Beloved Mad Magazine cartoonist Al Jaffee has died at the astonishing age of 102.

Born Abraham Jaffee in Savannah, Georgia on March 13, 1921. He passed away April 10, 2023 in New York City, NY, USA at Manhatten Hospital, of organ failure. He was 102, which makes his death a tragic loss, but hardly a surprise. It was possibly the joy that his work brought him that kept him alive so long. He had only retired at the age of 99.

Al Jaffee worked for Mad Magazine from 1965 to 2020. His artistic career stretched from 1942 to 2020, which is why he held the Guinness World record for the longest-ever career as a comic artist. Between April 1964 and April 2013, only one issue of Mad Magazine was published without artwork by Jaffee. Al Jaffee created the infamous and hilarious Mad fold-in, he was also responsible for “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions”. He delighted and entertained millions over the years.

Al Jaffee at New  York ComicCon, 2016 {photo credit Luigi Novi} By Luigi Novi - Own work, CC BY 4.0
Al Jaffee at New York ComicCon, 2016
{photo credit Luigi Novi} By Luigi Novi – Own work, CC BY 4.0

The Respect of His Peers

New Yorker and Playboy cartoonist Arnold Roth said, ” “Al Jaffee is one of the great cartoonists of our time,” Peanuts creator Charles Schulz said, “Al can cartoon anything.”

In 2008, he won the Reuben Award. In 2011, Al Jaffee was given the Sergio Award by the Comic Art Professional Society. The only surprising thing about his career is that he was not inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame until 2013. One would have expected him to earn that years earlier.

Early Life

Al Jaffee was the son of Lithuanian immigrants and spent his childhood both in Lithuania and New York City.

In the 1930s, he attended the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan, the same school Billy Dee Williams would attend in the 1950s.

He began his artistic career in 1942, as a comic book artist for Joker Comics, Timely Comics, and Atlas Comics. He created Silly Seal, Ziggy Pig, and Inferior Man. Jaffee drew the syndicated Tall Tales, which appeared in over a hundred newspaoers in multiple nations.

{image via Timely Comics, 1946}

The Mad Fold-In

Sam Viviano, Mad Magazine‘s art director, said  “I think part of the brilliance of the Fold-In is lost on the younger generations who are so used to Photoshop and being able to do stuff like that on a computer.” Our younger readers may not remember the Mad fold-in. The inside back cover of the magazine would have a picture printed on the inside back cover of the magazine. If you carefully folded the back cover vertically and inward according to the directions, a new cartoon and caption would be revealed. Heaven help the youngster who borrowed their older brother’s Mad Magazine and folded it sloppily before the magazine’s owner got to do it neatly.

Thanks for the laughs, Al Jaffee. You had a long and full life, and your work will live on forever.


Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.