As of January 2017, Mad has published 544 regular issues, as well as hundreds of reprint "Specials," original material paperbacks, compilation books and other print projects.The magazine is the last surviving title from the EC Comics line, offering satire on all aspects of life and popular culture, politics, entertainment, and public figures.
Many parodies end with the abrupt deus ex machina appearance of outside characters or pop culture figures who are similar in nature to the movie or TV series being parodied, or who comment satirically on the theme. Phil arrives to counsel the Desperate Housewives, or the cast of Sex and the City show up as the new hookers on Deadwood.
A common effect is for them to greet actual rescues with the belief that they are dreaming, or have gone mad.
For years after escape, Bad Dreams may throw them back into the belief they are still a prisoner.
The first six months I was in solitary, I did push-ups every day and I never talked to myself. A person on a ship or in space where it is months or years until they reach their destination are also at risk.
The next six months, I stopped doing push-ups and I... Solitary confinement can be a way of invoking this as punishment.