- By Emma Saunders
- Entertainment reporter
The award-winning American cartoonist best known for his work on the satirical magazine Mad has died at the age of 102.
Jaffee, who was still working even three years ago, set a Guinness World Record for his 77-year career.
Mad magazine was aimed at preteens and teens, as Jaffee was known for his folds on the inside back cover.
Famous fans of Jaffee include Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, and his work has been referenced on The Simpsons.
His trademark folds have been a parody of the likes of Playboy and Sports Illustrated.
They have shown an image with a question above and a comment below. When the page was folded vertically into thirds, the two outer sections were joined to form a new picture and a caption answering the question.
jobs on Mars
The withdrawals included one from The Jaffee Company created in 1968 during the Vietnam War, which showed students outside a duty station accompanied by the question: “What is the one thing most school dropouts are sure to become?”
When folded, the image changes to a young man in a cannonball with the caption: “Cannon fodder”.
A box set of his folds was published in 2011.
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Jaffee was also known for a regular piece called Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions, which featured sarcastic responses to silly questions.
A comic from 1980 featured a man on a fishing boat with a reel. “Are you going to reel in the fish?” his wife asks. He says, “No, I’m going to jump into the water and marry this wonderful thing.”
Al Jaffee’s Majnoon inventions were also popular, including such items as the smokeless ashtray.
“I think they defeat Mad, because they go above and beyond anything we can think of to show the buffoonery nature of their claims,” he said. “Politicians used to claim they’d have jobs for everyone in the country in two years or something; now they claim they’d have jobs for everyone on Mars.”
Famous fans of Jaffee include Far Side creator Gary Larson and TV host Stephen Colbert, who celebrated Jaffee’s 85th birthday by featuring a folding cake on his show The Colbert Report.
The Simpsons’ Matt Groening has referenced Mad and Fold in several episodes over the years.
DC tweets: “His signature style and intelligence will be insanely missed.”
Singer, satirist Al Yankovic called Jaffe one of his “all-time heroes”.
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“Al was, at her core, a bastard,” said John Ficarra, a former Mad editor-in-chief who has worked with Jaffee for more than 35 years. “He always had a terrifying twinkle in his eye and he brought that feeling to everything he created.”
Cartoonist Abraham Jaffe (later legally changing his name to Alan) was born in 1921, in Savannah, Georgia. His parents were Lithuanian Jews, but his mother never settled in the United States and took Al and his three younger siblings to Lithuania for six years.
His father brought him back to America when he was twelve years old and he began attending the High School of Music and Art in New York.
He went on to work for Stan Lee and the New York Herald Tribune before enjoying a long career at Mad, though he always remained a freelancer.
His accolades included Cartoonist of the Year at the Rubin Awards in 2008.
On the occasion of his retirement in 2020, Mad released a special issue of “All Jaffee” – a play on the word Al – featuring a selection of his work over the years.
“Lifelong beer expert. General travel enthusiast. Social media buff. Zombie maven. Communicator.”