LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Al Feldstein, a longtime editor of U.S. humor magazine Mad who helped push it to its peak in popularity in the 1970s, died at his home in Montana, according to a funeral home announcement. He was 88. Feldstein, who was editor of Mad during its 1960s-1970s heyday and also a comic book writer and artist, passed away at his home in Livingston, Montana, on Tuesday, according to a statement by jazz guitarist and Mad expert Grant Geissman posted on the website of funeral home Franzen-Davis.
Feldstein worked at EC comics from 1948, launching horror titles that included “Tales from the Crypt,” which was first adapted into a film in 1972.
He left comics to become the editor of Mad in 1956, replacing founding editor Harvey Kurtzman, and led the magazine as it became influential in satirizing U.S. pop culture and a commercial success with a cult audience.
He retired in 1984, settling in Montana to paint artwork now featured in numerous galleries, and moving away from science-fiction and horror to focus on nature. He also opened a horse refuge with his wife.
Dennis Harrington, the owner of Montana’s Planet Bronze Art Gallery, which sells Feldstein’s work, said he had known the artist for 17 years, calling him “really down to earth.”
“He was just so sure of himself,” Harrington said. “He talked to me about the magazine, and he would get a smile on his face because he went away from that, he moved to Paradise Valley (area) because that’s the life he wanted - to be by himself, paint the nature and be a part of it.”
Harrington said Feldstein had been in declining health for some time and stopped seeing people about six months ago.
Feldstein is survived by his wife Michelle and a step-daughter.
Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Eric Kelsey and Andre Grenon