Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Paul Coker, Jr. 1929 - 2022


Mad Magazine contributor, Rankin-Bass animation studio designer and advertising illustrator Paul Coker, Jr. passed away on July 23, 2022. He died in his home after a brief illness.

Via MSN:

Coker was born and raised in Kansas in 1929. He went to and graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in drawing and painting, and then got a job as a greeting cards designer for Hallmark. In 1961, he began illustrating for the magazine Mad, and he went on to illustrate over 375 articles while there. He also did freelance work for other publications, including Esquire, Look, Good Housekeeping, and Playboy. Coker's work with Rankin/Bass began with an uncredited involvement in The Wacky World of Mother Goose in 1967. He then contributed as either a character designer or production designer to films like Frosty the Snowman, Jack Frost, Rudolph's Shiny New Year, and The Easter Bunny Is Comin' to Town, eventually ending with Santa, Baby! in 2001. His final onscreen work was done for the pilot of the 2002 series Whatever Happened to... Robot Jones?.


Via DailyCartoonist:

Coker started off as an designer of greeting cards for Hallmark in the 1950s and 1960s, often in collaboration with writer Phil Hahn. He worked for Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Pageant, Look, McCall’s and became an editorial cartoonist for the New York Enquirer in 1957. Coker also contributed to Hugh Hefner’s Playboy, where he created both erotic cartoons as well as parodies of other comics.

 More about Coker's greeting card career here


He joined Mad Magazine's "Usual Gang of Idiots" in 1961 and was best known for the "Horrifying Cliches" series, written by collaborator Phil Hahn. This is where I saw his instantly distinctive clean yet jerky coffee-nerves pen line.

Paul Coker, Jr.'s art for a 1967 Travelodge magazine ad.


Paul Coker Draws 89 YEARS IN A SAND TRAP by Fred Beck
Part 2: Paul Coker Draws 89 YEARS IN A SAND TRAP by Fred Beck




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