Rest in peace, Joltin’ Joe Sinnott

The legendary Marvel inker/artist passes away at the age of 93.

Joe Sinnott, the inker whose work helped define much of Marvel’s line from the 1960s into the 1980s, passed away this week, as reported by his family on Facebook.

“It with great sorrow that we must announce the passing of Joltin’ Joe Sinnott on June 25th at 8:40am at the age of 93,” the Facebook post says. “He went peacefully with the knowledge that his family, friends, and fans adored him. He enjoyed life and was drawing up until the end. He always loved hearing from all of you and having your comments read to him. Each and every one of you were special to him.”

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Denny O’Neil passes away at 81

The prolific writer, editor and teacher died from natural causes June 11.

Writer, editor and teacher Denny O’Neil has passed away at the age of 81. According to Newsarama, O’Neil died of natural causes in his home last night.

O’Neil was one of the most prolific writers of Batman, having written more than 200 issues featuring the character. His work appeared in Batman, Detective Comics and Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight. In the 1970s, he was credited with bringing Batman back to his darker roots, following the campy Batman TV show of the 1960s. He co-created Ra’s al Ghul, Talia al Ghul, Leslie Thompkins and Azrael, and also edited the Batman titles from 1986 through 2000.

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Rest in peace, Martin Pasko

After a career that spanned comics, TV and animation, the writer/editor passed away at 65.

Martin “Marty” Pasko, a writer and editor whose career span decades, has passed away at the age of 65, multiple sources have reported, including his friends and colleagues Paul Levitz and Mark Evanier.

During his long career, Pasko worked in many creative and editorial capacities, with much of his career spent in the comics industry and animation. His love for comics, though, started before that, as a fan and frequent contributor to letter columns.

“Marty connected with comics originally as a letterhack, with Julie Schwartz pinning the label ‘Pesky’ Pasko on him,” Levitz said on Facebook. “Whether commenting on the latest comic he read, the events of the day in politics, creative theory, or just making conversation, Marty had one of the sharpest wits of our generation, and opinions…oy, did he have opinions. I learned from him, learned by arguing with him, and took joy in ample helpings with the hamburgers or Chinese food we shared over the decades.”

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Rest in peace, Richard Sala

The prolific creator of ‘Delphine,’ ‘Cat Burglar Black’ and ‘Invisible Hands’ was 61 when he died.

Fantagraphics has shared the sad news that Richard Sala, creator of Delphine, The Grave Robber’s Daughter, Cat Burglar Black and Violenzia, has passed away at the age of 61. No cause of death was mentioned.

Sala’s work spans several decades, as he published his first comic, Night Drive, in 1984, and just a few weeks ago he announced a new webcomic, Carlotta Havoc vs. Everybody. In between, he combined his love of comics and monsters into a career that saw him published in anthologies like RAW and Blab!, create his own comics and graphic novels, and appear on MTV’s Liquid Television program, in a segment called Invisible Hands.

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Comics Lowdown: Chinese government upset by Danish coronavirus cartoon

Plus: Changes at Kodansha, Cullen Bunn goes ‘Rogue’ and whatever happened to Lion Man?

Editorial Cartoons: A cartoon in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, depicting the Chinese flag with the stars replaced by coronaviruses, has, predictably, angered the Chinese government. (Jyllands-Posten is the same paper whose cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad caused an uproar in 2005.) The Chinese Embassy in Copenhagen has demanded an apology, but Jyllands-Posten editor Jacob Nybroe has refused, and the Danish prime minister is backing him up.

The Biz: Restructuring at Kodansha USA means a promotion for Alvin Lu, previously the general manager of Kodansha Advance Media. Publishers Weekly reports that Kodansha’s subsidiaries, including its digital arm Kodansha Advanced Media and the manga and novel publisher Vertical Inc., will be folded into Kodansha USA. Lu will be the CEO, and Ivan Salazar, former public relations and events specialist at ComiXology, has been hired as senior marketing director.

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Tom Spurgeon, RIP

Comics has lost its greatest champion and best friend.

It’s a wonderful thing to be able to say of a person that they left the world a better place than they found it. 

Tom Spurgeon did that. He did it with journalism, and he did it with humanity. He left us this week at the untimely age of 50, but he has indeed left us, the readers and lovers of comics, better off than we were when he first arrived.

His site, The Comics Reporter, has been an essential read for anyone interested in comics since he launched it in 2004. It covers the world of comics with incredible breadth, from  corporate superheroes to tiny indy comics, corporations to creators, manga to BD to what-have-you. For the past 15 years, it has been the essential portal to the comics internet. Much of it was simply links, but Tom published original content as well, including lengthy, Rolling Stone-style interviews and Bart Beaty’s annual reports from the Angouleme Comics Festival.

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Comics Lowdown: Outhungering ‘Hunger Games’

Brian Fies reflects on going through the California fires a second time, Jamal Igle shows how he draws a cover, J. Caleb Mozzocco explains War Bears.

Passings: Coila Davis, longtime editorial cartoonist for the Rockford (Illinois) Register Star, has died at the age of 72.

Freedom of Expression: The nonfiction comics blog Cartoon Movement notes that they are currently blocked in China, Iran, Russia, and Turkey.

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R.I.P. Bill Schelly

Alex Dueben remembers Bill Schelly, who passed away last week from multiple myeloma.

Bill Schelly passed away last week from multiple myeloma. Schelly discovered comics fandom in 1964 and shortly after launched his own fanzines, where he wrote and drew. The most notable was Sense of Wonder. Schelly went on to be one of the great writers about comics. He was also one of the chroniclers of fandom in a series of books including The Golden Age of Comic Fandom and in his column for Alter Ego.

I interviewed Schelly in 2018 and we spent much of the conversation discussing his book Sense of Wonder. Schelly originally published the book in 2001 discussing his youth in comics fandom, but in 2018 published Sense of Wonder, My Life in Comic Fandom–The Whole Story. The new edition of the book was significantly longer, covering decades more than the original edition had, but more than that, Schelly wrote about being gay, about living in the closet and coming out, about the queerness of fandom back in the day. He wrote about his family and the death of son at a very young age. It was, in many respects, his best book.

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Rest in peace, Justin Ponsor

The 42-year-old colorist died of cancer this past weekend.

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:

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