Jack Davis, the prolific cartoonist and illustrator who was best known for his work for MAD Magazine, has died. He was 91.

Jack Davis Dies

Mad Magazine confirmed his passing Wednesday. “It is with great sadness that we note the passing this morning of long-time legendary MAD artist Jack Davis,” the magazine said in a statement. “Jack was one of the founding members of MAD Magazine’s ‘Usual Gang of Idiots.’ An enormously gifted and versatile artist, Davis’ work appeared in the very first issue of MAD and virtually every issue over the next four decades.”

MAD editor John Ficarro remembered Davis as someone who could do it all. “There wasn’t anything Jack couldn’t do,” Ficarro said. “Front covers, caricatures, sports scenes, monsters — his comedic range was just incredible. His ability to put energy and motion into his drawings, his use of cross-hatching and brush work, and his bold use of color made him truly one of the greats.”

Sam Viviano, MAD art director, said of the late cartoonist, “More than any one piece, it was Jack’s immediately recognizable style that revolutionized comic illustration. There is not a humorous illustrator in the past 50 years who hasn’t been influenced by him.”

Before Davis became an illustrator, he had served in the U.S. Navy. After his military service, he did artwork for a Coca-Cola training manual. In the 50s, Davis worked for EC Comics, where he churned out a number of shorts. By the mid-1960s, Davis was at MAD, where he stayed for four decades and the rest of his career.

In 1996, Davis was honored with the National Cartoonist Society’s Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award. He received the NCA’s Reuben Award in 2000 and was inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 2003.

Davis is survived by his wife, Dena.

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