Alfred E. Neuman

Cartoon Character

Born: November 1955
Birthplace: New York, New York
Best known as: MAD magazine's "What -- Me Worry?" kid
Alfred E. Neuman is the gap-toothed, goofy-grinned icon of MAD magazine, the humor and satire comics magazine founded by William M. Gaines in 1952. The origins of the image are a mystery, but the name and the face were first paired in 1955, in issue number 29 (previously he had been called Melvin Coznowski and Mel Haney). In 1956 artist Norman Mingo painted the standard for the now-familiar face that has, in various guises, graced the cover of MAD ever since, with the accompanying motto, "What -- Me Worry?" In the '60s lawsuits over the use of the image were unsuccessful after MAD demonstrated that the face had been used for a variety of purposes since as early as the 19th century. In the late 1990s the publishers of MAD broke tradition and allowed the image to appear in advertising, a favorite target of the magazine's lampoons since its inception. An archetype of the carefree idiot, Neuman has since appeared in ads for computer gear, instant orange drink, milk and clothing.
Extra credit: A running joke since 1956 has been Neuman's campaign for the U.S. presidency and his slogan: "You could do worse, and always have!"... In 2000 a depiction of Neuman as George W. Bush became a popular poster and tee-shirt... Those on the list of Neuman lookalikes include The Yellow Kid, Prince Charles and ABC newsman Ted Koppel.

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