Two-Fisted Tales by Jack Davis
Two-Fisted Tales #25

Jack Davis was one of the main artists for Mad Magazine from its start in 1952, and the final remaining artists of the classic EC Comics line-up. He was born as John Burton Davis, Jr. in Atlanta, Georgia in 1924. His first work was published in the reader's section of Tip Top Comics when Davis was twelve years old. He was in the Navy from 1945 to 1947, and cooperated on the Navy News, for which he created the character Boondocker. After the second World War, he attended the University of Georgia, where he studied at art school under Lamar Dodd. He cooperated on the campus magazine Bullsheet, and became especially know for his drawings of comical caricatures of Bulldogs, that served as mascots for the university's football teams for decades to come.

The Vault of Horror #30 by Jack Davis
The Vault of Horror #30

He joined EC Comics in 1951, after finishing his additional studies at the New York's Art Students League and having assisted artists like Ed Dodd and Mike Roy on the comic strips 'Mark Trail' and 'The Saint', respectively.

Kane Keen!, by Jack Davis 1953
Kane Keen! (Mad Magazine, 1953)

Because Davis was quick and efficient, Feldstein and Kurtzman could always depend on him, making him the most versatile artist of the EC crew. Davis worked for all the EC horror and suspence comic books, including The Vault of Horror, Tales from the Crypt, Haunt of Fear, Crime SuspenStories, Shock SuspenStories, and Incredible Science Fiction. When most of the EC titles folded in 1955 due to the Comics Code, Davis continued to work for the company's funny titles MAD and Panic. He remained a contributor to Mad Magazine for decades to come, and became especially noted for his spoofs of films like 'High Noon', 'Raiders of the Lost Ark', 'Gone With The Wind', and 'M.A.S.H.'.

Foul Play, by Jack Davis (1953)
Foul Play!, one of the all-time classic EC horror stories (The Haunt of Fear #19)

Davis additionally did some comics work for Atlas Comics (1958-1963), as well as the men's magazine Playboy, for which he worked on 'Little Annie Fanny' stories. But by this time, he mainly focused on illustrating bubble gum cards, movie posters and display advertising. Among his most notable movie posters are those for 'Bananas' (1971), 'The Long Goodbye' (1973), 'American Graffiti' (1973) and 'It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World' (1963). He also worked as an illustrator for magazines like Cracked, Loco, Crazy and Panic.

Crapper John MD by Jack Davis
Crapper John M.D. (Mad #221, 1981)

He did covers and illustrations for TV Guide and Esquire and cooperated with Harvey Kurtzman on several works for Trump, Humbug and Help!. Davis continued to do some comics in the horror genre for the magazines of Warren Publishing in the 1970s. In 2000, the National Cartoonists' Society gave him the Rueben Award for Best Cartoonist of the Year. On 16 December 2014, at the age of 90, Jack Davis announced his retirement from drawing, because he "couldn't meet his own standards anymore". Davis died on 27 July 2016 in Athens, Georgia, at the age of 91.

Two-Fisted Tales cover by Jack Davis

Series and books by Jack Davis in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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