Al Feldstein, noted artist, writer and editor, was born in New York City and studied painting at the High School of Music and Art
and the Art Students League
. He is best know for his work at MAD Magazine
, where he took over as editor in 1955. MAD was part of the EC Comics
empire and prior to his work at MAD Al was the co-creator of several EC titles, including Tales From the Crypt
, Weird Science
, and Weird Fantasy
. E.C. Comics was one of the prime reasons the Comics Code Authority
was created -- a censorship
group that decided if a comic was "decent" enough for the younger generation.
During his tenure as editor, MAD's circulation increased tenfold -- from 280,000 to nearly 3 million. He is also credited with picking the name Alfred E. Neuman -- and the accompanying jug-eared likeness -- for MAD's famous What, Me Worry? mascot. Al gathered a staff of talented (mostly unknown) artist and writers, including Sergio Aragones, to create the wacky periodical. Feldstein's constant oversight included personally editing and revisioning each issue and setting the magazine's overall format and cohesive look. Feldstein retired as editor of MAD in 1984
In retirement Feldstein has become known as an accomplished painter -- especially for his realistic western images. His acrylics sell for thousands of dollars.
Al Feldstein died on April 29, 2014 at his home near Livingston. No cause of death was released. He was 88 years old.