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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: It Books (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006186448X
  • ASIN: B0058M5ISO
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #663,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Al Jaffee’s Mad Life lays bare in harrowing yet often riotous detail how a Southern boy, twice uprooted by his mother to Lithuanian shtetls on the eve of World War II, grew up to become a tireless satirist for some of America’s cheekier magazines.” (New York Times )

“I’ve been privileged to know many brilliant cartoonists, but the incredibly creative, supremely talented Al Jaffee is right up there at the top of the list.” (Stan Lee )

“When I am among other cartoonists talking about the giants in our field, one of the first names that comes to the conversation is Al Jaffee and we all agree, He is a cartoonists cartoonist!” (Sergio Aragones )

From the Back Cover

Since 1955, when his work began enlivening the pages of MAD magazine, Al Jaffee has pickled three generations of American kids in the brine of satire—and he continues to bring millions of childhoods to untimely ends with the knowledge that parents are hypocrites, teachers are dummies, politicians are liars, and life isn’t fair. Jaffee has a life story that is truly bizarre, that reads like a comic strip of traumatic cliff-hangers with cartoons by Jaffee and captions by Freud—from his traumatic childhood as a reverse immigrant to finding his adult place at the forefront of a movement that would forever change the face of humor and cartooning in America.

A cliff-hanger of a life deserves a page-turner of a biography, and that’s precisely what Mary-Lou Weisman and Al Jaffee have delivered.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 22 customer reviews
'Im a jaffee and mad magazine fan.
david denton
This is a great read whether you're a comic book fan or not.
Richard Meyer
Read it and enjoy Al's life story as much as I did.
Michael

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By tim metcalfe on January 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
As a lifelong Mad magazine consumer and collector, and reader of biographies and autobiographies of Mad artists and writers, this ranks near the top. If you're after more inside stories of the creation of Mad, and what life was like in the Mad offices, this provides some of that. But mostly, and most interestingly, it is the epic saga of the little boy who became Al Jaffee, one of Mad's maddest artists. Shuttled back and forth from Savannah, Georgia, to a shtetl in Lithuania, to New York City and back again to the shtetl due to his separated parents fighting for custody, the boy and his oddball brothers became artists and inventors to amuse themselves when they had nothing else. When he landed back in the Bronx as a teenager, Al fortuitously met a fellow artist and cutup in junior high named Wolf Eisenberg, who later became one of the founders of Mad, Will Elder. The following year Will and Al got into the famed LaGuardia High School of Music and Arts. There they befriended the first editor and auteur of Mad, Harvey Kurtzman. And the rest is history.

This book is a gem, due to the copious, beautiful illustrations by Jaffee (still going cantankerously strong at 89) and moreso by the absorbing saga of Jaffee's long, fascinating and tragicomic life. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By DF on November 19, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would have never imagined that one of my favorite artist from Mad Magazine would have such an interesting story. It is unbelievable that with all the tragedy surrounding his life Mr. Jaffee would be responsible for some of the funniest stuff ever drawn on a page. The book was well written and included new drawings as well as some of his classic work. I completely enjoyed this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By justonemorething on October 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is just wonderful. I always knew Al Jaffee as a great artist, but you really learn about what a remarkable life he's had, and what a remarkable man he is. The illustrations throughout the book makes it feel personal. The juxtaposition between sorrow and humor is a fascinating theme that is well told. This is like a present for Mad lovers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Sackmary on March 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Did you grow up in the media generation like I did? Hours and hours of tv and video games? If you did, and if you really want to get a view of what life was like for our grandparent's generation, then read this book. It's an eye-opener.

The write (Al Jaffee) is world-famous for his fold-ins in the back of MAD Magazine. Jaffee also wrote the famous "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions" cartoons. If you enjoyed reading MAD when you were a kid, you'll love this book. Jaffee lets us in on his life story. It's a story that is inspiring, sometimes sad, but eventually triumphant.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very interesting. As others have noted, this isn't the book you should read if you want to know what working at Mad was like - that's in there to a degree, but is not the focus. The focus is his life and, really, few would have gone through such a life and come out intact, I don't think. It's an amazing story and doesn't drag. It opened my eyes in Watson I did not expect.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a fun, occasionally harrowing story from a cartooning legend. Some of this is unbelievable; it would make a great movie.
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By Richard Meyer on February 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was definitely a different type of comic book creator biography than most are probably used to reading. It is well over half-way into the book before Al Jaffee's comic book career is really mentioned.

It is a fascinating look at a very creative cartoonist who grew up in some very daunting circumstances, having been forced to go back to his mother's relatively primitive homeland of Lithuania twice during his formative years. There is a lot of reminiscing about that time period, but it is not boring or trite; if's simply fascinating. The book proceeds on to his work with various comic book companies, including Stan Lee at Timely/Atlas (what would become Marvel), some short runs working for Harvey Kurtzman and, of course, his legendary run with Bill Gaines at Mad Magazine.

This is a great read whether you're a comic book fan or not.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having grown up with MAD magazine, it was well worth a look at one of it's most important contributors. Recommended!
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