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Al Jaffee's Mad Life: A Biography

Al Jaffee's Mad Life: A Biography

Written by Mary-Lou Weisman

Narrated by Allen Rickman


Al Jaffee's Mad Life: A Biography

Written by Mary-Lou Weisman

Narrated by Allen Rickman

ratings:
4.5/5 (4 ratings)
Length:
6 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 18, 2011
ISBN:
9780062084651
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

“One of the great cartoonists of our time.” –New Yorker cartoonist Arnold Roth

The remarkable story of one of America’s most prolific and beloved cartoonists, Al Jaffee, with dozens of original color illustrations. Jaffe’s career in cartooning stretches back to 1941—with early humor pieces for Timely Comics, a precursor to Marvel Comics—but the iconic artist remains best known for the brilliant Fold-In cartoons he invented at Bill Gaines’s Mad magazine in 1964. The cerebral and sardonic illustrations have inspired generations of Mad readers—including Stephen Colbert, R. Crumb, Gary Larson and Charles Shultz—to embrace a firm and healthy irreverence towards the status quo. New York Times columnist and bestselling author Mary-Lou Weisman (My Middle-Aged Baby Book) helps Jaffe tell his remarkable story.
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 18, 2011
ISBN:
9780062084651
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Award-winning journalist and bestselling author Mary-Lou Weisman’s books include My Baby Boomer Baby Book, Traveling While Married, and Intensive Care: A Family Love Story. Her essays, feature articles, interviews, and film and book reviews have appeared in many publications, including the New Republic, Atlantic Monthly, and the New York Times, and she has contributed essays and commentary to Public Radio International. She lives in Westport, Connecticut, with her husband. Al Jaffee is an award-winning cartoonist whose work has appeared in more 440 issues of MAD magazine—a total unmatched by any other writer or artist—including his trademark, the MAD fold-in, which has been featured in almost every issue since 1964.

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  • (3/5)
    Waiting to read this book, I'm searching this type of book from the several months.
  • (5/5)
    A short but very entertaining biography of Al Jaffee, writer and cartoonist best known for his work on MAD magazine. He was born in New York to immigrant parents. His father managed a department store in Savannah. In 1927 his mother got the crazy idea to take her four young sons back to Lithuania, to Zai, the shtel where she grew up, because she was homesick. Al, the eldest, was six years old. His father refused to accompany them and somewhere along the long journey Al realized that he could not depend on his mother for protection or survival. They found lodging with his mother's father and other relatives, in the vanished world of pre WWII Europe complete with outhouses and kerosene lamps. His mother reassured the boys that their father would come "soon" to take them home, but weeks turned into months with no father, though he sent them packages of Sunday comics every few weeks. Al realized his father was similarly untrustworthy for having let their mother take them away, and for not coming to their aid. Things were chaotic: their mother was obsessed with doing charitable works and spent their money on others, while her boys didn't have enough to eat. Al remembers always being hungry. She'd lock them in the house while she went out to help the poor. The boys adapted; they were on their own most of the time and made their own fun with home made toys and games with the local kids. On the eve of WWII their father finally showed up and took them back to America. Their mother was eventually killed by the Nazis. Back in the USA Al was a greenhorn with his hobnailed shoes and accented English, again the odd kid out.He'd always been good at drawing, impressing other kids with his copies of comic characters. In Lithuania he drew in the dirt; in America he kept drawing on paper. His teachers recognized his talent and he was chosen to go to the new High School of Music and Art, along with his friend Wolf Eisenberg. Wolf later changed his name to Will Elder. After high school he freelanced for MAD and worked on various comics till he joined Trump and Humbug (both failed) and eventually MAD. I know him only from MAD and hadn't realized he did comics. He created a syndicated strip called "Tall Tales" with vertical strips. He figured it was a good way to break into the comic page. Somebody should put together a book of these. At MAD he both wrote and drew all kinds of stuff. I have one of his "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions" books around here somewhere, and his most famous contribution is probably the fold-in that appeared on the last page.It's an entertaining and poignant book. He's frank about his family problems and the legacy of distrust his chaotic childhood left him. His next youngest brother Harry was his playmate and drawing partner growing up, but as an adult he became more and more paranoid and disoriented and died alienated from family. A third brother had become deaf from meningitis in Lithuania; he went to a school for the Deaf but his disability limited their communication. Al's first marriage ended unhappily but as he says, his MAD family came through for him. Eventually he married a second time, more happily, but at the end of the book he's joking about how hard it is for him to enjoy himself.