(Roughly) Daily

“What, Me Worry?”*…

We lost a giant earlier this week…

Al Jaffee, the celebrated and much-laureled cartoonist known to generations for his clever creations for MAD magazine, died Monday [at age 102] in Manhattan due to multiple organ failure…

Jaffee studied at the High School of Music & Art in New York City in the late 1930s, alongside several future MAD colleagues: Will Elder, Al Feldstein, Harvey Kurtzman and John Severin. He began his career in the early ’40s as an artist working for several comics publications, including Marvel Comics precursors Timely Comics and Atlas Comics. He began creating gag-driven comedy spots for Timely, including Ziggy Pig and Silly Seal at the request of Marvel legend Stan Lee.

He made his MAD magazine debut in 1955, but soon left with outgoing editor and his old school friend Kurtzman to work for his Trump and Humbug publications. When these folded in the late ’50s, Jaffee returned to the MAD fold. A few years later, in 1964, Jaffee approached Feldstein with his idea for the first Fold-In cover, which would riff on the scandal of Elizabeth Taylor leaving her husband Eddie Fisher for her Cleopatra co-star Richard Burton. Feldstein and Bill Gaines were immediately enthusiastic, and Jaffee was soon asked for a new Fold-In, and the intricate and clever gimmick soon appeared in almost every issue…

Jaffee also notably created the Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions as well as humorous articles about concepts for newfangled inventions — many of which turned out to be very accurate predictions…

He continued creating for MAD and other publications into the new millennium. Among his many career accolades, Jaffee was presented with a Sergio Award from the Comic Art Professional Society in 2011, inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 2013, elected to the Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame in 2014, and was officially declared to have had “the longest career as a comics artist” (73 year, three months) by Guinness World Records in 2016, well before he retired at age 99.

On the March 13, 2006, episode of The Colbert Report aired on Jaffee’s 85th birthday, comedian Stephen Colbert saluted the artist with a Fold-In birthday cake. The cake featured the salutary message “Al, you have repeatedly shown artistry & care of great credit to your field.” When the center section of the cake was removed, the remainder read, “Al, you are old.”

More on the master: “Award-Winning ‘MAD’ Cartoonist and Fold-In Inventor Al Jaffee Dies at 102,” in @animag.

See also: “Al Jaffee, A MAD Magazine Legend, Remembered As ‘Every Cartoonist’s Role Model’,” from @robsalk.

Alfred E. Neuman


As we appreciate art, we might send powerfully-drawn and carefully-lettered birthday greetings to Dave Gibbons; he was born on this date in 1949. A comics artist, writer and letterer, he was a creator of 2000 AD, the Martha Washington series, Doctor Who, Green Lantern, World’s Finest, The Secret Service, and others. But he is best known for his work with writer Alan Moore, which includes the seminal Watchmen and the Superman story “For the Man Who Has Everything.”


Gibbons at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con (source)

Written by (Roughly) Daily

April 14, 2023 at 1:00 am

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