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National Entertainment

MAD magazine leaving newsstands after 67-year run (Really!)

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SAN FRANCISCO — MAD, the long-running satirical magazine that influenced everyone from “Weird Al” Yankovic to the writers of “The Simpsons,” will be leaving newsstands after its August issue. Really.

The illustrated humour magazine — instantly recognizable by the gap-toothed smiling face of mascot Alfred E. Neuman — will still be available in comic shops and through mail to subscribers. But after its fall issue it will just reprint previously published material.

The only new material will come in special editions at the end of the year.

DC, the division of Warner Brothers that publishes the magazine, said MAD will pull from nostalgic cartoons and parodies published over the magazine’s 67-year run.

As Neuman would say, “What, me worry?” Worry not, for MAD has more than 550 issues packed full of political parodies and edgy humour to pull from.

The magazine set itself apart as a cultural beacon for decades with its unabashed tendency to make fun of anything and push conventional boundaries. One of MAD’s best known comic series, Spy vs. Spy, featured two spies with beak-like faces and big eyes — costumes that are still regularly worn on Halloween.

It even seemingly parodied fellow popular magazine Playboy, with its Fold-In feature that appeared in nearly every issue. But instead of featuring scantily-clad models, the Fold-In printed — what else? — another joke.

DC will keep publishing MAD special collections and books.

Illustrators and comedians, including one-time guest editor Yankovic, mourned the magazine’s effective closure.

“It’s pretty much the reason I turned out weird,” he wrote on Twitter.

Josh Weinstein, a writer and producer of “The Simpsons” — which has referenced MAD many times — thanked the magazine on Twitter for its inspiring effect on eras of comedy.

“There was a moment in so many of our childhoods where you were the greatest thing ever,” he wrote.

Comedian Harry Shearer, the voice of several characters on “The Simpsons,” cracked on Twitter: “An American institution has closed. And who wants to live in an institution?”

When President Donald Trump referred to Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg as Neuman, while insisting he wouldn’t be fit to serve as president, the 37-year-old candidate said he had to Google the reference.

“I guess it’s just a generational thing,” Buttigieg told Politico . “I didn’t get the reference.”

Cartoonist Evan Dorkin, who worked for MAD, wrote on Twitter that the magazine was long a source of happiness and inspiration for him.

“I hope we provided some smiles to some readers of the past 12 yrs,” he wrote.

The magazine changed as its circumstances did, he wrote, including when the magazine began printing advertisements in 2001 and when it moved from New York City to Burbank, California, at the end of 2017. That move warped MAD’s identity, Dorkin said.

MAD was long a venue for comic artists and cartoonists to grow artistically and shape national conversation. Well-known names such as Al Jaffee, Harvey Kurtzman and Mort Drucker were associated with the magazine for decades.

Rachel Lerman, The Associated Press

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National Entertainment

Canadian actor Simu Liu to star in Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’

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Canadian actor SImu Liu cast as Marvel's first asian lead

SAN DIEGO — Canadian actor Simu Liu has been tapped to play the titular character in Marvel’s upcoming film “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”

Liu is best known for starring as Jung in CBC’s “Kim’s Convenience.”

Marvel President Kevin Feige delivered the news to thousands of fans at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday.

The film, which will see Liu’s kung fu master face off against The Mandarin, is set to come out on Feb. 12, 2021 and will also star Awkwafina and Tony Leung.

It will be the second major film of Marvel Studios’ Phase Four.

Destin Daniel Cretton will direct.

The Canadian Press

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National Entertainment

Prosecutors drop groping case against Kevin Spacey

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BOSTON — Prosecutors dropped a case Wednesday accusing Kevin Spacey of groping a young man at a resort island bar in 2016 after the accuser refused to testify about a missing cellphone the defence says contains information supporting the actor’s claims of innocence.

Spacey was charged with indecent assault and battery last year in the only criminal case that has been brought against the actor since his career collapsed amid a slew of sexual misconduct allegations. The two-time Oscar winner was among the earliest and biggest names to be ensnared in the #MeToo movement against sexual assault and harassment that swept across the entertainment and other industries.

Spacey denies groping the man, whose mother first went public with the allegations in 2017.

A phone message seeking comment was left with Spacey’s lawyer.

The actor’s accuser was ordered to take the stand earlier this month after he said he lost the cellphone he used the night of the alleged groping. The defence said it needed the phone to recover deleted text messages it says would help Spacey’s case.

The man denied deleting messages or manipulating screenshots of conversations he provided to investigators. But when he was pressed by the defence about whether he knew that altering evidence is a crime, he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination , and the judge said his testimony would be stricken from the record.

The judge then questioned how prosecutors would be able to bring Spacey to trial if the accuser continued to refuse to testify, and prosecutors told the judge they needed time to decide how to proceed.

On Wednesday, Cape and Island District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said in court documents that they were dropping the charge “due to an unavailability of the complaining witness.”

Prosecutors said in an emailed statement that they met with the man and his lawyer Sunday and told him that if he wouldn’t testify in further proceedings, they couldn’t move forward with the case. The man “elected not to waive his right under the Fifth Amendment,” prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said they could further pursue the case and grant the accuser immunity but then they would need more than his uncorroborated testimony.

Furthermore, “a grant of immunity compromises the witness to a degree which, in a case where the credibility of the witness is paramount, makes the further prosecution untenable,” they said.

Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer for the accuser, said in email that the man and his family “have shown an enormous amount of courage under difficult circumstances.” Garabedian said he had no further comment.

The hearing at which the accuser testified came days after the man abruptly dropped a lawsuit he had just recently filed against the actor that sought damages for “severe and permanent mental distress and emotional injuries.” The suit was dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning it cannot be refiled.

The man did not receive a settlement to drop the civil case, his mother said. His lawyer said he dropped it because he was emotionally overwhelmed and wanted only “one roller coaster ride at a time” and so chose to focus on the criminal case.

The man’s mother, former Boston TV anchor Heather Unruh, alleged in 2017 that Spacey got her son drunk and sexually assaulted him at the Club Car, a bar on Nantucket where the teen worked as a busboy.

The man told police he went over to talk to Spacey after his shift because he wanted to get a picture with the former “House of Cards” star. He said Spacey bought him several drinks and tried to persuade him to come home with him before unzipping the man’s pants and groping him for about three minutes.

Unruh’s son told police he tried to move Spacey’s hands, but the groping continued, and he didn’t know what to do because he didn’t want to get in trouble for drinking because he was underage. The man said he fled when Spacey went to the bathroom.

Shortly after Spacey was charged, he posted a video on YouTube in the voice of his “House of Cards” character who was killed off after the sexual misconduct allegations emerged, saying “I’m certainly not going to pay the price for the thing I didn’t do.”

Spacey has faced several other accusations.

His first accuser, actor Anthony Rapp, said Spacey climbed on top of him on a bed when Rapp was 14 and Spacey 26. Spacey said he did not remember such an encounter but apologized if the allegations were true.

The Associated Press does not typically name people who say they are the victims of sexual assault unless they identify themselves publicly. Rapp has; Unruh’s son has not.

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Follow Alanna Durkin Richer at http://www.twitter.com/aedurkinricher

Alanna Durkin Richer, The Associated Press


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