A group of New York City inspired comics creators descended on the Soho Gallery for Digital Art on the 17th of April to discuss the good, the bad, and the strange elements of the city that have influenced their lives and works, including Al Jaffee of MAD Magazine fame, Peter Kuper of Spy vs. Spy and the upcoming DRAWN TO NEW YORK, Dean Haspiel of CUBA: MY REVOLUTION and BILLY DOGMA, R. Sikoryak of MASTERPIECE COMICS, Bob Fingerman who created MAXIMUM MINIMUM WAGE, and Miriam Katin of WE ARE ON OUR OWN and LETTING IT GO. The evening was hosted and moderated by former Marvel editor, author, and educator Danny Fingeroth, who, like Haspiel, is a Manhattan native.
The event’s first “victim” was godfather of New York comics Al Jaffee, who conversed with Fingeroth about his life in comics accompanied by slides, many of which were biographical illustrations Jaffee created as original content for his biography Al Jaffee’s Mad Life. Jaffee described his wanderings, from early life in New York, followed by several years with his mother’s family in a Jewish enclave in Lithuania, to his all-American return to the city at age 12, before taking up his place in the first graduating class of New York’s High School of Music and Art. “The only thing that I had going for me throughout my life”, he said spryly, was, “the ability to draw funny pictures”. His “constant competition” with childhood friend and classmate Will Elder kept him on his toes, Jaffee narrated, often relating very humorous anecdotes about their antics.