Jack Davis Hangs Up His Pencil

December 16th, 2014 | Posted in MAD Magazine

Jack Davis!

WIRED online reported today that the great Jack Davis, who turned 90 years old earlier this month, has announced he’s retiring from producing work. Jack has slowed down considerably from the days when you basically could not open a magazine, look at a movie poster or see an ad anywhere without it featuring his art, but he has still been doing work for clients like the University of Georgia, various golf and sports magazines and the like recently. Jack claims his work is no longer up to his standards:

It’s not that the iconic 90-year-old cartoonist can’t draw anymore…he just can’t meet his own standards. “I’m not satisfied with the work,” Davis says by phone from his rural Georgia home. “I can still draw, but I just can’t draw like I used to.”

Jack did a fantastic drawing of Batman for the NCS Comic Con T-shirt just this past summer, and it looks like a classic Jack Davis to me. However when you draw at a level like Jack Davis does (i.e. better than just about anyone, ever) maybe you have to be Jack Davis to see your work slipping. Regardless, Jack owes the world nothing since he’s given us so much already. Still, that world seems a little poorer place knowing Jack isn’t picking up his pencil down there in Georgia working his magic. Fortunately for us he was one of the most prolific illustrators ever, and his body of work will continue to entertain and inspire us forever.

So, happy retirement, Jack! Thanks for sharing your incredible talents with the world!


  1. jailerjoe says:

    Sensational run, Mr. Davis…congratulations!

  2. sHASHI says:

    Mr. Jack, I loved your work, your fingers need little rest, but come back soon – cheers

  3. Billy says:

    This makes me sad. I LOVE Jack Davis’ work. When did Jack stop drawing for Mad?

    • King Jack says:

      Jack Davis’ last year as a MAD regular was 1996. By that time, Gaines had died, the MAD Trips that Davis loved had ceased, and some of the magazine’s humor was getting too saucy for Davis’ taste. He’s drawn almost nothing for MAD since then.

  4. Jack Myhervold says:

    Thanks for passing this along. I got out the book of his art to look at some of the great movies posters etc. I am also sorry Mort is apparently not doing work now either. Just moments ago, I see the first page of original b+w Jack Rickard gouache art from Ebay arrived. The second should come soon. 18 3/8 by 24 1/4. The board is a little thinner than yours. Issue #182. I would like to see his work in a book one day too.

  5. alex says:

    Man I grew up with that guy! I love Jack Davis art!

    Retire in Peace, Mr. Davis!

  6. He deserves to do what he want’s. Mr. Davis has more than earned it. Sad to hear the news, but maybe you can still do for yourself. No pressure, no expectations. Just for your own pleasure. Happy retirement Mister Davis.

  7. He created an entire world with his work- what a great legacy he has. Happy Retirement, Jack!

  8. jeff weust says:

    That’s how I learned to draw, from reading Mad Magazine and loving Jack Davis’s artwork.


I am close to adding a second caricature workshop in January in Orlando. Details here: http://www.tomrichmond.com/2016/10/21/second-orlando-workshop/

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