Mad Magazine helped make American humor Jewish — and Al Jaffee played a big role in making that happen.
Editor’s note: Mad magazine will soon be coming off newsstands and will stop publishing new content. DC Entertainment announced Wednesday that starting after issue 10 there will be no new content except for year-end specials. We are republishing this article from 2016 in honor of the magazine’s legacy.
It was a thrill to learn recently that one of my favorite Mad magazine artists, the legendary Al Jaffee, would give his personal papers to Columbia University. Among those treasures are a massive cache of Jaffee’s much-loved Mad fold-in cartoons and notebooks of ideas Jaffee never even submitted for publication.
“Cookalein” is Yiddish for “a modest bungalow, usually in the Catskills” where mothers would cook for their vacationing families. It’s also the title of one of the more modest but moving works in “Will Eisner’s New York: From the Spirit to the Modern Graphic Novel,” which opened last week at Soho’s Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, running through June 30.