Al Jaffee, the cartoonist of "Mad" Magazine has recently turned 99. Certified by the Guinness World Records, he is the oldest working cartoonist in the world.
In his 75 years long career-span, Al Jaffee is considered as the inventor of "Fold-In" - a transformable painting that originally mocked lavish centrefolds in magazines like "National Geographic" and "Playboy".
Born on March 13, 1921 in Savannah, Georgia, he started his career in comics in 1941. He started working at "Mad" in 1955 and has been drawing the Fold-In on the final page since 1964.
In 1972, Jaffee received a Special Features Reuben Award for his Fold-Ins. Other than "Mad", throughout his career, Jaffee has drawn cartoons for magazines such as "Playboy", "Esquire", and "Wired".
"Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions", another classic Jaffee innovation for "MAD", whereupon a stupid question is posed and three snappy answers are returned, was another one of his famous items to run in the magazine. In addition to numerous Snappy MAD articles, eight books of original "Snappy Answers" have been published.
Al Jaffee has written and illustrated more than sixty original cartoon books, including "The MAD Book of Magic and Other Dirty Tricks", "Al Jaffee's MAD Inventions", and the "Willie Weirdie" series. All told, the books have sold more than five million copies worldwide.
Many of the inventions Jaffee imagined for MAD and his original books have come to see the light, including "the smokeless ashtray", "multi-roll toilet paper dispenser", "rotating car parks", "multiblade razors", "snowboarding", and "Spell Check".
He won numerous awards throughout his life. Al Jaffee received the National Cartoonist Society's Medal of Honor along with many other awards in different genres. He also won world's most prestigious Harvey award, which was given for achievement in comic books in 3 categories - "Recognition of Outstanding Achievement" in 2000, "Best Cartoonist" in 2001 and "Special Award of Humor in Comics—Tall Tales" in 2009.
In 2016, for his ninety-fifth birthday, the Office of the Mayor of the City of New York declared March 13, 2016 as "Al Jaffee Day".
Jaffee's biography, "Al Jaffee's MAD Life", written by Mary-Lou Weisman, was published in 2010 which contains more than seventy original colour illustrations by Jaffee.
Al Jaffee continued work until 2019 after MAD magazine left New York City, and went completely digital.