Comic artist/colorist Justin Ponsor, whose work graced the pages of comics for Marvel, CrossGen, Image Comics, DC Comics and others over the years, died this past weekend after a long fight with cancer. Ponsor was 42 and shared the details of his medical battles (and a lot of humor) over the last few years on his “Blarg.”
Ponsor began his career in the mid-1990s at Wildstorm, working on titles like Danger Girl, Divine Right and WildCATS. In the early 2000s he went to work on CrossGen’s titles, including Scion and Sojourn. In 2004 he started working for both DC and Marvel, the latter where he’d spend the majority of his career, working on titles like Ultimate X-Men, Gambit, Phoenix: Endsong and Young Avengers, among many others. He touched probably every major Marvel character over the course of his career, working on interiors as well as covers.
The news of Ponsor’s passing was revealed on his Facebook page:
In recent years Ponsor often collaborated with writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Dave Marquez on comics like Defenders and Spider-Men. Marquez was one of the first creators to discuss the death of his friend on Twitter last night.
Brian Michael Bendis also shared an image of the three of them together:
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My friend and brilliant collaborator Justin Ponsor passed away this weekend. Here is a picture of the last time @marquezcomicart Justin and I got together. This was here in Portland last July. He had come to visit after his first scare. We had both looked into the abyss around the same time and got to share that very surreal deep experience. Also, As I said when he was alive and during the entire press junket of #spiderverse. I think Justin is a brilliant colorist- one of the greatest of all time. A storyteller. A comic book cinematographer in the best possible sense. Most of the best comics I have ever made have had his name on them. Not only that but we worked together for yeeeeeeeears and never had even a moment of disrespect or chaos. It was just a lovely creative experience. the kind that can really spoil people. He was deeply proud of miles morales and his contributions to everything we did. I know this for a fact. When @marquezcomicart and I release our next project, do know that Justin was supposed to be part of it. I will be posting a celebration of his work in another thread. I just wanted to celebrate the man and the energy he brought to his art
Marvel Comics also released a statement on his passing: “Justin Ponsor was one of the most brilliant colorists in the comic book industry, elevating every story he worked on to new heights with his heart, humor, and passion for art. He touched the lives of countless comic book writers, artists, industry professionals, and fans, and his inspirational talent will never be forgotten. The Marvel family has lost one of our own. Our hearts are with his family and loved ones.” You can see more tributes from fans and those he worked with on Twitter.
Our condolences go out to his family and the many friends and co-workers he worked with over the years. One thing he noted in his blog posts about his disease was how the Hero Initiative helped him during his battle with cancer:
Jim McLauchlin was one of the first on the phone after the news broke widely. He and HERO have checked in on me regularly and provided me with invaluable support to weather the many ups and downs of my situation. To my colleagues: this organization is a legitimate support system for us. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them and don’t be afraid to donate to them. They put out a simple mission and carry it out very effectively.
You can find more information or make a donation to the Hero Initiative at their website.