Al Jaffee

Facts about Al Jaffee

Al Jaffee died at 102 years old
Born: March 13, 1921
Died: April 10, 2023
Best known as: The cartoonist who does MAD magazine fold-ins


Al Jaffee Biography

Name at birth: Abraham Jaffee

Al Jaffee’s comic drawings were a staple in MAD magazine after 1955, and his famous back cover fold-ins began in 1964.

He’s best known for his round, cartoony style, for gags that include Rube Goldberg-like inventions and for the successful series “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions.”

Originally from Georgia, Jaffee spent half his childhood in Lithuania with his mother and two brothers, separated from his father. His father brought the children back to the U.S. in 1933, and Jaffee was accepted into New York’s High School of Music and Art.

There he became friends with cartoonists Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder, both of whom went onto become MAD cartoonists with successful careers of their own.

After a stint as an Army illustrator during World War II, Jaffee started in the comics business in New York. He worked with Stan Lee and Will Eisner, became a freelancer for MAD and joined Kurztman to publish Humbug (1957-58).

Jaffee also published his own strip, “Tall Tales” (1957-63), but it was his work with MAD that made him famous.

From April of 1964 up to August of 2020, MAD featured a Jaffee fold-in, an elaborate illustration that, when folded, creates another illustration with a satirical comment on contemporary social issues. Jaffee retired when he was 99 years old.


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