A few weeks ago I wrote a short article about the great Jack Davis on the eve of this receiving yet another award for his brilliant work and career. This one came from the Comic Art Professional Society, and part of the festivities included the presentation of a book made up of tribute drawings for Jack by admiring and grateful cartoonists, myself included. A week or so after the event I received a booklet entitled “Jack Davis: A CAPS Tribute” in the mail which must have served as the evening’s program. Among other contents it had a terrific article/bio of Jack by long-time MAD editor Nick Meglin and prints of the afore mentioned Jack tribute art. There was a lot of them, many by some of the biggest names in the business. Looking at the drawings and art, and what the artists were trying to say, you could tell no one was paying lip service to the honoring of Jack. Every one was a heartfelt “thanks” for what his work and career has meant to generations of cartoonists. It was a testimonial to Jack as the kind of artist that is both rare and cherished… a true innovator, genius and master of his art form.
Yesterday I received another piece of mail that is a testimonial to the other side of Jack Davis… one that could be argued as being as important to his regard in the eyes of Cartoon Nation as his “Art Side” is. That side is “Jack Davis the Person”. In a hand addressed envelope was this:
Jack is 82 years old. He has done enough brilliant drawings in his life to fill a commercial truck trailer, and is in semi-retirement. Nobody on the planet would expect a thank you note for doing a little doodle for his book. Yet Jack took the time to make a thank you “card”, personalized each one (the red parts are hand done on a printed drawing) and no doubt sent one to every artist who did a drawing for that book who’s address he could get. I would guess that means everyone, as I am sure his wife Dena called CAPS president Chad Frye and got a list of addresses from him.
That’s just the way Jack is. Selfless, humble and honestly unable to understand what the fuss is all about. As Nick said in the closing of his article on Jack in that booklet: “If there was a Hall of Fame for decent, warm, and generous people in the world, Jack Davis would be enshrined there as well.”
Truer words were never written.
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