NY Times

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World: Madcap Illustrator for Mad Magazine Dies at 91

Jul 29, 2016  •  Post A Comment

An artist whose distinctive style was part of the iconic imagery that defined Mad magazine for decades has died. Jack Davis, who created countless Mad covers and features along with movie posters, album covers and the covers of Time and TV Guide, died Wednesday in St. Simons Island, Ga., The New York Times reports.

Davis died of complications from a stroke. He was 91.

“Mr. Davis was a prolific artist, drawing posters for movies like ‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’ and ‘The Long Goodbye,’ as well as record album covers,” The Times reports. You can see Davis’ cover for the soundtrack to “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” below.

In a statement on the Mad magazine website, editor John Ficarra said: “There wasn’t anything Jack couldn’t do. Front covers, caricatures, sports scenes, monsters — his comedic range was just incredible.”

The Times notes that Davis “got his start in 1950 selling drawings to EC Comics, which published horror fiction titles like ‘Tales From the Crypt.’ Two years later, amid an outcry over the potentially harmful effects of violent comics on children, the company started what became Mad magazine, edited by Harvey Kurtzman. Mr. Davis was a member of the ‘Usual Gang of Idiots,’ the nickname for the crew that put out the magazine.”

In the statement released by Mad, the magazine’s art director, Sam Viviano, says of Davis: “There is not a humorous illustrator in the past 50 years who hasn’t been influenced by him.”

MadMadWorldJack Davis’ cover for the soundtrack to “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”

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