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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Comics Legend – Jim Davis


His art is seen everywhere, yet few know his name. His career spanned the early days of the Disney Studios, the wild '60's animation of Robert Crumb's Fritz the Cat, and the subtle, silent humor of The Pink Panther. Yet when recognized at all, Jim Davis is usually mistaken for the guy that draws Garfield in comic strips.

Jim Davis is not that, and much more.

At the very least, he was at two of the right places at the same time. He was animating Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and then Superman, (for Fleischer) when comic books were coming of age.

Having no comic book writers and artists themselves, some publishers were then supplied with stories by other companies called "shops". Shops created work for several publishers simultaneously. Davis was on the spot.

Without dropping his brush at Fleischer, or Warner Brothers, Davis began acting as an agent for moonlighting animators and drawing some material himself for the B.W. Sangor Shop, which eventually became The American Comics Group.

He and his animators drew exclusively for young children, most often using "funny animals" as their foils for fun.

Only three publishers, Pines, National and ACG, featured Davis' art, produced for these companies through the Sangor Shop. His credits include The Fox and The Crow, Flippity & Flop, Tito and His Burrito, Hound and The Hare and Witch Hazel.

These were published in titles including Ha Ha and Giggle Comics (ACG). As the California agent for B.W. Sangor, he is also indirectly responsible for dozens of additional features including SuperKatt and The Duke and The Dope.

His animation work also plays on millions of television sets and VCR's worldwide every day. Of the dozens of features he helped animate, his favorite was The Pink Panther.

Jim Davis' work is highly recommended.

Some older titles are expensive and difficult to locate. Price guides or comics dealers help. Comics shops, conventions, mail order companies and trade journals are the best sources. Prices vary; shop around.

Michael Vance

(Originally posted in 1998 at Starland.com.)