Al Feldstein, who edited the iconic American humor publication Mad magazine for 28 years, has died at the age of 88, the AP reports. Best known for his depiction of Mad’s freckly mascot Alfred E. Neuman, Feldstein began at Mad in 1956, four years after the magazine was founded.
Together with publisher William M. Gaines, Feldstein oversaw Mad’s most successful years, and the artists and writers they recruited to the magazine came up with some of its best known and beloved features, such as “Spy vs. Spy,” “The Lighter Side of…” and “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions.”
Feldstein retired in 1984, by which time the magazine’s circulation had dropped markedly, and moved first to Wyoming and then to Montana, where he died on Tuesday.
Art came early to Brooklyn native, who studied at the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan. His first job in comics was as a teenager, drawing background foliage for a female version of Tarzan. During World War II, he enlisted in the Air Force where was assigned to paint murals and draw comic strips for army newspapers. After his military stint, he drew art for comic books and then took a job at Entertainment Comics, which primed him for the position at Mad, where he established an artistic legacy that is sure to live on.
Feldstein is survived by his wife, stepdaughter, and two grandsons.
Related: MAD Man [Vox Tablet]
Lily Wilf is an editorial intern at Tablet.