Revered cartoonist Jack Davis died today at the age of 91.
Davis’s art career spanned several mediums, from comics, to movie posters, to advertising. One of his first jobs was drawing a Coco-Cola training manual in 1949.
In 1950, he began freelancing for EC Comics, the historic horror, crime, sci-fi, humor and war comics publisher. His work was featured in issues of Tales from the Crypt, The Haunt of Fear, Frontline Combat, Two-Fisted Tales, The Vault of Horror, Piracy, Incredible Science Fiction, Crime Suspenstories, Shock Suspenstories, and Terror Illustrated. Among Davis’ contributions to EC was a character redesign for the Cryptkeeper, the iconic host of Tales from the Crypt. He also illustrated the story “Foul Play,” which was cited in Dr. Frederic Wertham’s book Seduction of the Innocent. Davis was the last surviving artist of the EC horror comics era.
In 1952, Davis went on to become one of the founding artists of Harvey Kurtzman’s Mad Magazine. He worked on the first 30 issues Mad Magazine, as well as Panic, Cracked, Trump, Humbug, and Help!
Davis eventually branched out into illustrating record jackets, movie posters, book and magazine covers. He also worked for Rankin-Baas Productions, contributing character designs for Mad Monster Party, The King Kong Show, The Coneheads, and The Jackson 5ive.
Davis has been recognized as one of the greats of the comics industry. He received the National Cartoonists Society’s Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996 and received their Reuben Award in 2000. In 2003, he was inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame.