Thursday, September 23, 2010

Is This the New Al Jaffee Book?

Flipped through but haven't officially purchased the new Al Jaffee book, entitled "Al Jaffee's Mad Life". It's still sitting in my saver at Lee's Comics, but I will be purchasing it shortly after I get a little more money in my life.

Anyway, it's a great book full of classic and brand new Al Jaffee drawings, so this was done with his complete cooperation and is basically an autobiography.

Jaffee is the king of the Fold-In and has been a "Mad" mainstay since 1958. He appeared briefly at "Mad" in 1956 and then defected to "Trump" and "Humbug" before his return. What isn't mentioned is his brief tenure at "Cracked" in 1958 before returning to "Mad".

Jaffee himself did not remember working for "Cracked" when I interviewed him last year, but I sent him a few scans and he admitted, "I guess I did!"

Strangely, this "Cracked" detour is not mentioned in this new book, which gives the impression that he went back to "Mad" immediately after the failure of "Humbug". The reality is that not only Jaffee, but Jack Davis and Bill Elder all went to "Cracked" as "Humbug" met its demise. Harvey Kurtzman and Arnold Roth went back to the safety of "Playboy".

Of course, Davis, Elder and Kurtzman eventually returned to "Mad" as well (Davis in 1965; Elder and Kurtzman in 1985). The closest Roth got was "National Lampoon".

Finally, there is an art exhibit at the MoCCA in New York called "Is This the Al Jaffee Art Exhibit?" from October 5th, 2010 - January 30th, 2011. I hope to attend. but probably won't be able to.

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