Sunday, August 02, 2020

Number 2444: Jack’s Yaks

Jack Davis is credited for both writing and drawing Yak Yak, a short-lived (two issues) humor comic book from Dell. Davis had learned some things from Harvey Kurtzman, not to mention other humor magazines and publishers he had worked for. I like Yak Yak, but cannot say it is great, not like his work in Mad comics or Humbug. The artwork in Yak Yak looks rushed, and, like all humor and satire magazines, some of the jokes just fall flat. Still, I like it because I like Jack Davis. And it has beatnik jokes.

The comic I am showing is Yak Yak #2 (1962), also known as Dell Four Color #1348. The sixties were when Jack Davis came into his own, and when he was hired to do movie posters and record album covers it changed the trajectory of his career. Davis went back to Mad magazine at some point, and for several years you could also see his familiar cartooning on the covers of magazines like TV Guide and Time. Davis was also the type of cartoonist who inspired other cartoonists, and sometimes I would be looking at an ad or poster done by another artist and think, "Hey, the guy draws Jack Davis feet." A few artists during the era of horror comics could do very good impersonations of Jack Davis’ style. It’s considered swiping, but I think of it as homage.


flash said...

Boy, I remember buying this comic off the rack at Greenvilles Deli on my way home from school! Having seen MAD comics at my cousins house the Jack Davis cover jumped right out at me! I juggled my schoolbooks and read it as I walked the rest of the way home. Not quite as outrageous as the color MADs were it still tickled the old funny bone! Thanks for posting a great memory!

Daniel [] said...

Back in þe olden Dayes when I was actively collecting comic books, I would see copies of Yak Yak advertised, but your post is my first exposure to the content.

While Elder was the classic partner for Kurtzman, I see Kurtzman's influence more strongly upon Davis's work. I'm curious about what if anything Davis said of those artists who imitated his style, especially Howard Nostrand. (I've read that Wood praised Nostrand's ability to capture a style, as opposed merely to swiping.)

The television mash-up makes oblique reference to Krushchev's desire, when he toured America, to visit Disneyland. US authorities did not allow him to do so, because of the difficulty of ensuring his personal safety.

Manqueman said...

You know, maybe it's a reflection on me, but there was a point in time when I was young and dumber than I am now that I saw EC-era Davis in some of Herb Trimpe's early full art. Haven't seen the latter in decades, so don't know that I'd agree with young me, but there you go.

Pappy said...

Daniel, there were several artists who swiped Jack Davis's style. And even at EC it was said that Johnny Craig wanted to draw like Davis. When I go back to the early ECs featuring the early, raw talent of Davis, it reminds me that at some point (like in Yak Yak) his drawings seemed more like his early work.

Of the artists who tried to look like Davis, I think Nostrand was the best at it, and he did a decent Wallace Wood, also.In one story, "Ivan's Woe Nostrand incorporated both of them.

Pappy said...

Hey flash, you are welcome. Your description of you walking home reading a comic book sounds like a page out of my elementary school days. Thanks for the note.