The October 1985 issue of Mad Magazine featured a BASIC computer program which rendered the face of Alfred E. Neuman in crude vector graphics. Here it is, drawn on the HTML5 canvas.

Click here to run the program.


Mad Magazine and Alfred E. Neuman are copyrighted property of MAD Magazine and DC Comics.

The Program

The program printed in the October 1985 issue of MAD featured several blocks of code for different flavors of the BASIC language. There were blocks for Apple, Atari,C64,and IBM. They all stepped through x,y point data that was provided via a block of DATA statements common to all four BASIC variants. A line segment was drawn for every four integers in the DATA statement. (X1,Y1)(X2,Y2).

The JavaScript here parses the original DATA statements and brings them to life on the HTML5 Canvas. It also animates a hand with a pencil "sketching" out the portrait. Computing hardware back in those days could take a while to render the image, but today's machines can do it instantaneously. This program is actually drawing Alfred many times per second. It's more fun to see the image emerge slowly which is why I added the hand animation.

Do I still have this issue of MAD? I sure do. It even has pencil lines through the DATA statements from when I entered them as a kid. Did I type them in for this JavaScript program? No way. I copied them from Much thanks to them for the data. If you want to see the DATA statements, use your browsers "view source" feature (CTRL+U on most browsers) on the program page.