MAD Magazine legend Al Jaffee retires at age 99

Best known for his "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions" and the ever-ubiquitous MAD Fold-In, cartoonist Al Jaffee has retired today at the age of 99, making him the longest working cartoonist in history.

Jaffee began his career working for Marvel pre-cursors Timely and Atlas Comics in the early 1940s but settled into his lifelong position with the usual gang of idiots at Mad Magazine beginning in 1955. It 1964, he cultivated one of mankind's all-time greatest inventions: the fold-in. It was always a dilemma - how to fold it just enough to see the hidden image without ruining the entire back cover?

Jaffee talks about the origin of his other most enduring gag series, Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions, in this video from Heeb Magazine founder Jeff Newelt .

Let's honor his life's achievements by making our own Fold-In and Snappy Answer tributes today.

Q: Why did Al Jaffee retire?

A: He decided to pursue his actual lifelong dream and become a stuntman.

A: MAD Magazine reneged on his contract by neglecting to pick all of the green M&M's out of his backstage catering tray.

A: He felt like waiting until 100 was just showing off.

From The Washington Post:

Jaffee said in a 2016 Baltimore Comic-Con session that hardship sharpened his humor. He was born in Savannah, Ga., but life grew rough during the six years of childhood he spent on a shtetl in his mother’s Zarasai — what he called “the Siberia of Lithuania” — with food in short supply and no running waters or toys.

Read the rest

Talking Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics with Visionary Comic Book Creator Tom Scioli

Visionary comic book creator Tom Scioli discusses his new work, Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics, set to be released July 14, 2020 from Ten Speed Press.

Tom Scioli won a Xeric Grant in 1999 for his creator-owned comic book series, The Myth of 8-Opus, and gained further prominence as co-creator (with Joe Casey) of the Eisner-award nominated comic book series Gødland (2005-2012) published by Image Comics.  More recently, Scioli wrote and drew a five issue Go-Bots mini-series (2018) published by IDW Comics, as well as his (very awesome) “Super Powers” (2017) back-up feature for DC Comics' Young Animal imprint.  Scioli also drew and co-scripted (with IDW editor-in-chief John Barber) the critically acclaimed Transformers vs. G.I. JOE maxi-series (2014-2016) published by IDW.  In 2020 he wrote and drew Fantastic Four: Grand Design, published by Marvel Comics.

Jeffery Klaehn: How might you elevator pitch Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics to audiences, especially new readers who may not yet be familiar with Jack Kirby or your own comics work?

Tom Scioli: Everybody’s knows Marvel, everybody knows Stan Lee, but there’s another guy who is at least as important in the creation of the Marvel Universe. Jack Kirby has been a big part of comics history from the very beginning and is a real life hero in his own right. If you’ve never heard of Jack Kirby, or just know the name and not much more, prepare to get your mind blown. Read the rest

Cartoonist sells his "crappy rejected" New Yorker submissions

For Christmas, I gifted myself with a New Yorker subscription. At the end of January, in my inbox zine, I wrote about becoming a little obsessed with the magazine's cartoon caption contest, and how I had shared the fun with my 15-year-old daughter. I then found myself searching and following all the New Yorker-published cartoonists I could find on Instagram.

That search led me to Brooklyn-based Drew Dernavich (and, boy, I sure am glad I found him!). On top of The New Yorker, he's been published in Time, the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, and other well-known publications. He's also a graphic recorder, aka a "visual note-taker."

On February 6, he posted this photo. It shows the reality of his business as demonstrated by two piles of paper: his rejected cartoons and his accepted ones:

View this post on Instagram

Before I started submitting digital sketches to @newyorkermag a few years ago, I was doing them the old-school way: Sharpie on paper. But that takes up too much space, so I’m cleaning house. Here is the pile of ideas that got published vs. the ones that got rejected. And in multiple views so you can see the actual ratio. Cruel business, my friends. I’m still generating a lot of crappy rejected ideas, they’re just in digital form now!

A post shared by drewdernavich (@drewdernavich) on Feb 6, 2020 at 11:15am PST

He writes:

Before I started submitting digital sketches to @newyorkermag a few years ago, I was doing them the old-school way: Sharpie on paper.

Read the rest

Lynda Barry's 'Writing the Unthinkable' lesson

TIL: the fabulous Lynda Barry teaches at the University of Wisconsin! In this lesson, called "Writing the Unthinkable," she shares a neat method to get started on a new piece. It begins by drawing a tight spiral as a meditation.

"Once I start to draw this spiral, I'm starting to get in the mood to write some kind of story."

(Wertzeen) Read the rest

Cartoonist John Callahan may finally get a biopic

Quadriplegic alcoholic John Callahan was one of the most controversial American cartoonists from the age of newsprint. Now he may finally be getting a long-awaited film about his life starring Joaquin Phoenix and directed by Gus Van Sant. Read the rest

The comics of Joan Cornellà

Joan Cornellà's painted cartoon strips are wonderfully weird. Read the rest

Uno Moralez' wonderfully creepy cartoons

Sean T. Collins of The Comics Journal interviewed Uno Moralez, a 44-year-old cartoonist from Bashkortostan. His black-and-white work has an old-timey Macpaint look. Check out his creepy loops.

Collins: I would describe your work as horror. Do you?

Moralez: I don’t think my drawings are frightening. I like to think they are mysterious.

Collins: I’ll agree to the second part of that response. Your drawings are mysterious, since they are both complex and specific in a way that invites us to imagine how the characters and creatures in them got to that point. For example, your recent comic about the small man who steals a jewel from a sleeping woman’s forehead ends with an image of his jewel collection – it seems this is something he has done many times before, and we are left to fill in the blanks. Do you consider the story behind the images when you make them?

Moralez: My short stories derive from images which don’t fit in a one single image, plotwise. This is not exactly a comic, that’s why I draw only key scenes leaving out details. And then reader’s imagination starts to work. That is important.

Uno Moralez! Read the rest

TOM THE DANCING BUG: "Revenge of the God," In Which The Avengers Must Face Their Creator!!

Support Tom the Dancing Bug and receive BENEFITS and PRIVILEGES by joining the INNER HIVE right now!

"I used to spend 20 dollars a year on TOM THE DANCING BUG collections… Happy to support him and pass the word." -Neil Gaiman, Inner Hive member since last week Read the rest

Helped by friends, cartoonist battles Parkinson's

Courtesy of Richard Thompson

Cartoonist Richard Thompson's voice was quiet and reedy when we spoke, although the traces of his Maryland upbringing are clear. His voice sometimes gives out on him, he said, because of Parkinson's disease, a degenerative neuromuscular condition, with which he was diagnosed in 2009. I could understand him just fine when we spoke recently, but, as with so many aspects of his body's expression of Parkinson's, Thompson has just had to learn to work around it. Read the rest