Friday, July 29, 2016
Number 1942: Jack Davis’s lucky Lucky Star
Wikipedia gives a brief synopsis of artist Jack Davis’s early career with this: “In 1949, he illustrated a Coca-Cola training manual, a job that gave him enough cash to buy a car and drive to New York. Attending the Art Students League of New York, he found work with the Herald Tribune Syndicate as an inker on Leslie Charteris’s The Saint comic strip, drawn by Mike Roy in 1949–50. His own humor strip, Beauregard, with gags in a Civil War setting, was carried briefly by the McClure Syndicate. After rejections from several comic book publishers, he began freelancing for William Gaines’ EC Comics in 1950.”
Wikipedia doesn’t mention the work Davis did on the Lucky Star comic book, probably because it is obscure. As is explained in the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, the comic was a giveaway for the Lucky Star Western Wear line. Lucky Star is listed as being published by Nation-Wide Publishing Company, has a 5¢ price on the cover. It is small, measuring 5 inches by 7.25 inches. This is another of those comic books I have seen only in digital form, and they were provided to the Internet by James Vadeboncoeur Jr and scanner rangerhouse. (I have provided the obsessive-compulsive brighening and clean-up.)
Despite the hurried look to the artwork, a look at Davis’s early work shows what quickly developed at EC Comics as his mature style. The figures in action, the distinctive inking style. Davis once said he emulated Bill Mauldin’s Willie and Joe cartoons of World War II. Despite his influences Davis quickly became the influential one, imitated by several other comic book artists. Davis went on to become a highly sought after commercial artist whose distinctive style became known to the world through movie posters, magazine covers, and Mad. Jack retired a couple of years ago and was living in his home state of Georgia when he died.
From Lucky Star #2 (1950):