When it comes to the world of illustration, Jack Davis was a titan. You may not know his name but you’d immediately be able to spot his artwork. His numerous contributions included comics, film posters, and iconic advertisements. Davis passed away at the age of 91.
Davis became well known for his exaggerated, caricature-esque style thanks to his work in the groundbreaking MAD Magazine. You could also see his ridiculous takes on movie stars in his numerous film posters. Some of his most notable work includes Woody Allen’s Bananas!, The Long Goodbye, The Bad News Bears, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, World and numerous others.
Davis also illustrated a number of TV Guide issues that depicted such pop culture icons as Johnny Carson and Dean Martin. He didn’t stop there. He’d also illustrate fictional characters of the era like Maxwell Smart and Napoleon Solo, helping to bring these classic figures to more and more eager fans.
Personally, Davis’ work on the EC horror comics is some of the best you could ever hope to see. He helped redefine the iconic Crypt-Keeper by giving him grosser features such as a drooling mouth and hairy warts. Some of Davis’ stories became classics for the EC horror line, including the infamous “Foul Play,” a story about a baseball team that uses their opponent’s body parts for a game. It’s an absolute must-read for fans of over-the-top horror. Davis’ cover work for Tales from the Crypt alone deserves your eyeballs.
It’s always sad when the art world loses an icon like Davis, but the best thing about such a sad scenario is that we have a lifetime of art to discover and rediscover. Davis’ work will live on forever and will find its way to new artists who are inspired by his drawings. There’s no doubt that Davis will continue to gain fans for as long as there are people who learn about his amazing talent.