Pop Culture & Media

May 2, 2014 7:27 PM by Sanjay Talwani (sanjay@kxlh.com)

Montana artist, MAD magazine editor Feldstein dies

HELENA -- Albert B. Feldstein, the former editor of MAD magazine and a noted Western artist who lived in Montana, has died.

Feldstein lived a low-key existence in the Paradise Valley for more than two decades, his wife Michelle said Wednesday.

He painted Western art, revisited his early comic-book work, and rescued animals on his Paradise Valley ranch.

He oversaw much of the magazine's wacky content during his 30-year stint as editor, including the development of Alfred E. Neuman, the magazine's cover boy and mascot known for his gap-toothed grin and "What, Me Worry?" catch-phrase.

The MAD Magazine website explains:

When Al Feldstein replaced Kurtzman as editor, he decided to link "Alfred E. Neuman" with the face of the idiot kid. The idiot kid made his official debut in 1956 as a write-in candidate for President on the cover of MAD #30, and the magazine now had an official mascot and cover boy. In the next issue, Alfred made his second cover appearance pictured as an addition to Mount Rushmore.

Born in Brooklyn in 1925, Feldstein worked in comic books in the 1950s before joining MAD Magazine, where he worked as editor for nearly 30 years before retiring in 1984.

The period included the development of MAD's signature wackiness, sharp social commentary, and recurring features such as its television and movie spoofs, the "Spy vs. Spy" comic, and the wildly stylized human characters of Don Martin.

In 1999, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts degree by Rocky Mountain College in Billings.

Feldstein died Tuesday at the age of 88; no services are planned.

Click here to visit his website.

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