Today's generation may not know his name, but Jack Davis was one of the most iconic and influential comic book illustrators in the history of the genre. With his passing at age 91 on Wednesday, due to complications from a stroke, the world lost a true legend and consummate artist.
Davis was a go-to talent for all types of publications: from MAD magazine, Tales From the Crypt, Creepshow, and The Vault of Horror, to main stream titles like Time magazine and TV Guide.
Tales From The Crypt
The Vault Of Horror
Davis also illustrated dozens, if not hundreds of movie posters and album covers, leaving his thumbprint all over pop culture for decades.
MAD Magazine released a statement in praise of Davis, including the following:
“There wasn’t anything Jack couldn’t do,” said MAD editor John Ficarra. “Front covers, caricatures, sports scenes, monsters — his comedic range was just incredible. His ability to put energy and motion into his drawings, his use of cross-hatching and brush work, and his bold use of color made him truly one of the greats.”
“More than any one piece, it was Jack’s immediately recognizable style that revolutionized comic illustration,” said MAD art director, Sam Viviano. “There is not a humorous illustrator in the past 50 years who hasn’t been influenced by him.”
After Davis retired, he moved to St. Simons Island, GA, and continued to draw hundreds of posters for his beloved Alma mater the University of Georgia - free of charge - until his death.
University of Georgia
Disclosure: I too attended the University of Georgia, and had the distinct pleasure of meeting Mr. Davis on more than a few occasions. I found him to be an incredibly warm and generous man, with a wonderful sense of humor.
Davis is survived by his wife, Dena, son, Jack Davis III, daughter, Katie Lloyd, and two grandchildren.