Jack Davis, cartoonist and Mad magazine illustrator, dies aged 91


Cartoonist and Mad magazine illustrator Jack Davis has died aged 91.

He was a founding member of the satirical publication in 1952 and his work appeared in almost every issue for 40 years.

Mad Magazine cartoonist Jack Davis attend an event in his honor by the Savannah College of Art and Design and the National Cartoonists Society
(Stephen Morton/AP)

John Ficarra, editor of Mad, hailed Davis as "one of the greats".

He said: "There wasn't anything Jack couldn't do. Front covers, caricatures, sports scenes, monsters - his comedic range was just incredible. His ability to put energy and motion into his drawings, his use of cross-hatching and brush work, and his bold use of colour made him truly one of the greats.

"Jack will always be remembered for his charming modesty and southern gentleman manner - which completely belied his rascally sense of humour and wry wit."

Mad Magazine cartoonist Sergio Aragones, left, Jack Davis and Al Jaffee, right, speak with Savannah College of Art and Design professor John Larison, second from the left, during an event hosted by SCAD and the National Cartoonists Society
Davis with cartoonists Sergio Aragones, left, and Al Jaffee, right, and Savannah College of Art and Design professor John Larison, second from the left (Stephen Morton/AP)

Sam Viviano, Mad art director, added: "More than any one piece, it was Jack's immediately recognisable style that revolutionised comic illustration. There is not a humorous illustrator in the past 50 years who hasn't been influenced by him."

Davis drew for Mad throughout its transition from comic book to magazine, parodying The Lone Ranger, High Noon, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Gone With The Wind, and M*A*S*H.

The final cover he produced in September 1995 featured radio host and comedian Howard Stern being plunged into a toilet bowl by the magazine's mascot Alfred E. Neuman.

Davis also drew posters for movies It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Woody Allen's film Bananas and The Long Goodbye, and designed a stamp for US Postal Service in 1989, breaking official postal policy by sneaking a self-portrait into the image, despite the rule banning portrayals of living people.

He received the National Cartoonists Society's Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996 and the Reuben Award in 2000 and was inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 2003.