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October 07, 2010

Snappy Jaffee

Nice write-up of Al Jaffee's new biography here on Boing Boing.

000aj1

I find it amazing that with the horrific and traumatic childhood revealed in this book, Al grew up not only to be a humorist, but one seemingly without a trace of darkness in his work.  His humor is gentle, intelligent, inventive and, above all, playful.  Even the humor in his "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions," which could be construed as aggressive or insulting, is actually delivered in a teasing, good-natured way.


This is also reflected in him on a personal level; he's one of the kindest, nicest people I've gotten to know in the world of comics.


In illustrating this book, he was forced to re-visit these incredibly painful scenes from his childhood, like the last time he sees his mother before she was eventually killed in World War II.  He and his brothers are looking at her through the window of a train, tears running down their cheeks, while his father looks impassively at the seat in front of him.  Yet they are drawn in his comic style that I so associate with his light-hearted humor.


In one image, he and his brother are crying as they clutch each other walking alone down a dark, scary Lithuanian street.  Around a corner, you can see a garbage can filled with the trademarked "Al Jaffee garbage" he's used to humorous effect in countless Mad Magazine pages:  bones, gunk and chicken guts.


You can buy the book here.


000aj

 

 

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