Right on schedule, the brand new Mad Magazine app for iPad has been let loose in the App Store. Beginning today, which happens to be Mad mascot Alfred E. Neuman’s birthday as well as April Fools’ Day, you can download the app and enjoy the iconic magazine’s signature brand of irreverent humor right on your iPad.

If there were ever any doubts that the app’s release was just an elaborate April Fools’ prank set up by Mad, fans of the magazine who are eager to read it on their iPads can now rest easy. True to its mischievous nature, the app is listed in the App Store as Mad Magazine (Cheap!). I was actually suspicious of the name when I first saw it, bringing to mind the truly cheap ripoff apps that are rampant in the App Store at present. But that “Cheap!” actually just serves to emphasize the app’s being free.

As is the standard for magazine apps, the Mad app for iPad is free to download. The app is compatible with iOS 4.2 or later, and if your device is running on iOS 5, the app automatically gets added to your Newsstand folder. In the app, you can purchase new digital issues for $4.99 each and back issues for $1.99 each. Note that the back issues are just static, as opposed to the interactive current and future issues. You also have options for a bi-monthly subscription for $1.99 per issue and an annual subscription for a one-time fee of $9.99, which is, of course, cheaper since Mad is a once-every-two-months publication. But if you’re a current subscriber of the print edition of Mad, you automatically get a free digital subscription upon entering your account details in the app.

Mad for iPad contains an interactive version of Mad Fold-ins.

After installing and launching the app, you can immediately download a preview version of the current issue of Mad for cheap, that is, for free. The preview is there to whet your appetite for what the app has to offer. And speaking of appetite, the preview includes a section titled “Mad Magazine’s Dreadfully Undercooked The Hunger Games Outtakes,” where stills from the blockbuster film are given hilarious speech bubbles. The gags contained in these speech bubbles range from witticisms about the film’s plot to classic fart jokes. I almost up and died from laughing at this section alone. Another section accessible in the preview is a comic strip about the special love shared by the current issue’s chubby cover couple, Mike and Molly. The preview is also meant to help you get the hang of the app’s navigation scheme, which is a combination of horizontal and vertical scrolling.

As you already know, crude humor and mature themes abound in the pages of the print edition of Mad, and its digital pages are no different. So, better keep the app in a safe corner on your iPad, where your young ‘uns can’t stumble upon it as they navigate towards the icon for Angry Birds or Whale Trail.

Giving you access to such famous Mad features as Al Jaffee’s Fold-In, Sergio Aragaonés’ “A Mad Look At…”, and Spy vs. Spy, Mad Magazine (Cheap!) for iPad is now available in the App Store for free.