13 SPLASH PAGES: A JACK DAVIS Birthday Celebration

A MAD salute to one of the greats…


The late Jack Davis (born 98 years ago on Dec. 2, 1924) was one of the grand masters of comedy cartooning. It’s true that he was acknowledged for his serious horror and war stories for various EC comics, but nowhere was he better than when he was drawing for Mad, both the original color comics and the later black-and-white magazine.

It was Davis’ stint on Mad that led the way to his great career doing comical art for many movie posters (such as It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World), TV Guide covers, and advertising work.

Presented below are 13 spectacular splash pages, in chronological order, from his amazing time on the Mad comic book (with all scripts by Harvey Kurtzman):

Mad #2 (Dec. 1952-Jan. 1953)

Mad #3 (Feb.-Mar. 1953)

Mad #5 (June-July 1953). Satire of two shows, Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons and Martin Kane, Private Eye.

Mad #6 (Aug.-Sept. 1953)

Mad #8 (Dec. 1953-Jan. 1954)

6 Mad #9 (Feb.-Mar. 1954). Hilarious send-up of the movie High Noon (1952) with Gary Cooper.

Mad #12 (June 1954). The Mark Trail comic strip started in 1946.

Mad #14 (Aug. 1954). Take-off on the 1952 TV series, The Continental.

Mad #15 (Sept. 1954). A proper skewering of one of TV’s earliest kids’ shows, Captain Video and His Video Rangers.

Mad #17 (Nov. 1954). A staple of TV for decades, What’s My Line? had four celebrity contestants guess the occupations of guests.

Mad #18 (Dec. 1954)

Mad #19 (Jan. 1955)

Mad #23 (May 1955). Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardner starred in the drama, The Barefoot Contessa (1954).


— DR. J, JACK DAVIS and the Greatest Basketball Comic Ever. Click here.

— 13 Great NEAL ADAMS ‘BEN CASEY’ STRIPS: A 60th Anniversary Celebration. Click here.

PETER BOSCH’s first book, American TV Comic Books: 1940s-1980s – From the Small Screen to the Printed Pagehas just been published by TwoMorrows. He has written articles and conducted celebrity interviews for various magazines and newspapers. Peter lives in Hollywood.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Wait, The SNL sketch with Walken was based on a bit from Mad?

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    • No, the SNL sketch (which was hilarious) was based on the 1950s TV show, which the Mad satire was also based on.

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  2. It’s so fascinating to see the way the Mad artists were influencing each other in the early days–Kane Keen land Supermarkets seem to have such a Will Elder influence and Captain TVideo is so “Woodian”. Great stuff all around!

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    • The Elder influence may be because the Sturdley family were previously in MAD #16 in the Elder-drawn “Restaurants.”

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  3. I keep forgetting Jack Davis was a regular artist even in the 50’s; His work is so synonymous with the 1970’s in my eyes, due to crossing over with movie posters, comic ads, and his CONTINUED output for Mad Magazine!

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  4. “You who love the feel of the squooshing cow pasture!” Oh, LOL! Thanks for these!

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