Sunday, March 13, 2011

Al Jaffee: Master of the Fold-In Turns 90!

Fold-In Portrait of Al Jaffee (inks on bristol / 2011)
Today is the 90th birthday of illustrator and MAD magazine staple Al Jaffee..  The magazine made a call for folks to send cards, illustrations, poems, and whatever you like to celebrate this legend today.  Three weeks ago, I framed the portrait you see here and shipped it up to the big guy at the MAD magazine office in New York along with a care package including some of my books and such.

Al Jaffee got his start with MAD 56 years ago, making him their longest running contributor.  To take the cake, there has only been one issue of the magazine published in that time without new content from him.  Al got his career started working under the likes of Stan Lee at Timely and Atlas comics (before Marvel was brought into fruition) before finding his home with MAD in 1955.

In 1964, nearly a decade into his career at MAD, Jaffee created his first Fold-In, a full page illustration which could be folded in over itself to reveal a hidden image.  This feature turned out to be his longest-running contribution to the publication and largely, what he has become famous for.  These works serve as the main inspiration for my portrait (which could be folded in on itself to make the birthday cake, peach (Jaffee was born in Georgia,) and of course, the "90."  The peace sign is a reference to "Hawks and Doves," a Jaffee comic strip ran in MAD during Vietnam where a soldier, Private Doves tags peace signs all over a military base amidst his run-ins with his commanding officer, Major Hawks. 

Never done a Fold-In?  Click here for a New York Times interactive feature where you can drag some of Jaffee's illustrations and fold them with your mouse!


  1. I liked this piece a lot. With any luck we will see you published in MAD.

  2. I assumed they may take some of the stuff sent in and do just that because they specifically asked for artwork. It'd be cool... either way, Mr. Jaffee has an original in his hands!

  3. All of u disgusting, racist, gay haters will learn the hard way when you die and go to hell. Personally I would love to kill you but ill let the devil take care of you. Enjoy the heat u dumb fucks! :-)

    P.S. If u ever come in my area, you'll know it. I don't protest, I fight......make sure you have your wills written out.


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