Award-Successful ‘MAD’ Cartoonist and Fold-In Inventor Al Jaffee Dies at 102

Al Jaffee, the celebrated and much-laureled cartoonist recognized to generations for his intelligent creations for MAD journal, died Monday in Manhattan because of a number of organ failure. The information was shared by his granddaughter, Fani Thomson.

Born Abraham Jaffee on March 13, 1921 in Savannah, Georgia, the humorist had a rocky upbringing because the oldest of 4 youngsters born to Jewish immigrants from Lithuania, transferring forwards and backwards throughout the Atlantic a number of instances. The household settled in Queens with out their mom, who stayed behind in her native Zarasai and was later presumed to have died in the course of the Nazi invasion.

Jaffee and Wolf Eisenberg (Will Elder) lunching on the Excessive College of Music & Artwork c. 1936 [ph. c/o Al Jaffee]

Jaffee studied on the Excessive College of Music & Artwork in New York Metropolis within the late Nineteen Thirties, alongside a number of future MAD colleagues: Will Elder, Al Feldstein, Harvey Kurtzman and John Severin. He started his profession within the early ’40s as an artist working for a number of comics publications, together with Marvel Comics precursors Well timed Comics and Atlas Comics. He started creating gag-driven comedy spots for Well timed, together with Ziggy Pig and Foolish Seal on the request of Marvel legend Stan Lee.

His made his MAD journal debut in 1955, however quickly left with outgoing editor and his old skool good friend Kurtzman to work for his Trump and Humbug publications. When these folded within the late ’50s, Jaffee returned to the MAD fold. A number of years later, in 1964, Jaffee approached Feldstein together with his concept for the primary Fold-In cowl, which might riff on the scandal of Elizabeth Taylor leaving her husband Eddie Fisher for her Cleopatra co-star Richard Burton. Feldstein and Invoice Gaines have been instantly enthusiastic, and Jaffee was quickly requested for a brand new Fold-In, and the intricate and intelligent gimmick quickly appeared in nearly each concern.

“What I all the time cherished in regards to the Fold-In is that it couldn’t be loved passively. I don’t assume individuals wish to be lumps, letting you fill their heads with concepts. They wish to take part,” Jaffee stated in a 2017 Vainness Honest interview. “… I’m all the time pondering, can I shock them once more? Shock is what creates a real snicker. I believe I get the identical pleasure in doing the Fold-In each month as individuals who love doing crossword puzzles week after week. A crossword is all the time the identical normal idea, but when it’s achieved properly, it’s totally different and difficult. You by no means tire of utilizing your mind.”

A well-liked Fold-In pattern created by Al Jaffee for MAD Journal.

Jaffee additionally notably created the Snappy Solutions to Silly Questions in addition to humorous articles about ideas for newfangled innovations — a lot of which turned out to be very correct predictions.

He continued creating for MAD and different publications into the brand new millennium. Amongst his many profession accolades, Jaffee was offered with a Sergio Award from the Comedian Artwork Skilled Society in 2011, inducted into the Will Eisner Corridor of Fame in 2013, elected to the Society of Illustrators’ Corridor of Fame in 2014, and was formally declared to have had “the longest profession as a comics artist” (73 12 months, three months) by Guinness World Information in 2016, properly earlier than he retired at age 99.

In 2010, It Books printed Al Jaffee’s Mad Life: A Biography, written by Jaffee’s good friend Mary-Lou Weisman and illustrated by the topic.

Jaffee was predeceased by his second spouse, Joyce Revenson in 2020. He had two youngsters, Richard and Debbie, together with his first spouse, Ruth Ahlquist.

A particular Mad Journal cowl celebrated Al Jaffee’s one hundredth birthday two years in the past.
Al Jaffee by Al Jaffee