My 4th of July got off to an unhappy start when I learned that MAD Magazine will cease publication after 67 years. The history of MAD, including its recent struggles, is a long and convoluted affair that I won’t address here, but the talented caricaturist Tom Richmond, a modern-era contributor to MAD, writes at length about the end of the MADness. I often get asked what cartoonists and comics influenced me when I was young. Maybe I tend to think of individuals when I am asked that question, because I always mention Bill Mauldin, Charles Schulz, Mort Walker and others who were in their heyday when I was growing up. For some reason, I seldom think to mention MAD Magazine, although no thing and no one had more influence on my young sensibilities as a humorist than MAD. It wasn’t just the artists, all of whom I admired. It was the chutzpah of the thing. It’s probably where I learned the word “chutzpah.” It was not a dirty magazine, but it was, probably, my only exposure to humor outside highly censored television comedy and the ridiculously sanitized newspaper comics and other “approved” comic books. It was sophisticated and grown-up, although it paraded as puerile and shallow. True, I have not read a copy of MAD in years, but I’m saddened by this loss of yet another print institution. It was my greatest influence as an artist, growing up.