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Al Jaffee's Mad Life
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Al Jaffee's Mad Life

3.2 11
by Mary-Lou Weisman, Al Jaffee (Illustrator)
 

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Jaffee's inventive work has enlivened the pages of MAD since 1955. To date he has pickled three generations of American kids in the brine of satire, and 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's work for MAD

Overview

Jaffee's inventive work has enlivened the pages of MAD since 1955. To date he has pickled three generations of American kids in the brine of satire, and 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's work for MAD has made him a cultural icon, but the compelling and at times bizarre story of his life has yet to be told. A synopsis of Jaffee's formative years alone reads like a comic strip of traumatic cliff-hangers with cartoons by Jaffee and captions by Freud. Six-year-old Jaffee was separated from his father, uprooted from his home in Savannah, Georgia, and transplanted by his mother to a shtetl in Lithuania, a nineteenth-century world of kerosene lamps, outhouses, physical abuse, and near starvation. He would be rescued by his father, returned to America, taken yet again by his mother back to the shtetl, and once again rescued by his father, even as Hitler was on the march.

When he finally settled back in America as a twelve-year-old wearing cobbled shoes and speaking his native English with a Yiddish accent, schoolmates called him "greenhorn." He struggled with challenges at least as great as those he had met in Europe. His luck changed, however, when he was chosen to be a member of the first class to attend New York City's High School of Music and Art. There his artistic ability saved him.

He would go on to forge relationships with Stan Lee, Harvey Kurtzman, and Will Elder, launching a career that would bring him to MAD magazine. There he found himself at the forefront of a movement that would change the face of humor and cartooning in America.

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

Editorial Reviews

Stan Lee
“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.”
Sergio Aragones
“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!”
New York Times
“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.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061864483
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/28/2010
Pages:
226
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are Saying About This

Sergio Aragones
“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!”
Stan Lee
“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.”

Meet the Author

Mary-Lou Weisman is an award-winning journalist and bestselling author. Her published books include My Baby Boomer Baby Book; Traveling While Married; My Middle-Aged Baby Book: A Record of Milestones, Millstones & Gallstones; and Intensive Care: A Family Love Story. All of her books remain in print. Her essays, feature articles, interviews, and film and book reviews have appeared in many publications, among them The New Republic, Newsweek, Glamour, Vogue, Atlantic Monthly, and the New York Times. She has also contributed essays and commentary to Public Radio International. She lives in Westport, Connecticut, with her husband, a lawyer. Mary-Lou Weisman and Al Jaffee have been friends for more than thirty years.

Customer Reviews

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Al Jaffee's Mad Life 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
PhDeity More than 1 year ago
I read a lot of Mad as a kid, and I love biographies. So this is a natural for me. I enjoyed it, but I was also disappointed. Here are a few key points: Al Jaffee's life is remarkable. He overcame a lot of crazy stuff in his childhood and was very successful as a writer and cartoonist. The book is enjoyably written, and it has nice illustrations...by...Al Jaffee, of course. However: The focus of the book is very much on his childhood, with a reasonable amount about his career. We learn very little about what makes him tick ...we know where he lived, how many kids he had, etc, but there is very little that left me feeling that I understood much about him as an adult, or, for that matter a human being. His life had a mix of triumph and tragedy, and a lot of things are just mentioned in passing, then dropped, never to appear again. The book also just sort of stops. I was reading along, turning pages (electronically) and boom! it was done. It wasn't a bad book, but I had the feeling that I had just read a book that was only two-thirds done. It's also pricey at $13.99 for an e-book. I guess the prices are pegged to the paper copy. I'd be more inclined to forgive the defects if it was $3.99. All said, my synopsis is that this is 2/3 of a New Yorker article, stretched out to book length, and full of holes. I wish I could recommend it more highly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I feel bad that idiots who can't read a description, nor title, think this is a comic book. Anyways, this is a great book. Despite its lacking in a few details, its great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is not even a comic it is a lam book with mabye 4pics...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Weird
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That book sucked
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You people who read this book has the cover name
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am only reaing the sample which is 1-14 pages long.I mostly like it because it is cool and is is a comic book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Xp