Al Jaffee archives going to Columbia University

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Librarian Karen Green has done it again! She’s gotten venerable cartoonist Al Jaffee (The Mad fold-in guy) to give his archives to the growing collection at Columbia University. :

Karen Green, a Columbia librarian, approached Mr. Jaffee at last year’s New York Comic Con, a gathering place for popular-culture fans, and asked him if was interested in giving his papers to the university.

“I realized it was a good idea,” he said in a recent interview in his studio on East 56th Street in Manhattan. “It would keep my stuff in New York City, which has been very good to me. The city gave me my first break at the High School of Music and Art, which jump-started my cartooning and got me into the world of art.”


Through Green’s efforts, Columbia has already acquired papers from Chris Claremont, Wendy and Richard Pini and Jerry Robinson, and the Jaffee trove includes notebooks, Dold-In process pieces and a box of comic strips that Jaffee created but never sent out. “I kept creating them, hoping I’d hit pay dirt,” he told the Times. “But I never showed them to anybody, so it was an exercise in stupidity. At least they’ll look good at Columbia.”

Not only is the piece good news for the growing comics archiving movement, but it affords us the pleasure of the above photo by Nicole Bengiveno of the 92-year-old Jaffee in his studio, looking hale and hearty. Could this guy be any more inspiring?

Comments

  1. Thanks so much, Heidi! And, yes: Al is a constant inspiration.

  2. Karen is a good friend, so I’m admittedly a bit partial, but the Columbia collection is becoming a very rich, very deep resource for understanding the history of American comics in its epicenter of New York City. If you really want to study comics, and what the personality or individual struggles of some of the greatest comic-makers, the Columbia collection is a great place for students of any age.

    If I’d have been able to read Al Jaffee’s papers in my twenties then my life in comics would’ve been very different. I hope other cartoonists realize what an important treat is to have collections like this made available and what that means to comics as an artform.

  3. This is all kinds of awesome! Heartiest congrats to Karen and Al on this great move!

  4. John Shableski says:

    This is so great to see! Karen is such a great force for the good of comics and I have to believe the folks at Columbia are starting to see how much she brings to them. Glad to see Mr. Jaffee’s collected works finding such a great home as well.

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