- Sat, 17 Oct 2020 10:43:06 +0330
Allan Jaffee (born Abraham Jaffee;March 13, 1921) is an American cartoonist. He is notable for his work in the satirical magazine Mad, including his trademark feature, the Mad Fold-in. Jaffee was a regular contributor to the magazine for 65 years and is its longest-running contributor. Since their August 2019 issue, Mad has either been reprinting old Fold-ins, or had new ones by Johnny Sampson. Jaffee formally retired from Mad at the age of 99 with its June 2020 issue, which was a tribute to his career.
In the half-century between April 1964 and April 2013, only one issue of Mad was published without containing new material by Jaffee.In a 2010 interview, Jaffee said, "Serious people my age are dead."
In 2008, Jaffee was honored by the Reuben Awards as the Cartoonist of the Year. New Yorker cartoonist Arnold Roth said, "Al Jaffee is one of the great cartoonists of our time."Describing Jaffee, Peanuts creator Charles Schulz wrote, "Al can cartoon anything".
With a career running from 1942 until 2020, Jaffee holds the Guinness World Record for having the longest-ever career as a comic artist.
Jaffee first appeared in Mad in 1955, one issue after its transformation from comic book format to magazine. When editor Harvey Kurtzman left in a dispute three issues later, Jaffee went with Kurtzman. Jaffee contributed to Kurtzman's first two post-Mad publishing efforts, Trump and the creator-owned Humbug. In 2008, the first full reprint of Humbug was published as a two-volume set by Fantagraphics; the set includes a newly commissioned cover illustration by Jaffee, and a co-interview with Jaffee and Arnold Roth.
After Humbug folded in 1958, Jaffee brought his unpublished material to Mad, which bought the work. "Bill Gaines took out every Trump and Humbug," remembered Jaffee, "called me into his office, sat me down on the couch next to him, and went over every issue and said "Which is yours?" And as he came to each one, when he saw my stuff, he OK'd to hire me.
Until 2019, Jaffee continued to do the Fold-In for Mad, as well as additional artwork for articles. His last original Fold-In appeared in the June 2019 issue, which was one that had originally been rejected from the June 2013 issue due to sensitivity about gun violence. Since August 2019, Mad has been either reprinting old Fold-Ins or publishing new ones by Johnny Sampson. In December 2019, Al's original work was featured in the magazine for the last time. Mad's oldest regular contributor, Jaffee's work appeared in 500 of the magazine's first 550 issues, a total unmatched by any other writer or artist. He has said, "I work for a magazine that's essentially for young people, and to have them keep me going, I feel very lucky ... To use an old cliché, I'm like an old racehorse. When the other horses are running, I want to run too." He is the longest tenured contributor to the Mad magazine.
In August 2008, Jaffee was interviewed for an NY1 feature about his career. He said, "It astonishes me that I still am functioning at a fairly decent level. Because there were a lot of dark days, but you have to reinvent yourself. You get knocked down and you pick up yourself and you move on."
Jaffee announced in June 2020 that he would be retiring. To honor this, Mad published a tribute issue that month.