Just a quick Google Image search will show you how prolific the man was throughout his lifetime - and it's nothing short of amazing - but if you want to get a quick run-through of some of his best works at a glance you need not scour the web too deeply, just drop in at the blog website of another illustrator who I admire - the Vermeer of the Borscht Belt, the undisputed King of liver spots, Drew Friedman - who honored Mr Davis at an event which took place December 2011. Drew conducted a great interview with Davis as well as having compiled an accompanying slide show which spanned a long and prosperous career - surprising Davis with many pieces he had forgotten he did - which was perfectly understandable, as the man had just done so much... magazine illustrations, comic art, album covers, movie posters, animated commercials - he did art for EC Comics "Tales From The Crypt", TIME Magazine, and of course, the aforementioned MAD Magazine.
|An early notebook drawing|
from a monster-obsessed young man.
But it was the monsters that really got my attention...
I had known for a long time that Jack Davis had designed all of those amazing creatures featured in the Rankin/Bass made-for-TV stop motion movie "Mad Monster Party" - and as a bright-eyed impressionable 6 year old those creatures took up permanent residence in my brain. Later as a young teen attending Junior High School it was not unusual for me to fill up my used composition notebooks with similar creatures everywhere there was a blank space. Among that days lessons I would add my own interpretation of the classic Universal monsters I would see played on TV - they weren't always direct interpretations of Davis' Mad Monster Party character designs, but the influences were certainly there I think.
Without even realizing it I got an even stronger dose of Davis influence when I picked up my first MAD Magazine - although it wasn't just Davis alone, I was similarly bit by the bug via others from the "usual gang of idiots" like Don Martin, Sergio Aragones and Mort Drucker - to name a few. But those monster designs he did - I'm always drawn back to those amazing monsters!
|A bit later on, around 2003/04 - the influence continues...|
Thanks Jack, for the MADness!!
Check out the quick handful of Jack Davis monster drawings I quickly grabbed from the net... it was drawings like these that got me hooked, and I hope they "bite" you too - enjoy!!
Oh - and I should add - although totally unrelated to his monster work... while looking through Friedman's tribute I came across something I did not know about Davis - and that was that he had also designed The Rankin/Bass Jackson 5ive Saturday morning cartoon! Yep - you know the one... Check out the groovy character drawings!!
...and here they are as they were featured in TV Guide... all the likenesses are spot-on - there's not "one bad apple" in the bunch! Heh heh heh!!