Every year, Cracked takes a few minutes to look back and reflect on the lives of the recently deceased whose deaths didn't necessarily make headlines, despite the fact that they each changed your life in some small way. So let's take a moment to remember ...
13February 12 -- Cracked Royalty
John Severin, one of the fathers of the original Cracked magazine, way back in the day.
From being 90.
You're reading it. John Severin was one of the original creators of MAD Magazine, then helped launch Cracked, the granddaddy of the website you're reading right now. He continued as the lead artist there for 45 freaking years.
Born in 1921, Severin started selling comics at the age of 10 to The Hobo News -- a publication for, by, and about hobos. Hobos had their shit together back then. Severin went on to draw and ink for Marvel and EC Comics, and he gained a reputation as a stickler for historical detail. By the time Cracked the magazine was up and rolling, Severin was their go-to guy for covers and parodies, and he also invented their Alfred E. Neumanesque mascot, Sylvester P. Smythe. Among his last projects was reimagining the Rawhide Kid as a gay gunslinger -- that's what the guy was drawing in his 80s.
12February 19 -- Pinball (Creating) Wizard
Steve Kordek, inventor of pinball machines as you know them.
Natural causes: The dude was 100. (High score! MULTI-BALLLLLLLL!)
One of the great innovations in gaming history would have never happened if it hadn't been for a fateful rainstorm in Chicago. Twenty-six-year-old Steve Kordek was walking around without an umbrella during a downpour and decided, "Fuck this" (paraphrased). He slipped into Genco, a pinball machine manufacturing company, to escape the wet. Because it was 1937, the assumption was that everyone was unemployed, so the receptionist asked Kordek if he was looking for a job. He wasn't, but hey! Why not!
Back in those days, pinball players were forced to literally shake the entire game table to manipulate the ball into the cup or the hole, kind of like when you're God and you play that game where you pick which humans fall into earthquake cracks. Steve Kordek is the guy who said "What?!" and introduced two simple flippers positioned at the end that would let a person, you know, play pinball.