Synopses & Reviews
Jack Davis arrived on the illustration scene in the euphoric post-war America of the late 1940s when consumer society was booming and the work force identified with commercial images that reflected this underlying sense of confidence and American bravado. Advertising agencies were looking for new ways to tap a rich and expanding market, and there was a vast array of media that needed illustrations. Davis' animated and exuberant images possessed a sense of spontaneous energy that proved to have universal appeal in every medium he worked in. Beginning with his masterful pen and ink cartooning at EC Comics, he quickly forged a reputation as one of the most versatile artists in comics, drawing humor, horror, and war stories. In Harvey kurtzman's , especially, Davis made a mark as a master of caricature, composition, and wild, anarchic crowd scenes, practically vibrating with energy. After stints at , and -- three humor magazines that defined the satirical zeitgeist of the '50s -- Davis went on to become the most successful commercial illustrator of his generation, illustrating movie posters, magazine articles, magazine fiction, LP jackets, and more. is a gigantic, unparalleled career-spanning retrospective, between whose hard covers resides the greatest collection -- in terms of both quantity and quality -- of Jack Davis' work ever assembled! It includes work from every stage of his long and varied career, such as: excerpts of satirical drawings from his college humor 'zine, ; examples of his comics work from EC, , and obscure work he did for other companies in the 1950s such as Dell; movie posters including , Woody Allen's , and others; LP jacket art for such musicians and bands as Hans Conreid and the Creature Orchestra's Monster Rally, Spike Jones and Ben Cooler; cartoons and illustrations from , and many others; unpublished illustrations and drawings Davis did as self-promotional pieces, proposed comic strips that never sold (such as his Civil War epic "Beaureagard"), finished drawings for unrealized magazine projects -- and even illustrations unearthed in the Davis archives that the artist himself can't identify! Much of the material will be scanned directly from original art, showing the painterly brush strokes and black and white pen work with far greater fidelity than any previous reproduction ever has. Many paintings and illustrations are accompanied by preliminary drawings that demonstrate the evolution of Davis' drawing process.
"The only real problem with this beautifully produced book is that it's much, much too short.... The art reproduces gorgeously... and the volume as a whole is an effort to give Davis the respect he deserves as a legitimate artist." Hillary Brown
"This giant gift-book portfolio of Davis' work reflects the high standard of design and archival presentation that is Fantagraphics' specialty... and it affords readers a panoramic view of the evolution and contributions of one of this country's most recognizable and influential cartoonists." Paste
"The Davis book... fill[s]... 200 pages with full-sized examples of the half-cartoony/half-photographic approach that Davis brought to magazine and countless movie posters. [It] offer[s] ample visual evidence of how [Davis] found the 'art' in commercial art, turning work-for-hire assignments into opportunities to express [his] particular vision... of the world." Casey Burchby SF Weekly
"Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture - A Career Retrospective is a wonderful tribute to the prolific artist... An amazing lifetime of work." Noel Murray The A.V. Club
" is a wonderful tribute to the prolific artist... An amazing lifetime of work." Paste
The first comprehensive collection of a national artistic treasure.
About the Author
One of America's most beloved and best known illustrators, Jack Davis was born in December 2, 1924 in Atlanta, Georgia, and still makes his home in the area.