As we move into the new year, we take a moment to remember the comic writers, artists and editors we lost in 2022.
Comic writer and former DC editor Brian Augustyn passed away in early 2022 after a sudden and severe stroke. The longtime DC editor was known for his work on Action Comics Weekly, Justice League, The Flash and the Impact Comics line. He also wrote many titles, including Gotham by Gaslight and its sequel, Out There, Crimson and many more.
Prolific artist, editor and comics advocate Neal Adams passed away in April at the age of 80, due to complications from sepsis. Over the course of his career, Adams brought his revolutionary art style, renderings, faces and figures to the pages of Batman, X-Men, Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Superman vs. Muhammad Ali, Avengers and countless others. His work with Denny O’Neil on Batman and later Green Lantern/Green Arrow in the 1970s helped push comics storytelling into a new era, where the emphasis on super humans was as much on the “human” aspect as the “super.”
Adams was also known for his activities off the comics page, as he tried to form a union for creators in the late 1970s and advocated for companies to return original art to the artists, which helped create a secondary revenue stream for artists that has grown into its own industry today. He was a champion for creators like Jack Kirby in this regard, and also helped Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster get the credit they deserved for creating the iconic hero.
Legendary artist and Eisner Hall of Fame member George Pérez passed away in May at the age of 67 from Stage 3 Pancreatic Cancer. Pérez revealed his heartbreaking diagnosis in 2021 and took every opportunity over his last few months to connect with fans of his work.
Over the course of his long and prolific career, Pérez brought his distinctive art style to Inhumans, Luke Cage, Logan’s Run, Monsters Unleashed, What If?, Marvel Two-In-One, Avengers, New Teen Titans, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Justice League of America, Wonder Woman, Action Comics, Adventures of Superman, Deathstroke the Terminator, History of the DC Universe, Secret Origins, Hulk: Future Imperfect and many more.
Colorist Dijjo Lima, whose work included X Deaths of Wolverine, Devil’s Reign: Omega, Amazing Spider-Man and many other titles, passed away in May. He was 34 when he died.
Fantasy artist Ken Kelly, whose art appeared on rock albums, book covers, magazines, video games and comics, passed away in June at the age of 76. Comic fans in the 1970s would know his work from the covers of The Spirit, Vampirella and Creepy, and in the 1990s for some of the Star Wars titles when Dark Horse held the license.
Tim Sale, the Eisner-award winning artist of Batman: The Long Halloween, Superman for All Season, Spider-Man: Blue and Catwoman: When In Rome, passed away in June at the age of 66 from kidney failure. Known for his collaborations with writer Jeph Loeb, the duo worked on iconic miniseries featuring Batman, Superman, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Hulk and Captain America.
Simon Deitch, the underground cartoonist whose work appeared in East Village Other, Gothic Blimp Works, Tales of Sex and Death, Skull Comics and Thrilling Murder Comics, also passed away in June from kidney failure.
Manga artist Kazuki Takahashi, who created Yu-Gi-Oh and worked on the Secret Reverse manga for Viz and Marvel, was found dead after an apparent snorkeling accident in Okinawa Prefecture, according to the Japan Times.
Former Wizard Magazine Editor-In-Chief and co-founder Pat McCallum passed away in July. In addition to his work on the long-running comics magazine and price guide in the 1990s and 2000s, he was an Executive Editor for DC Comics from 2011 to 2019.
Alan Grant, the longtime writer of Judge Dredd, passed away in July at the age of 73. Grant was known for writing comics on both sides of the Atlantic throughout the 1980s and 1990s, with his American work mostly staying concentrated at DC. During that time he wrote Lobo, The Demon, L.E.G.I.O.N., Strontium Dog, Batman: Shadow of the Bat, Mazeworld, Psychonuats and Batman crossovers with Daredevil and Spawn.
Artist Paul Coker Jr., whose credits include MAD Magazine and the Rankin/Bass TV specials like Frosty the Snowman and The Year Without a Santa Claus, passed away in July at the age of 93. Coker joined the “Usual Gang of Idiots” staff in 1961 and contributed to the magazine for four decades, including the “Horrifying Clichés” series.
Film and television producer Ron Zimmerman, who had a brief career writing comics for Marvel, passed away in July from cancer at the age of 64. Zimmerman’s credits include Spider-Man: Get Kraven, Rawhide Kid and Ultimate Adventures.
Tom Palmer, the incredible artist known for his work on Avengers, Doctor Strange, Star Wars, Tomb of Dracula and more, passed away in August at the age of 81. While Palmer’s first work in comics was penciling an issue of Doctor Strange back in 1968, he’s best known as an inker, mainly for Marvel comics throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Over the course of his career, he worked with John Buscema, Jim Steranko, John Romita Jr., Tom Grummett, Gene Colan, Neal Adams, Wally Wood and many more.
Lily Renée, who worked as a penciller and inker on titles for Fiction House and St. Johns Publications back in the 1940s and 1950s, passed away in August at the age of 101. Renée was among the many women who began drawing comics when male artists were drafted into fighting World War II. She worked on “Jane Martin,” which was about a female pilot working in the male-dominated aviation industry, as well as on “The Werewolf Hunter,” “The Lost World” and “Señorita Rio,” as well as on comics featuring Abbott & Costello and Borden’s mascot Elsie the Cow.
Drew Ford, the publisher for It’s Alive, passed away in October from COVID-related pneumonia. After working for Dover Publications and Marvel Comics, Ford started It’s Alive in 2016, dedicating his efforts to collecting out-of-print comic books by Sam Glanzman, Trina Robbins, Tom Veitch and Bryan Talbot, Rich Hedden, Tom McWeeney and more.
Artist Kim Jung Gi, who worked on manhwa like Tiger the Long Tail and drew covers for Marvel and DC, passed away from a heart attack in October as he prepared to travel to the New York Comic Con. Jung Gi drew Funny Funny, Spy Games, Third Humanity and McCurry, NYC, 9/11, in addition to numerous published sketchbooks. In the U.S., he drew covers for Wonder Woman, Civil War II, Motherlands, Hit Girl, Fire Power and the Batman/Fortnite crossover, among many others.
Danny Bulanadi, who inked many DC and Marvel titles over his long career, passed away at the age of 76 in November. Bulanadi’s credits include D.P. 7, Quasar and Fantastic Four in the 1980s and 1990s, paired with his frequent collaborator Paul Ryan. Bulanadi also worked on titles like Captain America, Blue Beetle, Avengers West Coast and Marvel’s Transformers title, among many others. In recent years, he was working with Kingstone Comics on a graphic novel adaptation of The Bible.
Kevin O’Neill, known for his work on the earliest issues of 2000AD as well as for being declared objectionable by the Comics Code Authority for his entire art style, passed away in November. O’Neill’s impact included the co-creation of several comics, including Nemesis the Warlock and Marshal Law, both with writer Pat Mills, as well as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with Alan Moore. He’s won multiple Eisner and Harvey awards, as well as an Eagle Award and a Bram Stoker award.
Carlos Pacheco, the artist of Arrowsmith, Avengers Forever, X-Men Legacy, Fantastic Four and so many other titles, passed away at the age of 60 in November. Pacheco revealed earlier this year that he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, commonly known Lou Gehrig’s disease. Pacheco’s career started in Europe, working on titles for Planeta-DeAgostini Comics and Marvel UK before transitioning to the U.S. market, where he drew titles like Bishop, The Flash, X-Universe, Starjammers, Excalibur and more.
Aline Kominsky–Crumb, a pioneer in underground autobiographical comics, passed away in November at the age of 74 from pancreatic cancer. Kominsky–Crumb was a member of the Wimmen’s Comix underground collective in San Francisco, but after a falling out, she and Diane Noomin began publishing Twisted Sisters. She also served as the editor of Weirdo from 1986 to 1993.
Archie Comics artist Tim Kennedy, who collaborated artistically with his twin brother Pat, passed away in December. The Kennedy brothers began working for Archie in the late 1980s and have been regular contributors ever since, drawing classic Archie stories as well as projects like the popular Life With Archie, which showed two alternate takes on Archie marrying Betty and Veronica.