Doom boxart artist dies of heart attack

Doom boxart artist dies of heart attack

Don Ivan Punchatz, the artist behind the art on the original Doom packaging, has died of cardiac arrest.

Don Ivan Punchatz, the artist who helped id Software launch Doom to a greatness by designing the artwork on the box and promotional materials, has died of cardiac arrest.

Don, who also provided art for publications such as Playboy, National Geographic, TIME and National Lampoon, suffered a cardiac arrest on October 11 and did not regain consciousness.

After nearly two weeks of intensive tests, doctors concluded that there was no chance of recovery and no brain activity, advising the family to remove him from life support, aged 73.

"He never wanted to be kept alive like this," Greg Punchatz, Don's son, said to SpectrumFantasticArt, "so we are respecting his wishes."

Don's work was best known to gamers for his efforts on the Doom packaging - the iconic image of the space marine shooting down into the hellish hordes - but that was only a small part of his work. His styles varied hugely between photo-realism and surrealism and he was affectionately known as 'The Godfather of Dallas Illustration' for his work in founding Sketch Pad Studios, which helped launch other artists to greatness.

Testaments to Don's ability were left by a number of notable figures, including author Ray Bradbury, who one wrote the following passage about him.

"[Don's] ability to touch men with acrylic and melt them into beasts, or touch beasts with oil and ink – and: voila! they are senators or brokers – is endlessly stunning. Metaphor, after all, is the universal language. [Punchatz] could teach at Berlitz!

Pass on your thoughts in the forums.


Discuss in the forums Reply
Krikkit 30th October 2009, 11:07 Quote
Very sad. The Doom cover, especially, is one of the classic pieces of video game art imo.
Tyrmot 30th October 2009, 11:25 Quote
Definitely. One of the most iconic images in gaming.
proxess 30th October 2009, 11:27 Quote
xaser04 30th October 2009, 11:39 Quote
RIP Don.
M7ck 30th October 2009, 11:40 Quote

The original Doom cover was brilliant, a little scary.

I have very fond memories of that game.
yakyb 30th October 2009, 11:50 Quote
i have that image framed on my wall in my office im glad i know who was the artist now

something that will remain Loved as an iconic piece of history for a long long time
Jack_Pepsi 30th October 2009, 12:22 Quote
Arrrgh, weeak!

Gunsmith 30th October 2009, 12:24 Quote
damn shame :(
Sutters 30th October 2009, 12:39 Quote
Awesome artwork and very fond memories of anything Doom related :-)

chrisdj 30th October 2009, 13:59 Quote
BTW cardiac arrest != heart attack. Both might involve the heart but they are two totally different conditions. Still sorry he is gone, as the doom box was an artwork...

[ZiiP] NaloaC 30th October 2009, 14:00 Quote
Doom-Guy stands proud in the halls of gaming history.

ChaosDefinesOrder 30th October 2009, 14:15 Quote
Originally Posted by chrisdj
BTW cardiac arrest != heart attack. Both might involve the heart but they are two totally different conditions. Still sorry he is gone, as the doom box was an artwork...


From what I understand, cardiac arrest is when the the heart goes into fibrilation. This is usually but not always caused by a myocardial infarction, most commonly known as a heart attack. It's like saying AIDS and HIV are the same thing, when it's actually the latter that causes the former. Correct me if I'm wrong obviously!

anyway, back on topic, it's always a shame when iconic names pass away. Cover art used to be such a special part of game design back before internet reviews and forums, the design on the cover was usually the first thing people ever saw about the game!
chrisdj 30th October 2009, 14:31 Quote
Ya thats what I am trying to say chaos... michael jacksons death was widely reported as a heart attack, when in really he was in arrest (suspected due to a propofol overdose... ie an anaesthetic agaent). Heart attacks (a blockage of coronary arteries... due to emboli or arteriosclerosis... will result in myocardial infarction) results in a cardiac arrest, but cardiac arrest has other causes as well. As we are all into computers here, logic should prevail... and thats why I am anal about this matter. I do not blame the author for this mistake, many people have made the same...

And about the design..... when I played doom as shareware back in the 90s, I always thought I was standing on a pile of evil scumm.... nowadays art is kept for in game and pre hype not for the box.... uhmm what box???
Nature 30th October 2009, 14:59 Quote
johnnyboy700 30th October 2009, 15:33 Quote
RIP, the artwork was iconic.
Star*Dagger 30th October 2009, 17:44 Quote
Don was not only a great artist but he helped 100s of artists directly to become professional artists.
I will miss him.

Yours in Artistic Plasma,
sotu1 30th October 2009, 19:39 Quote
RIP Don, Doom is one hell of a legacy to leave behind. I have a big copy on my wall! I guess we'll never know why there's a second marine in the background...
cybergenics 31st October 2009, 00:25 Quote
Don't like to be nit picky, but I personally think using the word 'efforts' is not really appropriate when the end result was obviously as great as it was. I think using the word 'work' where you used 'efforts' would be much more respectable.
docodine 1st November 2009, 06:48 Quote
I love how he left out a bit of the chest plate so Doom Guy's abs could show.

Rest in peace, bro.
thehippoz 1st November 2009, 23:05 Quote
ask any filipino.. it's a heart attack!
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.

Discuss in the forums