Mr. Jaffee, born in Savannah, Ga., met some of Mad’s founding brains when they were students together at the High School of Music and Art in New York in the late 1930s. Mad appeared in 1952, and soon he was among the freelancers writing for it. Mr. Kurtzman left in 1956 to try other ventures, and Mr. Jaffee was among those who followed. But after Humbug failed in 1958, Mr. Jaffee returned to Mad — still as a freelancer; he has never been on the staff. And still as a writer. Eventually, he said, the sketches he used to illustrate his ideas caught the eye of Nick Meglin, an editor, who realized they were funnier than what the artists were producing.
So Mr. Jaffee became a writer-artist. And in 1964 he had an idea. Playboy, Life and other magazines had their lavish color fold-outs, so Mad, he thought, should parody them with a cheap black-and-white fold-in.
Instead of conducting a formal interview, we invited Mr. Jaffee to explain the thought process behind his favorite Fold-Ins from over the years. He certainly didn’t disappoint. Read on to discover how one of the world’s finest optical satirists creates his magic on a monthly basis.