Mad Magazine artist and writer Al Jaffee is celebrating a milestone. It has now been fifty years since the first appearance of his fold-in was featured in issue 86 of Mad Magazine in 1964.
The Scott Eder Gallery in Brooklyn recently held an opening reception featuring some of Jaffee's original fold-in work. Scores of adoring fans attended the reception for a chance to see Jaffee's work and to meet and greet the artist and have their favorite collectibles signed.
[Al Jaffee standing in front of his creation at the Scott Eder Gallery.]
The fold-in consists of one page of art that also poses a question. It is then folded in and creates a completely new image and answers the question that was posed.
The initial fold-in started as a one shot joke. Jaffee took the idea to, then Mad Magazine editor, the late Al Feldstein. Jaffee wanted to do the opposite of what high quality, full color, slick magazines like Life and Playboy did. These magazines had glossy, full color image fold-outs. Jaffee wanted to do a cheap, black and white, fold-in. Feldstein was intrigued by the idea so Jaffee got to work on his first fold-in. His submission was then published in the April 1964 issue and featured a love triangle between entertainers Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and Eddie Fisher as the subject.
The idea was a success and Feldstein wanted Jaffee to create more fold-ins. Jaffee had to struggle at first to come up with new ideas. It was also a new challenge when the inside, back cover of Mad Magazine went from black and white to color. This added an extra difficulty to the technical process required to match the two sides of the page and create a new image. Of course, Jaffee's brilliance prevailed and he has been able to contribute a fold-in to almost every issue of Mad Magazine to this day.
When asked how he keeps an old idea so fresh and contemporary, Jaffee stated that "the editorial staff of Mad is very much aware of what's going on and especially of what Mad's readers will be interested in. We work as a collaborative team to try and stay on top of everything from politics to show business."
Now in his nineties, Jaffee could not have been doing his work for so long without it having its cultural impact. Jaffee always puts his critiques of everything from politics to pop culture in his creation. Jaffee, just like Mad Magazine in general, helped shape the minds of its readers and gave them an alternate perspective on a variety of topics and issues. Gallery owner Scott Eder called Jaffee "a legendary comic artist, someone that's a part of history".
The Scott Eder Gallery is located at 18 Bridge Street #2i, Brooklyn, NY 11201.
The Mad Fold-In Art of Al Jaffee will be on display until December 19, 2014.
Olumide was born and raised in East Harlem, New York City. He loves talking and blogging about comics, food, travel, films, and music. He is also a musician and filmmaker and produced a documentary about the late Al Feldstein (former editor of Mad Magazine and co-creator of some of the most popular titles of the E.C. Comics line). Olumide is also in the process of writing a yet to be titled web series.