Doom boxart artist dies of heart attack

Written by Joe Martin

October 30, 2009 // 11 a.m.

Tags: #art #artist #box #don-ivan-punchatz #doom #doom-boxart-artist-dies-of-heart-attack #id-software #retro

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!

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