Cartoonist Al Jaffee Donates His Archives To Columbia University
Al Jaffee is an icon of cartooning. Though the artist was working for Marvel precursors Timely and Atlas comics in the 1940s and ’50s, he is easily best known for the work he’s produced for Mad Magazine, with his signature creation for the publication being the Mad Fold-In’s he started in 1964, and still produces today. In a career that has spanned more than 70 years, Jaffee has amassed an incredible body of work, and now he’s donating much of that collection to the rare book and manuscript library at Columbia University, located in the Harlem section of New York, the city the cartoonist calls home.
Jaffee was first approached about donating his collection at last year’s New York Comic Con by Karen Green, the Columbia librarian in charge of the school’s graphic novel section. In an interview with The New York Times, Jaffee stated that part of the appeal of donating his collection to Columbia was that it would keep the work in his hometown:
I realized it was a good idea. It would keep my stuff in New York City, which has been very good to me. The city gave me my first break at the High School of Music and Art, which jump-started my cartooning and got me into the world of art.
Jaffee’s archives will be added to a quickly growing section at the university. In the last two years alone, Green has acquired X-Men scripts from Chris Claremont, the papers of Wendy and Richard Pini, the husband-and-wife team behind the Elfquest series of comics and graphic novels, as well as work from Jerry Robinson, co-creator of Robin and the Joker.
Jaffee’s archives, which have been organized in the past two years by his stepdaughter Jody Revenson, contains the early stages of many of his famous three panel Mad fold-ins, as well as several comic strips he says have never seen the light of day.