Arts & CultureBlogCulture Briefs

11 Days of Christmas: RIP Jack Davis, a Damn Good Dawg

Photo Credit: Jack Davis

As the Flagpole staff takes a much-needed break over the holidays, we’re reposting 11 of our most popular, most important, funniest and/or otherwise noteworthy stories of this most dismal of years. Look for a new post each day through Jan. 2.

Illustrator Jack Davis—a UGA graduate renowned for his satirical cartoons in Mad magazine as well as his popular Georgia Bulldog-themed drawings—died July 27 at the age of 91. From Arts Editor Jessica Smith’s obituary:

Davis contributed to the first 30 issues of Mad, returning in the mid-’60s to contribute long-term over several decades. In addition to portraits of the publication’s grinning mascot, Alfred E. Neuman, his popular parodies included characters from Raiders of the Lost Ark,Gone With the Wind and The Lone Ranger. His cartoons became well-loved for their rare element of controlled chaos, full of motion, bold colors and larger-than-life personalities. 

Many Athenians—particularly football fans—were introduced to Davis through his depictions of the Georgia Bulldogs, which frequently starred Uga brawling with opposing team mascots or celebrating victories. He produced hundreds of images for the athletics department over the years, and his caricatures have become ingrained into the visual culture of UGA football. 

Davis is extraordinary in the way that his seemingly separate bodies of work, each supported by its own loyal following, are ultimately able to bridge gaps between the distinct audiences they attract. His Bulldog caricatures are silly and charming enough to make any football anti-fan reconsider her love for the game, and his action-packed illustrations—whether spooky or comedic—are alluring enough to catch the eye of anyone unaware of the beauty in comics.