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Illustrator/Cartoonist Jack Davis dies at 91

Discussion in 'Non-Animated Movies And TV' started by mreiof, Aug 12, 2016.

  1. mreiof

    mreiof Moderator Staff Member I SUPPORT BCDB! Forum Member

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    John "Jack" Davis, an illustrator whose work was familiar to generations and who was there at the beginning of MAD Magazine, passed on July 27 at the age of 91. During my childhood, Davis' art was a visual soundtrack. I would study his comics panel by panel and appreciate how he saved his "detail work" for his principals, while rendering his bg characters in a looser, "incomplete" style—creating a marvelous energy that moved the action along. No one did this better than Mr. Davis. There are a number of perceptive articles celebrating his life and work, here is just one of them: RIP Jack Davis, legendary sports cartoonist and MAD magazine artist - The Washington Post
    Jack Davis, who was amazingly prolific and never retired, now rests.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
  2. artytoons

    artytoons Administrator I SUPPORT BCDB! Forum Member New Member

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    Great caricaturist. Expressive, zany, and memorable art.
  3. emeraldisle

    emeraldisle Moderator Staff Member I SUPPORT BCDB!

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    He illustrated a book called "Meet The North American Indians." I may get another copy of that book as a tribute. RIP.
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  4. Bobby Bickert

    Bobby Bickert Inbetweener Forum Member New Member

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    It seems like most obituaries are only mentioning his work for MAD and his "mainstream" work (TV Guide covers, movie posters, etc.). Before he was doing that, he was drawing most of the Crypt Keeper's stories in the EC horror comics Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and The Haunt of Fear, as well as the covers for Tales from the Crypt (18 of its 27 issues). (He also was one of the main artists in EC's war comics Two Fisted Tales and Frontline Combat, which is what Harvey Kurtzman was writing and editing before he created MAD.)


    This is probably his most (in)famous EC horror story: http://www.besthorrorcomics.com/pdf/Foul_Play!.pdf

    (In-jokes: "Bill" and "Al" are references to editors Bill Gaines and Al Feldstein. "Melvin" is a name that turned up frequently in MAD when it was a color comic book.)


    Another really good one: The Blog of Mystery • Death Of Some Salesmen From The Haunt of Fear...

    (This is obviously taken from the recent hardcover reprints; the bright, garish colors are the dead giveaway.)


    One of his covers for Tales from the Crypt: http://d1g4sq00ps2bp3.cloudfront.net/terricomics/talesfromthecrypt41.jpg


    One of his non-horror EC covers, done after EC quit publishing horror (and war) comics because of the Comics Code: http://ilikecomicsonline.com/wp-con...ade-60-With-Jack-Davis-Cover-291513335659.jpg

    (This cover showcases his skill at drawing "redneck" characters.)


    Finally, something more appropriate for the Big Cartoon Forum, one of his early stories for MAD: Inside Jeff Overturf's Head: "Alice in Wonderland!" - Jack Davis - Mad Mondays!
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
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  5. artytoons

    artytoons Administrator I SUPPORT BCDB! Forum Member New Member

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    Davis also worked with Rankin Bass Productions in the stop motion "Mad Monster Party?" movie. Davis and Paul Coker Jr were MAD Magazine staffers who worked on character designs for various Rankin-Bass cel-animated and stop-motion animated projects. Davis did the character designs for the studio's "Jackson 5ive" series.

    I think Davis worked on the "Mad Mad Comedians" animated tv special in the early 1970s (with the voices of Groucho Marx and Jack Benny) using his gift of caricature.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2016
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  6. mreiof

    mreiof Moderator Staff Member I SUPPORT BCDB! Forum Member

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    Very nice sampling of Jack Davis' huge output, and you saved one of the best for last. I googled the MAD "Alice in Wonderland" parody specifically to see Mr. Davis' work and found Jeff Overturf's amazing blog, so I am very glad you highlighted it here. It's Davis caricaturing Sir John Tenniel, and it doesn't get better than that. (Bugs Bunny as the White Rabbit!)

    Here's yet more evidence of the man's ability, a caricature of the Man in Black for his 1966 album of folk/novelty songs, Everybody Loves a Nut (predates "A Boy Named Sue"). Once again, Davis is a genius in his use of space and how he can give you so much disparate action and still maintain order.

    Jack-Davis,-Johnny-Cash.jpg

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