Al Jaffee profile in NY Times

The New York Times has a loving profile of Mad magazine idiot gang member, Al Jaffee, who at age 87, recently completed his 400th Mad Fold-in!

200803300903"When he brings in fold-ins now, a lot of times, it's, 'Geez, this guy's painting better than ever,' " said John Ficarra, Mad's editor.

And Sam Viviano, the art director, seems in awe of Mr. Jaffee's old-school technique. "I think part of the brilliance of the fold-in is lost on younger generations who are so used to Photoshop and being able to do stuff like that on the computer," he said. "It's matching the colors and keeping the sense of what exists at two levels, the original image and the folded-in image. We've never actually known anyone else who could do that."

Mr. Jaffee does have a computer, but its main benefit, he said, has been to make the typographic tricks in the fold-in easier to create. He doesn't draw with it, which leads to another surprise: the master of the fold-in never actually folds.

"I'm working on a hard, flat board," he said. "I cannot fold it. That's why my planning has to be so correct."

"The computer would make it so much simpler," he added. "But I think I'm going to remain a dinosaur."

Link | Interactive Fold-In gallery

(Thanks, Coop!)