Today is the 90th birthday of American treasure Jack Davis. One of the founding artists of MAD Magazine illustrator of countless movie posters, magazine covers, advertising illustration, books, trading cards, and yes, even designs for animation, Jack Davis has been a part of the American pop culture scene for many, many decades. What makes it even sweeter is that he is so modest about his work, and such a gentleman.
Back in 2006, I was part of a team that put together a banquet for Jack as the first recipient of the Comic Art Professional Society’s (CAPS) Sergio Award, named after his former MAD colleague Sergio Aragonès. Jack was such a gracious guest, and never tooted his own horn. He didn’t have to – his work does all the tooting for him, not to mention that night there were tributes from artists all over the country, a commendation from the mayor of Los Angeles, and letters of congratulations from past United States Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, both of whom Jack playfully skewered on TIME Magazine covers.
I have known Jack and his sweet wife Dena for almost twenty years, and only regret that I haven’t known them longer. His work has meant a lot to me personally, having been an inspiration to always try to draw better – something I expounded upon in a Monster Month post this past October. Not only that, they are also lovely, genuine people.
So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the greatest southern gentleman I know! Thanks for all the years of showing us how it is done, but most of all, thanks for your friendship.