Celebrating the Unpopular Arts

Al Jaffee R.I.P.

Al Jaffee, the genius behind many great features at MAD Magazine, as died at age 102. I consider him the man who installed my sense of humor. In 1968, I was 9-1/2 years old when I was sent to spend the summer with my grandparents in Massachusetts. One fine summer day, my uncle Dickie cane home and handed me a copy of MAD #121, featuring Alfred E. Neuman done up as Guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi being carried by the Beatles. I was a MAD devotee from then on through my childhood and young adulthood. One of the artist-writers I quickly began to look for in every issue was Al Jaffee.

Greg, My Nerd-Dad

This is a story about a person who never gave up on me, and I am a better person because of him.
It was the sixth grade… 2000? I believe? I’ve gotten to that point in my life where Greg would tell me you stop caring or counting, the years just happen. My school handed out flyers for after school clubs and I was determined to find “the one.” I had just started drawing, but my sixth grade brain told me that I was excelling, I was the best, and when I saw Cartooning Club, my little ego went: “bingo.” The classroom the club was held in was in the basement of the school, the woodshop room. Directly to my left, as I walked in the door, I heard: “Welcome.” There was Greg.