Jack Davis R.I.P.

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Zeichner Jack Davis ist im Alter von 91 Jahren gestorben.

Sein Strich sollte jedem schonmal begegnet sein – der Mann war eine Comic-Legende und seit Gründung an Bord des MAD-Mags, nachdem er in den 50ern bereits mit Bill Gaines an u.a. Tales from the Crypt und The Vault of Horror gearbeitet hatte. Von ihm stammt zum Beispiel der heute bekannte Look des Cryptkeepers und auch eine ganze Reihe Film-Poster, unter anderem das berühmte Plakat zu It's a mad, mad, mad, mad World, Woody Allens Bananas, Bad News Bears (dt. Die Bären sind los) und Get Smart und natürlich ein ganzer Haufen an Covern des Mad Magazins.

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jackMit Jack Davis ist nun der letzte Künstler der Gang gestorben, die Stories für die legendären EC Comics gezeichnet hatten. Die von ihm bebilderte Geschichte Foul Play wurde explizit bei der Einführung des Comic Codes und der Zensur der damals populären Horror-Comics zitiert.

In 2011, Davis told the Wall Street Journal about his early career and his breakthrough with EC: „I was about ready to give up, go home to Georgia and be either a forest ranger or a farmer. But I went down to Canal Street and Lafayette, up in an old rickety elevator and through a glass door to Entertaining Comics where Al Feldstein and Bill Gaines were putting out horror [comic] books. They looked at my work and it was horrible and they gave me a job right away!“

Davis was particularly noted for his depiction of the Crypt-Keeper in the horror comics, revamping the character's appearance from the more simplistic Al Feldstein version to a tougher, craggier, mangier man with hairy warts, salivating mouth and oversized hands and feet, who usually didn't wear shoes. Among the classic horror tales he illustrated were „Foul Play“ which was cited in Dr. Fredric Wertham's book Seduction of the Innocent for its depiction of „a comic book baseball game“. Others, like „Tain't the Meat, It's the Humanity“, „Death of Some Salesman“, „Fare Tonight Followed by Increasing Clottiness“, „Tight Grip“ and „Lower Berth“ were Crypt-Keeper classics. He did the covers for every issue of Crypt from issue #29 to #46.

His style of wild, free-flowing brushwork and wacky characters made him a perfect choice when Harvey Kurtzman launched Mad as a zany, satirical EC comic book in 1952. He appeared in most of the first 30 issues of Mad, all 12 issues of Panic and even some work in Cracked.

Today is a sad, sad, sad, sad Day.

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