Carlos Pacheco, the artist of Arrowsmith, Avengers Forever, X-Men Legacy, Fantastic Four and so many other titles, has passed away at the age of 60.
Rumors of his death began circulation on social media this morning, but those rumors proved to be premature, according to his Arrowsmith collaborator Kurt Busiek. Since then, Spanish newspapers, as well as creators and Pacheco’s publishers, have reported that Pacheco has passed away.
Earlier this year the artist had announced a sabbatical from comics after suffering paralysis in his right leg and undergoing spinal surgery. He later revealed he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, commonly known Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, and has no known cure.
Pacheco was born in San Roque, Spain in 1961. He broke into the comics business drawing covers, posters and pin-ups for Spanish-translated editions of various Marvel comics for Planeta-DeAgostini Comics, an imprint of pan-European publisher Planeta De Agostini. He eventually began working on comic stories for the publisher, co-creating two teams of heroes — Iberia Inc. and Tríada Vértice — with Rafael Marín.
His work caught the eye of Marvel UK, who hired him to draw the four-issue miniseries Dark Guard. The team book, written by Dan Abnett, brought together several Marvel UK superheroes, including Killpower, Motormouth, Albion and Death’s Head. From there, Pacheco would go on to work on American comics, drawing a Bishop miniseries in 1994 written by John Ostrander as well as issues of The Flash written by Mark Waid.
By 1995 Pacheco’s distinctive, clean yet energetic artwork was really taking hold with Marvel fans, especially in a post-Image world where many of Marvel’s top talent had jumped ship to start their own publishing house. Pacheco was part of a wave of artists who showed they had the chops to keep Marvel’s books looking sharp — while also bringing his own unique style to American comics. His work would appeared in X-Universe, Starjammers, Excalibur and Fantastic Four over the next few years, before taking over X-Men in 1997.
But it was in 1997 that Pacheco first worked with two other creators he’d go on to work with on some of his best and well-known projects. Pacheco teamed up with writer Kurt Busiek and inker Jesus Merino on the maxi-series Avengers Forever, which brought together Avengers from various places in time by Rick Jones.
Merino would work with Pacheco on several projects over the years, including the graphic novel JLA/JSA: Virtue & Vice and issues of Batman/Superman, among other projects. They also worked with Busiek on a creator-owned series at Wildstorm, Arrowsmith, which imagined a world where magic was real and World War I was fought with magical creatures like dragons, trolls and vampires.
The series was a creative high point for both Pacheco and Busiek, and they’d revisit it in Arrowsmith: Behind Enemy Lines, a new miniseries release earlier this year. Unfortunately it seems that could be one of the last times we’ll see his interior artwork.
Pacheco tweeted in September that his work on the cover of Damage Control #2 would be his “last piece:”
Several of his peers and colleagues have taken to social media to remember Pacheco:
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