Internet rumors to the contrary, artist Jack Davis, whose iconic movie poster art throughout the ’60s and ’70s, along with his memorable work in Mad Magazine and EC Comics titles such as “Tales from the Crypt” and “Vault of Horror, is very much alive at age 88. Rumors spread this morning that Davis had passed away, but thankfully, fellow “Mad” illustrator Tom Richmond has squelched this and confirmed that Davis is thankfully still among the living.
This, however, is as good a time as any to take a renewed appreciation of Davis’s work — after all, why should we have to use a death as the only reason to examine a great talent’s career more closely?
Davis, who first became a published artist in 1936 at the age of 12 with a submission for “Tip Top Comics,” designed some of the most memorable poster artwork in film history, with his gleefully caricatured portrayals of stars and characters that were real enough to ring true, yet so wild as to depict a sense of mirth that was often more entertaining than the films they promoted. Characterized by large heads and feet and tiny, distorted bodies and arms, he, along with his cohort at “Mad,” Mort Drucker, were very much responsible for creating the distinct style that denotes “entertainingly goofy,” even decades later, and films such as THE BAD NEWS BEARS and IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD are arguably memorable now partially because Davis’s work did such a wonderful job at promoting them.
While Davis has worked on countless pieces of advertising, the work he did that has stood the cultural test of time the most has been his movie poster art. We present some of his more notable and most underrated posters below.
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