Paul Coker Jr., a prolific illustrator and character designer identified for his do the job on Mad Magazine and the legendary stop-movement and animated Rankin/Bass holiday getaway specials, has handed away at the age of 93. The information was broken on Friday by way of a affirmation from his stepdaughter, Lee Smithson Burd, who revealed that he died adhering to a temporary illness at his house in Santa Fe, New Mexico on Saturday, July 23rd. In a assertion, Smithson Burd reported that “Paul was lucid and experienced his exceptional feeling of humor until the finish.”
Born on March 5, 1929 in Lawrence, Kansas, Coker researched portray and drawing at the University of Kansas, in the long run signing up for Hallmark as a greeting card designer in the 1950s. His very first drawing with Mad arrived in 1961, and he went on to illustrate in excess of 375 content articles for the iconic humor magazine, including film and television parodies of assignments like Star Trek, Jurassic Park, Tornado, Frasier, Sabrina: Teenage Witch and Caroline In The Metropolis. Coker also freelanced for publications this kind of as Esquire, Fantastic Housekeeping, and Playboy, contributing a NSFW parody of the Peanuts comic strip to the latter magazine.
On the animation aspect, Coker’s perform with Rankin/Bass commenced with an uncredited involvement in The Wacky Environment of Mother Goose in 1967, He later on contributed as both a character designer or generation designer to initiatives these types of as Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is Comin’ to City, The Yr Without a Santa Claus, Frosty’s Wintertime Wonderland, and Jack Frost. He helped build many beloved character layouts for the studio, together with Snow Miser and Heat Miser, and Kris Kringle.
Coker’s ultimate onscreen get the job done provided the 2001 film Santa, Child!, as well as the pilot of the 2002 series No matter what Occurred to… Robot Jones?.
Coker is survived by Rosemary Smithson, his spouse of 33 yrs, as nicely as his stepdaughters Lee Smithson Burd and Carol Burd.
Our ideas are with Coker’s family, mates, and supporters at this time.