Rest in Peace, Steve Lightle

The comics creator who worked on Legion of Super-Heroes, Classic X-Men, Doom Patrol and more passed away from heart failure today.

Steve Lightle, an artist whose work appeared in Doom Patrol, Legion of Super-Heroes, Marvel Comics Presents and Classic X-Men, passed away this morning. He was 61.

His son, Matthew, posted on Lightle’s Facebook page that his father died of a cardiac arrest. His wife, colorist Marianne Lightle, followed that with a heartbreaking post where she said Lightle had tested positive for COVID, which led to heart failure.

Lightle was born in Kansas in 1959. His first published work was for AC Comics, in an issue of Black Diamond in 1984. A few months later, his first work for DC Comics appeared in New Talent Showcase #4-6, featuring a character named Ekko written by Rich Margopoulos.

Lightle would draw a couple of fill-in issues for DC after that, for Batman and the Outsider and World’s Finest, before being asked to draw Legion of Super-Heroes.

Lightle took over drawing the title from Keith Giffen, who would remain as co-writer, with Paul Levitz. He drew the title from 1984 to 1986, and would remain as cover artist through 1988. In 1987, he drew the first five issues of the Doom Patrol revival, which he worked on with writer Paul Kupperberg.

In the early 1990s, Lightle was working mainly for Marvel, creating stories for the anthology series Marvel Comics Presents. He often drew and inked, and sometimes wrote, his stories, while his wife colored them. They featured Wolverine, Ghost Rider, Typhoid Mary, Steel Raven and a team called New Genix, among others. He also worked on comics like Quasar, Excalibur and X-Factor.

But probably his best-known and most visible work at Marvel was working on covers, both for Marvel Comics Presents and for Classic X-Men, a reprint title that also included new stories related to the reprint. This allowed him to draw images related to some of the most classic X-Men stories ever:

He was also the cover artist for The Flash, during the late 1990s/Mark Waid era of the title:

Although he stopped working regularly in the mainstream comics industry around 2000, he did return to the Legion during the New 52 era, to work once again with Levitz. He also formed his own company, Lunatick Press, where he created stories featuring his own characters. In recent years he used Patreon to share comics featuring some of them. You can see many of them by scrolling through his Twitter feed. You can also see more of his art on his Comic Art Fans site.

Many in the comics industry responded to news of his death:

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