It breaks my heart to know that Jack Davis, last of the EC Comics legends, is gone.
Though our personal interactions were few, they will always be held among my most cherished memories. Jack Davis was THE cartoonist of the 20th century, and even until the end, he remained a consummate professional and southern gentleman. The last time I called a few months back, his wife had told me he may not be up to a conversation because he wasn't feeling well. He happily took my call and though I could tell from his speech he'd recently had a stroke, he didn't rush me off the line and invited me to stay in touch. The few phone conversations we had fundamentally changed my entire outlook on cartooning and life in general.
Mr Davis is the single most influential and inspirational figure to me as an artist. When i was a little kid, probably no more than 4 or 5 years old, he was the first artist i could recognize by style alone from his work in MAD Magazine. He left an indelible mark upon me before i was even old enough to read, let alone understand what was happening in my psyche. Last year, I did my first work for MAD, which was a Davis homage mock "Tales From The Crypt" cover. A lifetime of obsessing over his lines and stealing all my best moves from him had still not prepared me for attempting to enter his headspace as a craftsman, and the entire exercise profoundly deepened my appreciation for what he had done.
While tonight I mourn the loss of perhaps the greatest talent cartooning has ever known, I personally celebrate the depth and magnitude of his work every day.