One day when I was a teenager, I stumbled on the October 1, 1973, issue of New York magazine. Somehow this particular issue, released at the height of Watergate, knew the roots of the person I was to become a few years later because in it there were articles about two satirical creations that had a profound impact on me: Mad magazine and Wacky Packages.
The latter was perhaps my first knowing experience with satire. It was sometimes blunt-force satire, easy jokes for pre-adolescents, but for a 9-year-old kid trying to find an attitude to approach the world, it led to everything else. As I wrote in 2008 upon the release of a “Wacky Packages” book:
From there, it was a short trip to Mad magazine, “Saturday Night Live,” National Lampoon, punk rock, trolling used-book stores and record stores, and indulging in other mind-rotting activities (memorizing trivia, creating puns) until I became the skeptical, disillusioned writer you have before you.
(Incidentally, except for this blog, I don’t usually write in the first person — sorry, Jan and Mira, who always wanted more of me in my pieces — but I made an exception here, because, well, Wackies were so essential to my being.)
I write all this because Jay Lynch is dead. He died Sunday at 72.
Jay Lynch helped create Wacky Packages. Jay Lynch knew that much of modern capitalist life was a shuck, but he also knew that this was the only life we had, and we should be good to one another to make it tolerable. And that we should laugh.
Wackies didn’t make him or pal Art Spiegelman rich, but it was a living.
“A rough would buy a week’s worth of groceries,” he told me.
Lynch later moved on to Garbage Pail Kids and always kept his hand in the comix business. He will be missed.
Thank you, Mr. Lynch.