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Al Jaffee Retires at 99

After putting in a mere 79 years as a professional cartoonist Al Jaffee is retiring.

From Michael Cavna:

Al Jaffee, officially the longest-working comic artist ever, has decided to retire at age 99.

So to mark his farewell, Mad’s “Usual Gang of Idiots” will salute Jaffee with a tribute issue next week. It will be the magazine’s final regular issue to offer new material, including Jaffee’s final Fold-In, 65 years after he made his Mad debut.

Solicitation for Mad #14 (2020):

It’s the wacky for Jaffee issue! We’re folding with one hand and saluting with the other as we celebrate the witty work of Al Jaffee, creator of the Mad Fold-In! In addition to his “crease-able” features, the issue includes rare Jaffee gems like revamped inventions, “Tall Tales,” and “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions,” plus an all-new “Mad Look at…” by Sergio Aragonés, “Spy vs. Spy,” and a special never-before-seen piece by Al himself!

 

Al’s career began in 1941 with Inferior Man and officially ends in 2020 with MAD magazine. It has been an amazing, and amazingly funny, output. Lambiek’s Comiclopedia has a good look at Al’s life. Ger Apeldoorn looks at Al in syndication. Jerry Bails’ Who’s Who details the first half of Al’s comic career.

Back to Cavna’s Washington Post article:

“The difference between Al Jaffee and every other cartoonist is that no matter how genius they are,” they typically have a specific area of excellence, said [Sergio] Aragones, who calls the elder cartoonist “a soul mate.”

Jaffee, on the other hand, excels in many areas, as writer and artist. From superheroes to funny animals, Aragones says, “nobody has done what he has done: take every branch of cartooning and make it better.”

 

[Tom] Richmond thinks Jaffee is the ideal blend “of genius writing, razor-sharp wit, seemingly endless creativity and ideas and brilliant art,” yet also believes he is underappreciated. “But among cartoonists or people who really know about the art form,” Richmond said, “he’s Zeus among the lesser gods.” 

>>> aside: Tom notes on his blog that the last Jaffee Fold-In is one
>>> “that he did years ago to run as his last when he retired.”

Michael’s Washington Post article is available via The Spokane Spokesman-Review.

More at Al’s very own website.

Of course we wish Al only the best, but mostly we want to thank him for the decades of laughter.

Community Comments

#1 Kip Williams
June/6/2020
@ 1:00 pm

It’s always instructive to go back and look. Those who knew Jaffee from the 80s and 90s would be surprised by his 60s and 70s work, and those who (like me) fixated on his work in those decades would be surprised (like me) to see what he did in the 40s and 50s. The more you know about the guy, the more impressive he gets.

(Retiring at 99? May I be the first to shout “QUITTAH!!” and then run away as fast as I can? And may I have a head start? I’m not all that fast.)

#2 Denny Lien
June/6/2020
@ 5:18 pm

re (Retiring at 99? May I be the first to shout “QUITTAH!!” and then run away as fast as I can?”

Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE sports columnist Sid Hartman recently celebrated his 100th birthday, and he is still writing regular columns. (I’ve refused to read them for some years now, since he strikes me as one of those “sports is holy and critics of same are evil” people, but as a younger geezer, I still have to give a nod to his geezer perseverance.)

#3 First Last
June/7/2020
@ 6:37 am

Sad that Mad is no longer putting out new material. They got a LOT of artists by paying quickly, unlike most publications. They survived without ads, only by selling humor until the founder was gone and the new owner brought in color and ads.

Every single person who grew up with MAD knows their main guys with a simple glance at the page.

“The rarest thing is a new idea” Kudos to that usual gang of idiots that gave us so many new ideas.

#4 Robert Wills
June/8/2020
@ 8:24 am

Thanks for years of fun reading.

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