It’s a sad day today in the world of comics, especially horror comics in particular as renowned artist and cartoonist Jack Davis has passed away at the age of 91. Davis had a career that spanned nearly 70 years and was best known to horror fans for his work with EC Comics in the 1950’s.
Davis was not confined to only comic art, not by a long shot. His work spanned several mediums including comics, movie posters, record jacket designs, advertising, and more.
His cartoon characters are characterized by extremely distorted anatomy, including big heads, skinny legs, and extremely large feet.
Davis began freelancing for William Gaines’ EC Comics in 1950, contributing to 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. He was particularly noted for his depiction of the Crypt-Keeper in the horror comics, revamping the character’s appearance from the more simplistic Al Feldstein version to a tougher, craggier, mangier man with hairy warts, salivating mouth and oversized hands and feet, who usually didn’t wear shoes.
Particularly of note is that he was the only surviving artist of the EC horror comics…until now sadly.
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!
He also did many magazine covers for sources such as TV Guide.
Horror fans will also remember his work in movie posters. He also contributed to Rankin-Bass productions; his character designs are featured in Mad Monster Party, The King Kong Show, The Coneheads and the cartoon series 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.
One of the greatest comic illustrators of all-time is now gone and there will never be another like Jack Davis. Take it from someone who has a framed Frankenstein illustration by Jack Davis in his bedroom that his art is one-of-a-kind.
All of us here at Horror Society would like to offer our sincerest condolences to the family, friends, and fans of Jack Davis. His artwork will live on forever and Jack will never be forgotten!
R.I.P. Jack Davis (December 2, 1924 – July 27, 2016)
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