Al Jaffee, Mad magazine and Fold-In cartoonist, dead at 102 – National

Al Jaffee, Mad magazine’s award-winning cartoonist and timeless wise man who delighted millions of children with Fold-In’s dastardly fun and snark quick answers to silly questions, died. he was 102 years old.

Jaffee died of multiple organ failure in Manhattan on Monday, according to granddaughter Fani Thomson.

With its ironic and sometimes pointed send-ups in politics and culture, Mad Magazine was an essential read for teens and pre-teens during the baby boom era, and inspired countless future comedians. Few have contributed more to the magazine’s self-proclaimed “Usual Gang of Idiots” than the bearded, mischievous cartoonist. For decades, virtually every issue featured new material in his Jaffee. His collected back cover Fold-Ins, which featured everyone from The Beatles to TMZ in his undeniably wide-ranging visual style, were enough for a four-volume box set published in 2011. .

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Readers savored the Fold-Ins on the inside back cover like dessert after reading other favorites like Antonio Prochias’ “Spy vs. Spy” and Dave Berg’s “The Writer’s Side.” The premise was originally a foldout spoof of the old Sports Illustrated and Playboy magazines, but starting with a diagram and question across the page, folding his two designated dots toward the center, a new amazing image and answer was to create .

Fold-In was supposed to be a one-off gag, but in 1964 Jaffee gave it a go when he satirized the biggest celebrity news of the time. Cleopatra Co-starring Richard Burton. Jaffee first showed Taylor and Burton arm in arm on one side of the photo, and a young handsome man being held back by cops on the other.

If you fold the photo, you can see Taylor and the young man kissing.

The idea was so popular that Mad editor Al Feldstein wanted a follow-up. Jaffee devised a photograph of 1964 Republican presidential candidates Nelson Rockefeller and Barry Goldwater. This photo became the image of Richard Nixon when it crumbled.

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“It really set the tone for what Fold-Ins craftsmanship should be,” Jaffee told Boston Phoenix in 2010.

Jaffee was also known for: quick answers to silly questions, It did exactly what the title promised. A 1980 comic depicted a man riding a fishing boat with a severely bent reel. “Wheel up the fish?” his wife asks. “No, I’m going to jump in the water and marry something gorgeous,” he says.

Jaffee didn’t just satirize culture. he helped change that. His ad parodies included actual products of the future, such as automatic redialing of phones, his computer spell checker, and anti-graffiti surfaces. He also envisioned removable stamps, multi-blade razors, and self-extinguishing cigarettes.

Admirer of Jaffee from Charles M. Schultz peanuts fame and other side From creator Gary Larson to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Colbert Report. Stewart and daily show Writers compiled bestsellers America (book)they asked Jaffee to contribute to Fold-In.

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“Once I was done, I called the producer who contacted me and said, ‘The fold-in is done. Where can I send it?’ And he said — and this is a great compliment. It was — oh please Mr. Jaffee, can you deliver it in person? The whole crew would love to see you,” he told Boston Phoenix.

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Jaffee has won numerous awards and was inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 2013 at a ceremony at San Diego Comic-Con International. In 2010 he contributed his Mary-Lou Weisman illustration. The Mad Life of Al Jaffee: A BiographyThe following year, Chronicle Books was published. MAD Fold-in Collection: 1964-2010.

Art was his saving grace in childhood, and it left him with a permanent distrust of adults and authority. Torn between the United States, where the (department store manager) preferred to live, and Lithuania, where his mother, a religious Jew, longed to return. In Lithuania, Jaffee endured poverty and bullying, but also developed his craft. With paper scarce and no school to attend, he learned to read and write through comics mailed to him by his father.

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By the time he was a teenager, he settled in New York City, where, apparently gifted, he was admitted to the High School of Music and Arts. His schoolmates included future Mud illustrator Will Elder and future Mud editor Harvey Kurtzman. (In the meantime, his mother remained in Lithuania, apparently killed during the war.)

He had a long career ahead of Mudd. He drew for Timely Comics, which became Marvel Comics. And for several years he sketched the “Tall Tales” panel for the New York Herald Tribune. Jaffee first contributed to his Mad in the mid-1950s. He left when Kurtzman quit the magazine, but returned in 1964.

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Mad lost readership and dominance after the 1970s, and Jaffee outlived virtually every magazine star. But even though his method of drawing by hand had changed little in the digital age, he was rarely short of ideas.

“I’m so used to painting, and I know so many people who paint, that I don’t understand the magic,” Jaffee told Graphic NYC in 2009. As I sit, suddenly an illustration of a large person appears. It amazes me to see magicians at work. Even knowing they are all tricks. I can imagine what people think when they see someone drawing freehand, but it’s not a trick. Very impressive. ”

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Jaffee’s death has resonated with his devoted fan base, many of whom have shared their favorites of his work on social media. On Twitter, American singer “Weird Al” Yankovic called Jaffee “the greatest hero of all time.”

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— Using files from Sarah Do Couto of Global News

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