed me. I don't know that such a thing exists.

Beyond magazines, how about The Far Side books/anthologies? There are tons of them and there is nothing too snarky for a young man whose attitudes are being formed by everything he reads (I have always thought Calvin and Hobbes tended too far in this direction, especially for a very literal fellow, but your mileage may etc.) or innocence-destroying there.
posted by resurrexit at 11:12 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

See if you can get some of the older Mad collections from the 50s and 60s. I grew up reading Mad too (in fact was a subscriber for a few years--from Australia yet) and I remember Don Martin in particular as being really uber-weird but in a non-threatening way. And never any sexual content or offensive language.

Slight derail for nerds: Just about the first published writing of Donald Knuth was in Mad--"The Potrzebie System of Weights and Measures". I think he was 16 or something.
posted by Logophiliac at 11:37 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Not really at all like MAD, but in terms of entertaining comics with humor suitable for an eight year old I always enjoyed Asterix. There's certainly enough of those to keep anyone busy for a while.
posted by 12%juicepulp at 12:12 PM on August 24, 2011

Oops sorry just saw current titles...
posted by 12%juicepulp at 12:13 PM on August 24, 2011

My 9 year old loves the Simpsons comics and thinks they are hilarious.
posted by crocomancer at 1:11 PM on August 24, 2011

A suggestion: MAD has released a ton of Spy vs. Spy collections (example). I've never known this strip (perhaps my favorite part of MAD Magazine) to ever feature the kind of "unsettling" references you're describing above — and if your son like MAD, then presumably he likes Spy vs. Spy. So these books oughta keep him occupied for a little while.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 1:48 PM on August 24, 2011

This isn't a magazine, but the Sardine series by Emmanuel Guibert and Joann Sfar is funny, with lots of visual jokes and a ridiculous villain (Supermuscleman). But my son enjoys the Sfar and Trondheim Dungeon books even more, and they are great, though full of bloody battles. He's also interested in Mad, which to me now seems dopily sleazy and feeble, but he prefers the grossness of Dungeon, which is nice. It's a better sort of grossness.
posted by Francolin at 8:08 PM on August 24, 2011

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