And just to make this day even more sorrowful in comics circles, legendary MAD cartoonist Jack Davis has passed away at age 91. Davis created some of the most memorable horror comics at EC, but then basically invented an entire style of caricature that was endlessly imitated throughout the 60s and 70s.
From Mark Evanier’s remembrance:
His poster for the 1963 movie It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World wasn’t his first film job but it was the one that everyone noticed. Thereafter, a hefty percentage of folks marketing comedy films — especially those with large casts of well-known comedians — turned to Davis for their key art. Just as there are performers who have made good careers impersonating Elvis Presley or The Beatles, there are artists whose livelihoods have involved outputting commercial art more or less in the Jack Davis style.
I loved everything he drew but Jack was not fond of some of them. He was great at horror comics but uncomfortable with the subject matter. He turned up occasionally in Playboy, often assisting on his friend Harvey Kurtzman’s “Little Annie Fanny,” but didn’t much like the magazine or its hedonist philosophy. He eventually stopped drawing for MAD partly because of his advanced age but partly because he didn’t like its politics or a subtle trend he perceived towards raunchiness. He also just plain wanted to take it easy, drawing when and what he felt like drawing. (One job he was very glad to do was for the U.S. government in 1989: A postage stamp he drew to honor postal carriers.)
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.