Al Jaffee, iconoclastic cartooning legend of Mad Journal fame, dies at 102


Al Jaffee, the iconoclastic cartoonist who created Mad Journal’s most enduring characteristic — the Fold-In — and served because the publication’s longest-running contributor, died at a hospital in Manhattan. He was 102.

The trigger was multiple-organ failure, his granddaughter Fani Thomson instructed the New York Instances.

Jaffee’s illustrations first appeared within the legendary satiric journal in 1955, shortly after it transitioned from a comic book ebook to {a magazine}. In 1964, he created the “Fold-In,” a back-of-book characteristic that turned an on the spot basic at a time when different magazines had been championing the ever-present fold-out.

Jaffee’s thought concerned folding an image vertically inward to disclose a very new picture and caption. A fold-in from 1969 resulted in a picture of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and Linus folded in from a bit of summary artwork. The caption learn: “Fashionable Artwork has taken some fairly wild turns lately. However irrespective of which route it takes, it appears to be headed increasingly more towards whole incomprehensibility.”

The inaugural piece depicted Elizabeth Taylor with Richard Burton folded out. Folded in, it confirmed Taylor — infamous for her many marriages — with a special man.

The irreverent gimmick, which Jaffee initially supposed as a enjoyable one-off, turned his longest-running characteristic for the journal.

In a 2022 interview with Vulture, Jaffee recalled his inspiration for the characteristic: “At the moment — this may have been in April of 1964 — each main journal was publishing some type of foldout characteristic. Playboy, in fact, had made it large by having a centerfold. So did Life journal. They might have one displaying, say, the geography of the moon, or one thing like that. Even Sports activities Illustrated had one at one level. So, naturally, how do you go the opposite manner? You’ve a fold-in, relatively than a fold-out.”

Jaffee had a style for the subversive that made him a pure for Mad, and his model of art work — clear strains with a aptitude for the weird, off-beat and grotesque — turned synonymous with the journal. He additionally wrote for Mad, together with an everyday characteristic referred to as “Snappy Solutions to Silly Questions.”

In 2007, Jaffee earned a Reuben Award. Thought-about cartooning’s high honor, the win put Jaffee on an inventory with different cartooning greats together with Matt Groening, Cathy Guisewite and Gary Larson.

In a tribute to Jaffee, revealed in a weblog publish simply after his loss of life, cartoonist and Mad contributor Tom Richmond wrote: “Inside any artwork kind there are some creators who’re simply plainly on one other stage than the remaining. There’ll all the time be a debate about who’s the G.O.A.T. in something inventive, however the signal of true greatness is all the time being one of many individuals in that dialog. Any debate concerning the best cartoonist of all time that doesn’t embody Al Jaffee isn’t a official debate.”

Abraham Jaffee was born March 13, 1921, in Savannah, Ga. — the oldest of 4 sons. His mother and father, Mildred and Morris Jaffee, had been Jewish immigrants from Lithuania. Later in his life, he legally modified his title from Abraham to Allan.

When Jaffee was 6 years outdated, his mom took all 4 of her boys again to Lithuania. Jaffee’s father labored to convey the youngsters dwelling to America, however they didn’t return full time till virtually six years later, when Jaffee and two of his brothers moved with Morris to Far Rockaway, Queens.

“My father remained in America by these six years [in Lithuania], and I made him promise to ship me American comedian strips,” Jaffee instructed Vulture. “Each few months or so, my brothers and I’d obtain a package deal of rolled-up Sunday colour comics and every day comics. We’d simply sit there and browse them for days and days,” he stated.

Within the late Nineteen Thirties, Jaffee attended New York Metropolis’s Excessive College of Music and Artwork. He started his profession as a comic book ebook artist in 1942. For a time, he labored as an artist for Marvel predecessors Well timed and Atlas comics. Within the late Nineteen Fifties and early ‘60s he drew a broadly syndicated strip for the New York Herald Tribune referred to as “Tall Tales.”

Jaffee’s artwork appeared in 500 of Mad’s first 550 points — a prolific report that also stands. Mad honored Jaffee’s retirement in 2020 with a “Particular All Jaffee Difficulty” that includes his work and a fold-in that exposed the phrases, “No Extra New Jaffee Fold-Ins.”

Jaffee’s second spouse, Joyce Revenson (whom he married in 1977), died in January 2020. Jaffee is survived by son Richard Jaffee, daughter Deborah Fishman; two step-children, Tracey and Jody Revenson; 5 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.


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