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Al Jafee's Mad Life

At High School, Jaffee struggled with English Lit. He spent most of the time doodling, which annoyed his teacher. "Miss Hollander always waited until the end of class, and then she'd march right over to my chair and confiscate my doodling. 'How dare you do this while the class is going on? Don't you ever let me see you doing that again.' Of course I paid no attention to her. I kept on doodling and she kept on confiscating. The day that I graduated she presented me with a loose-leaf album that contained about sixty of my doodles. 'This is a collector's item. Someday this is going to be worth a fortune, and that'll teach you not to draw in my class.'"

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MAD magazine paid their artists well, and more importantly, on the day they delivered their work, whereas most magazines, then and now, manage cash flow by paying freelancers as late as possible. But there was a downside. MAD kept all the rights to the artwork. When the artist signed receipt for his check, he simultaneously signed a brief contract giving away all the rights. So Bill Gaines was able to sell on of the first MAD covers to Steven Spielberg for fifteen thousand dollars, and the artist got nothing.

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