Posted by:on September 3rd, 2013
It’s the Cracked Guide to Skateboarding, published in the September, 1976 issue of Cracked Magazine. As a kid, not knowing the history of which came first, I still somehow managed to grok Cracked as a somewhat inferior imitator of Mad Magazine. That didn’t stop me from pouring over each issue I came in contact with. I’ve always associated Mad and Cracked with trailer homes at the lake where my cousin kept his stash hidden from plain sight in his closet. His mother would literally sneer when she’d see us reading them, and she often disapproved vocally of “that trash,” which lent them a small fraction of an illicit quality usually reserved for Playboy and the likes. Sure, there were the frequent Bill Ward illustrations featuring out of place dangerously endowed females, but for the most part it was just adolescent gags and smart-assed comments. Issue 135 of Cracked tackles skateboarding in typical Cracked fashion.
Remember that craze of a few years back called skateboarding – also referred to as “sidewalk surfing?” Well, dear friends, it’s back – this time bigger and better, with all sorts of new and improved equipment. And, as a public service for those of you already into the sport (and for those of you who want to try, but aren’t quite sure where to begin) we now offer help in the form of the Cracked Guide to Skateboarding
I couldn’t decide whether to post by full page or individual panel. I chose both, to preserve the original context and allow a detailed viewing of selected panels. There’s something I like about seeing these individual drawings at a larger scale.
First we cover the origins of the sport.
Notice that in two short panels “Surfer Bob” goes from landlocked middle-aged surfer to 50’s era head of the household. He looks more like something out of My Three Sons than anybody working an office job in the 70’s.
How not to make your own board.
Beginning the how-to section with some nonsense safety gear. Seems like they could have come up with more ridiculous props. Those shin guards look like a bra.
This skater looks like he’s 60 years old! I like the surreal little person with the stop sign. I wonder if that was a conscious appropriation of the tiny illustrations in the margins of Mad Magazine.
The old balancing a book on the head gag.
Is that piano key grip tape?
Foreshadowing the wall ride.
Then we move on to the trick section. Yes, there is the amazing over/under trick.
Man, the copywriter really phoned this one in.
I’m surprised there’s no mention of stuffing frat guys into a phone booth.
Ah yes, the bail section!
I love this panel. It’s perfect. It reminds me of learning to skateboard in my driveway with my mom and dad on my mom’s skateboard.
A staple in these scenarios, there’s always a snobby rich guy with a butler somewhere in the story.
Skate hockey was too obvious.
The inevitable broken bones and bandages panel.
Gum in the road?
Road kill. Always road kill. The publishers must have felt that kids thought road kill was hilarious, because you can almost always find road kill in a story, if not featured prominently, then tucked away in a corner somewhere.
Another staple, the hapless senior citizen.
You can blame Generation X and a nation of underachievers on Mad Magazine and Cracked. It seemed they always advocated quitting whatever fad they were lampooning, at the endof every feature. The signature of the illustrator belongs to Don Orehek.
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