RIP Al Jaffee (Fun With Fold-Ins)

Mad Magazine was an integral part of my upbringing and sense of humor. 

Key Mad creator and collaborator Al Jaffee passed away recently, and one mind-bending contribution he left us, is the invention of the “Fold-In.” 

Celebrate this man’s life, please. And take this as a reminder to ask “where’s that come from” and “why do we do this, this way” more often. 

Ok, so what’s a fold-in?

Playboy, National Geographic, Life, and other magazines pioneered the centerfold. It included the (magical? magisterial? majestic?) “Fold-Out” where two pages sometimes became 3, 4, or more and readers could gaze upon a visually extended graphic, unlike anything else in the rest of the publication. 

Fold-Out’s were all the rage in these iconic 60s magazines. 

Jaffee, with Mad, thought it would be funny to should parody it. What if instead of blowing something up to multiple pages, they could somehow detonate a message to be even smaller? And snarkier?

Instead of a visual feast, Jaffee’s Fold-Ins created a visual punchline. 

Now, the images themselves are stunning and collector’s items in and of themselves, but conceptually – taking a big idea and embedding a joke at the margins, it is just SO COOL. 

RIP Al Jaffee, thanks for all the laughs.