Saturday, December 02, 2006

Happy Birthday, Jack Davis!

Jack Davis is the "World's Greatest Cartoonist", and I'm one out of millions of his fans who feel this way. First time I saw his art was on Topps Bubble Gum Cards. The theme was monsters and I was hooked at first glance. He is now, and will always be my favorite artist.

As Creative Director of The Honeymooners Comic Book in the late '80s I had the opportunity to work with Mr. Davis when he illustrated the wrap-around cover art for our Coney Island issue. It was a simple collaboration, the only direction he was given was: The Honeymooners cast in Coney Island, and try to work Nathan's Famous Restaurant into the visual. When the art arrived it was Golden Age in size, a massive ink and watercolor masterpiece that I stared at for hours, amazed at every detail in the piece.
I actually got to make a minor revision on it. Jack the consummate professional was protecting us from copyright infringement by changing the logo to read: "Nathon's" instead of "Nathan's". We had an aggreement with the restaurant to use their logo, so I got the opportunity, with Jack's permission to change the "o" to an "a".
I can still remember how nervous I was as I laid down the first few strokes of red gouache paint.
Speaking of copyright infringements, none are implied in this post, so every jpeg has been labeled to its respective holder. with the exception of the "Get Smart" artwork, which I'm assuming is (c) NBC.

I'm not aware of any current books dedicated to Jack's art, but Fantagraphics just released "The Comics Journal Library of Harvey Kurtzman" and it's chock full of Jack Davis art and interviews. Only $19.99 Cheap! Run out and get a copy today!

Mr. Jack Davis is 82 years young today, and hopefully playing Golf right now.


richtuzon said...

Wow...thanks for posting these.

Kimberly M. Zamlich said...

i loved mad magazine growing up! I would go thru every detail of all the illustrations back then. I can see that style influencing your work. i remember several parodies--remember the spoofs on The walton family, billy jack, paper moon? Classics. thanks for posting these!

Matt J said...

Great post, what an experience to work with Jack.