Interview: Al Jaffee Pt. 3 [of 3]

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Al Jaffee might have turned 88 last week, but the artist shows no sign of stopping. Since 1964, he has appeared in nearly every issue of Mad Magazine, having pioneered some of that publication’s most-beloved and longest lasting features, including the Fold-in and Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions. To say that Jaffee has been a major influence in modern American gag writing seems like a gross understatement. Along with early Mad peers like Harvey Kurtzman, Will Elder, and Jack Davis, Jaffee pratically invented the stuff.

In this third and final part of our interview with the artist, we dive back into Jaffee’s early career, from his first days with Mad, to the creation of the humor magazines Trump and Humbug—and beyond.

[Part One]

[Part Two]
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Interview: Al Jaffee Pt. 2 [of 3]

Categories:  Interviews
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Before accepting a full-time gig at Harvey Kurtzman’s Mad Magazine, Al Jaffee kicked around the comics industry, writing anything his editors would throw at him, from funny animal books, to “teenage material,” to army comics, to crime books. The artist even dabbled a bit in the superhero genre—albeit with a distinctly Jaffeean take on the subject

It was his boss at Timely—a young editor by the name of Stan Lee—who assigned Jaffee work on a title called Super Rabbit. Under the artist’s control, the superhero was transformed into something different than the rest of the books on the market. The costumed lagomorph became a hero with problems—normal, everyday problems.

It was a decision, perhaps, that would have an impact on Stan Lee’s later success (if only subconsciously), as Timely became Marvel and the editor churned out book after book of venerable heroes, decidedly real world counterparts to the supermen who dominated the industry.

In this second part of our interview with Jaffee, we delve into the artist’s pre-Mad work and discuss how the early world of comic books shaped the artist’s later successes in the industry.

[Part One]

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