Sunday, April 03, 2016

Al Jaffee of MAD...the oldest living comic book artist

With the political scene looking like a long and very bad Saturday Night Live sketch, it is no wonder I have turned to my other love (other than complaining about politicians, that is): old comics, comic strips, cartooning, satire, and Mad magazine.

Al Jaffee, who began drawing comics in 1941, has gotten some recognition from the Guiness Book of World Records for his longevity as a cartoonist. I have loved Jaffee’s work since first seeing it in 1957 in Humbug, a small Mad-like magazine done by top-notch cartoonists, and edited by Harvey Kurtzman, who created Mad.

 Al Jaffee by Drew Friedman.

Humbug didn’t last long, and after it folded Jaffee went to Mad publisher, William M. Gaines to show his work. Gaines took out his copies of Humbug and said, “Show me your stuff,” and it got Jaffee hired. He is still at Mad, doing his famous fold-ins, among other assignments. I am including one of my favorites of Jaffee’s, the long-running feature, “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions.” This is funny, and it always makes me laugh. It is pure snark. And I love snark.

All scans Copyright 2016 E C Publications, Inc.

 At Jaffee’s 95th birthday celebration Sam Viviano, Mad's art director, presented Jaffee with the framed original art for the first two pages of the story you just read.

Jaffee is not only an artist/writer, he also writes for other artists. We go back to 1960 for this funny article, “The Parent from 21-60” from Mad #59, published in 1960. It is drawn by one of the greatest comic artists of all, Wallace Wood.


Kirk said...

I read a while back that Jaffee donated his archives to Columbia University, so if you ever want to do an academic dissertation on Mad, that's where to go.

Postino said...

Kirk, I believe you live a lot closer to Columbia Univ than me. Maybe someday you can slip over there and write it up for your excellent blog, Shadow of a Doubt!