Murder, She Wrote spoofs in comic magazines

The incredible popularity of Murder, She Wrote means that it, along with Jessica Fletcher, have become household names (much like Sherlock Holmes or Columbo). Even those who have never watched the show have at least heard about it. And even now, over 25 years after the show went off air, various popular media still reference it.

All this means that the show is perfect fodder for various comic spoofs. This is true now just as it was when the show was first on air. Below, I highlight the results of my research into various times when Murder, She Wrote spoofs appeared in comic magazines such as MAD and Cracked. I hope you can have a few chuckles at the expense of our beloved Jessica Fletcher.

MAD magazine #261 (March 1986)

The mid-80s brought us two hit shows still being talked about today: Miami Vice and Murder, She Wrote. Less than two years after the shows debuted, MAD Magazine spoofed each of them in their March 1986 issue. While the issue is most obviously known for its spoof of Miami Vice titled “Miami Price” (since the stars of that show are featured on the cover), the magazine also contains a five-page comic titled “Murder She Hopes”, which focuses on Jessica Fletcher and Murder, She Wrote.

Fan reactions to the two comics were included in issue #263, and issue #272 even included a reaction photo of Don Johnson reading the Miami Vice spoof!

Cracked magazine #230 (September 1987)

Cracked magazine has a bit of a reputation for copying what MAD magazine did previously. So it’s not surprise that just a year later it issued its own Murder, She Wrote comic spoof titled “Murder She Wrot”.

MAD magazine #290 (October 1989)

Even though (to my knowledge) Jessica Fletcher wouldn’t be the star of her own spoof comic again, she nonetheless made some cameos in comics featuring other TV detectives. In 1989, MAD Magazine decided to spoof the new revival of the ABC Mystery Movie wheel series in their comic titled “The ABC Misery Movie” — which featured a parody of Columbo, B.L. Stryker, and Gideon Oliver.

MAD magazine #305 (September 1991)

The second time that Jessica Fletcher made a cameo in a comic spoofing another TV detective was in the MAD magazine comic titled “Father Jowly Miseries” — which was a spoof of the Father Dowling Mysteries starring former Murder, She Wrote cast member Tom Bosley (a.k.a. Sheriff Amos Tupper).

As far as I’ve been able to find, those are the only times that Murder, She Wrote or Jessica Fletcher have been featured in a comic spoof. (Of course, there have been more recent references to the character in TV shows and other media — but as those are not specifically comics, I will hold off on listing those in a separate post.) However, if you know of some comic spoofs that I have missed, please do let me know in the comments!

To end this post, I will add that in doing my research I thought I might try out recent AI technology to see if it could help me compile some relevant information. Sadly, programs like chatGPT still have a ways to go in terms of accuracy — when I asked it to give me information about the times that Murder, She Wrote appeared in MAD magazine, it listed descriptions of four spoofs that never existed and completely missed listing the spoofs that did exist! In any case, I found the fake descriptions that it gave me were interesting and funny enough that I wanted to share them with you, my dear blog readers. And although these spoofs don’t actually exist, I hope that someone finds inspiration in them and we get to see our beloved Jessica Fletcher referenced in more comics and other media.

  1. MAD Magazine #267 (January 1987)

The first time Murder, She Wrote was spoofed in MAD Magazine was in issue #267, published in January 1987. The spoof, titled “Murder, She Wrote-Off,” was written by Dick DeBartolo and illustrated by Mort Drucker. The parody featured Jessica Fletcher investigating a series of murders at a discount store called “K-Mart Cove.”

  1. MAD Magazine #279 (February 1988)

The second time Murder, She Wrote was spoofed in MAD Magazine was in issue #279, published in February 1988. The spoof, titled “Murder, She Spoke,” was written by Charlie Kadau and illustrated by Angelo Torres. The parody featured Jessica Fletcher as a guest on a talk show called “Donahue,” where she discusses her latest mystery.

  1. MAD Magazine #307 (January 1992)

The third time Murder, She Wrote was spoofed in MAD Magazine was in issue #307, published in January 1992. The spoof, titled “Murder, She Wrought,” was written by Scott Maiko and illustrated by Hermann Mejia. The parody featured Jessica Fletcher investigating a murder at a Renaissance fair.

  1. MAD Magazine #337 (May 1995)

The fourth and final time Murder, She Wrote was spoofed in MAD Magazine was in issue #337, published in May 1995. The spoof, titled “Murder, She Quacked,” was written by Desmond Devlin and illustrated by Sam Viviano. The parody featured Jessica Fletcher investigating a murder at a Disneyland-style theme park called “Duckland.”

Descriptions of fake MAD Magazine comic spoofs of Murder, She Wrote written by chatGPT

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