Paul Coker Jr., character and production designer on the timeless Rankin/Bass holiday specials and long-time Mad magazine artist, died at his home in New Mexico on July 23, 2022 after a brief illness. He was 93.
Coker was raised in Lawrence, Kansas, and studied art at the University of Kansas before taking a job as a greeting card designer for Hallmark in the 1950s. His relationship with the company spanned decades as he continued to provide artwork for cards while working on other projects.
During his career Coker worked for Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Pageant, Look, McCall’s, and was an editorial cartoonist for the New York Enquirer. He also contributed to Playboy, but spent most of his career illustrating for Mad magazine, which he joined in 1961. There he became one of The Usual Gang of Idiots, a group of artists who defined the look, feel, and humor of the magazine for years.