ABOUT THE BRITISH MAD
Thanks To Simon Wilson For The Great Information
The first British issue
was published in October of 1959. It was first published in the UK by 'Thorpe & Porter', who were largely importers of American Comic
books. They occasionally produced UK versions of US material (such as Classics Illustrated).
Either tax hikes or import restrictions on US material made it more viable to produce UK equivalent material. Some issues until the 70's are noted as being published by 'Top Sellers',
although this was a division of T&P.
Until the late sixties, UK MAD was published 7 to 8 times a year like the US version, but from 1966 on it was published 11 to 12 times a year. This necessitated the production of more original material (covers & articles). Perhaps the most collectable (and most difficult issue to find) is #161 with the UK Dr Who cover. Issues weren't cover dated until around January, 1979. Before that it was almost impossible to determine the date of these magazines. Many of the European publishers worked closely in the 60's and 70's so who many of the covers were used by several nations, but not the United States. The best known artist to U.S. readers was Harry North who contributed many UK covers and articles.
The original editor was David Climie who was replaced in the mid 1970's by Des Skinn, who is a fairly well known character in British Comic circles, having been the head of Mavel UK. He produces 'Comics International' magazine now.
Around 1977 - 1978, Thorpe & Porter closed its publishing division, and the rights were acquired by the Production Editor of MAD UK, Ron Letchford. Letchford headed a company called Suron Enterprises. It was basically a one man show with Ron acting as publisher and everything else. As circulation fell (like other magazines & comics around the world), he sold the UK rights to a company called London Editions, but stayed on as editor. LE later merged with a huge European publisher called Fleetway. Fleetway didn't push MAD, as they had no real history or connection with the magazine. Sales dropped, and UK MAD was history with issue #381.
MAD UK Specials are somewhat difficult to catalogue. Many of the early 'Extras' were unnumbered, and were just rebound magazines. There was also the early US Specials that were printed in the US, but printed with UK prices ("Worst From", "Trash", "Follies" - an interesting minor variation). The Super Specials & paperbacks were imported too, but with US prices & British prices stamped or "stickered". Around 1983 Suron began publishing UK versions of the Super Specials (almost identical to the US editions).