If you were like me when you were younger, you couldn’t wait to get to the fold-in on the back of Mad. It seemed to top anything else in the magazine. The New York Times has a feature on Al Jaffee, who has been doing the fold-in since it’s inception in 1964. Who knew it was originally supposed to be a one-off joke?
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.
“That was the one-time gag,” he said. But he was sure Al Feldstein, the editor, and William M. Gaines, the publisher, wouldn’t go for it.
It’s great that he’s still doing it after all these years, and it’s still done by hand.
And Sam Viviano, the art director, seems in awe of Mr. Jaffee’s old-school technique. “I think part of the brilliance of the fold-in is lost on younger generations who are so used to Photoshop and being able to do stuff like that on the computer,” he said. “It’s matching the colors and keeping the sense of what exists at two levels, the original image and the folded-in image. We’ve never actually known anyone else who could do that.”
The article features an interactive fold-in "side bar" with examples from throughout the years. Go check it out.