Decoding Alfred E. Neuman

Mad Magazine was founded by Harvey Kurtzman William Gaines in 1952. The first issue was October/November of that year. Chris Newman was born on July 11, 1953, about 8 months later.

Mad Magazine #30 1956For the first year or two, Mad Magazine mostly had scary monster and/or murder mystery covers. Alfred E. Neuman was introduced in November 1954, when Chris Newman was 16 months old, and first appeared on the cover in December 1956 (#30) when Chris was 3 years old.

From issue #1, and especially in those early years, Mad Magazine throws out hints that some kind of “murder mystery” is afoot. The numbers 12 and 22 are frequently worked into cover art, as are clues to who might be involved.

Everything here points to Chris’ birth being anticipated. He was marked before birth, and his life subjected to unusual influences from people with ulterior motives since day one. Crazy, but true.

Here’s a gallery of the first 30 Mad Magazine covers, spanning a four-year period: 1952-1956. Thanks to

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