Rest in peace, John Paul Leon

The artist of ‘Static,’ ‘The Winter Men,’ ‘Earth X’ and many other comics projects passed away at the age of 49.

Multiple sources are reporting that artist John Paul Leon, whose work included Static, The Winter Men, Earth X, Batman: Creature of the Night and the upcoming Batman/Catwoman Special, has passed away. He was 49 when he died.

According to a press release from his family, Leon had battled cancer for 14 years. He is survived by his wife, his daughter and an older brother. Artist Tommy Lee Edwards has set up a Gofundme page in honor of Leon, with proceeds to go to Leon’s daughter’s future education.

DC Black Label editor Chris Conroy shared the news on Twitter. “It seems the news is out. Last night we lost John Paul Leon, one of the greatest draftsmen in the history of comics, the kind of artist that EVERY artist revered,” Conroy wrote. “Those who loved him had some warning, but not enough.”

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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.

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Looking Back | In Memory 2020

As we move into the new year, here is a look at some of the creators and editors who passed away in 2020.

We continue our series that looks back at the biggest news trends of 2020. Watch for more posts all this week.

In a year of losses, the passing of so many talented creators and editors hit especially hard. Here is a look at some of the comics people who passed away in 2020.

Ron Rogers, alongside a self-portrait (Courtesy of the Rogers Family)

Political cartoonist Ron Rogers died on January 20 at the age of 65. When he became the editorial cartoonist at the South Bend Tribune in the 2000s, he was generally regarded as the first Black editorial cartoonist at a daily newspaper. He was also the staff cartoonist for the Augusta Chronicle. Born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1954, Rogers started his cartooning career as a freelancer for The Richmond Afro-American and Planet in 1980.

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Rest in peace, Richard Corben

The award-winning artist whose work appeared in ‘Heavy Metal,’ ‘Hellboy,’ ‘Creepy’ and other publications, passed away Dec. 2.

Richard Corben, the award-winning artist whose work spanned from the underground comics of the 1970s to mainstream work in the 2000s, passed away on Dec. 2. following heart surgery. He was 80 years old.

Corben’s wife, Dona, shared the news on the Corben Studios Facebook page.

“Richard was very appreciative of the love for his art that was shown by you, his fans,” she wrote. “Your support over the decades meant a great deal to him. He tried to repay your support by working diligently on each piece of art going out to you. Although Richard has left us, his work will live on and his memory will live always in our hearts.”

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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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