Since I’m on the road with a bunch of cartoonists this week, it seems appropriate to tell you about a great patriot and Navy veteran, Jack Davis.
You may not know his name, but there’s no doubt you have seen his art. Jack is famous in cartooning circles – he’s as big a name in his world as Frank Sinatra was in his. He is the Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods of pen and ink.
His resume is incredible. He was inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2003, The Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame in 2005, and received the prestigious Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996. In 2000 he was awarded the Reuben Award, the cartoon world’s highest honor.
You have seen his work in many different venues – in comic books, magazine covers, advertising illustrations (the list of clients reads like a Fortune 500 table of contents), and was there at the very beginning with MAD Magazine. It was during his MAD years that Jack’s art became known to most of us. His ability to combine the accuracy of Norman Rockwell with a flare for humorous caricature made him famous and inspired a generation of young artists.
But it is his philanthropy that has touched me the most. An unblinking patriot, Jack has donated art to many military organizations, refusing to take a dime for his efforts. His illustrations of Uncle Sam have been distributed to wounded soldiers at Brooke Army Medical Center, Walter Reed and Bethesda and at VA hospitals around the country – he signed each one individually.
Six months ago, to honor the recommissioning of USS GEORGIA (SSGN 729), he drew a beautiful cartoon that captured the spirit of the event (he’s also a University of Georgia alum). It was featured on the cover of the ceremony’s program and now hangs proudly on board GEORGIA.
Jack had planned to come with us to Walter Reed, Bethesda and Landstuhl, but some health concerns prevented him from going. When I talked to him a few weeks ago, in typical Jack Davis humility he apologized, told me how disappointed he was, then asked me what we needed from him – anything at all.
Jack, there’s no need. We’re sorry you couldn’t make this trip, but there will be others. And besides, you have done your part already – not only by serving in WWII, but also by putting smiles on the faces of our troops with your magnificent art.
You’re our hero of the week, Jack.