Lest We Forget: Comic Creators We Lost in 2016

While there’s been much to celebrate in 2016 when it comes to our industry, we couldn’t let the year pass without noting some of those involved now sadly no longer with us, including one of our very own contributors. So raise a glass or two (alcoholic or otherwise) to these fine folk we lost this year…

January 2016

The only known surviving 'Misty' art by Shirley Bellwood, restored by artist David Roach. It was discovered being used as a cutting board.
The only known surviving ‘Misty’ art by Shirley Bellwood, restored by artist David Roach. It was discovered being used as a cutting board.

Shirley Bellwood

British comics artist and illustrator, best known for her work on girls comics such as Misty.

• Read our obituary

Bernard Cookson

British cartoonist, regular contributor to Punch magazine and script writer with MAC to Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise.

• Official web site: http://cooksonscartoons.com

Linus Maurer

US cartoonist, illustrator and puzzle designer who worked as the editorial cartoonist for the Sonoma Index-Tribune, a California newspaper, for more than 25 years and was Charles M. Schultz’s inspiration for the name of his Peanuts character, Linus Van Pelt.

Read his obituary on the Sonoma Index-Tribune web site

Hansrudi Wäscher

Swiss comics artist who wrote and drew for Germans comics.

Official site: hansrudiwaescher.de (in German)

February 2016

Jack Elrod

US  cartoonist, best known for his work on the strip Mark Trail, originally crated by Ed Dodd

• Here’s a link to his obituary at the National Cartoonists Society

John Caldwell

Nationally syndicated US comic strip artist and cartoonist, primarily known for his work in National Lampoon and Mad, where he was a member of “The Usual Gang of Idiots.”

• Here’s a link to his obituary on legacy.com

• Official web site: www.caldwellcartoons.com

Angel Gabriele

Sometimes credited as Pat Gabriele or Pasquale D. Gabriel, Angel Gabriele was a US comic book artist and publisher, best known for the comic book adaptation of the Space Giants, and a professional wrestling manager and promoter, renowned for his role as the Dark Angel.

Yannis Kalaitzis

Greek cartoonist and caricaturist,  known for his many editorial cartoons in various Greek daily newspapers across several decades.

Tony Luke and his beloved cat, Misty, earlier this year. Photo: Kevin Jon Davies.
Tony Luke and his beloved cat, Misty, earlier this year. Photo: Kevin Jon Davies.

Tony Luke

British comic creator, animator and illustrator, creator of Dominator and artist on numerous British comics.

• Read our obituary

March 2016

Commando #1, published in June 1961. Art by Ken Barr
Commando #1, published in June 1961. Art by Ken Barr

Ken Barr

British artist, perhaps best known to downthetubes readers for his Commando covers, but was an innovative artist whose covers for publishers such as Marvel and a wide variety of book publishers are highly regarded, making him one of the most beloved and collected comic artists.

Read our obituary

Scot Goodall and fellow comics writer Angus Allan in 1985.
Scott Goodall and fellow comics writer Angus Allan in 1985.

Scott Goodall MBE

British comics writer, whose many credits included the World War Two incarnation of “Charley’s War”, “Janus Stark” and “Fishboy”

Read our obituary

Paul Ryan

US comic artist  whose credits include Fantastic Four, Superman and The Phantom.

Read a tribute on the web site In My Not So Humble Opinion | Marvel remembers Paul Ryan

April 2016

Jok Richard Church

US cartoonist who created the Universal Press Syndicate syndicated comic strip “You Can With Beakman and Jax”, later adapted into the TV series Beakman’s World. At the peak of its popularity in the 1990s, it was seen in nearly 90 countries around the world.

He created the comic strip in 1991 for his local newspaper in Marin County, California, inspired by a stint answering kids’ letters for Lucasfilm. It was the first ever syndicated newspaper comic drawn and distributed by computer, a Macintosh SE.

• Official site: http://makemagic.org

Gallieno Ferri

An Italian comic book artist and illustrator, who co-created and the comic book Zagor with the writer Sergio Bonelli.

Read his entry on Lambiek

Paul Fung Jr.

A US cartoonist who drew the Blondie comic book for 40 years, the son of Paul Fung, a cartoonist who drew the comic strip Dumb Dora for several years.

William Hamilton

An American cartoonist and playwright most closely associated with the magazine The New Yorker. Hamilton was noted for his wit and irony and for presenting his characters, most often examples of modern, affluent types, with distinctive “ski-jump” noses noted for a peculiar shape that has become a sort of unofficial trademark.

Hamilton’s interest in cartooning was sparked by stacks of European magazines found in a house he inherited from an uncle.

SF Gate: Remembering Willie Hamilton

René Hausman

Belgian comic-book writer and artist, best known for his dark fairytales and watercolour drawings.

Dick Hodgins, Jr.

US cartoonist whose work included illustration, comic strips, and political cartoons. Hodgins worked full-time preparing and renovating the end-product art of Dik Browne’s popular comic strip “Hagar the Horrible” and continued to create editorial cartoons for several Connecticut newspapers along with the occasional advertising assignment.

Toms (V.T. Thomas)

Hailing from from Kerala, India “Toms” created the cartoon characters Boban and Molly.

Read his obituary in the Indian Express

May 2016

Franklyn Bruce aka “Frank” Modell

A US cartoonist who contributed over 1400 cartoons to The New Yorker during a period of over 50 years from 1946.

Read the New Yorker tribute

Darwyn Cooke
Darwyn Cooke

Darwyn Cooke

Canadian Eisner Award-winning comic book writer, artist, cartoonist, and animator, known for his work on the comic books CatwomanDC: The New FrontierThe Spirit, and Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter.

Read our tribute

Mell Lazarus

US cartoonist, best known as the creator of two comic strips, Miss Peach (1957–2002) and Momma (1970–2016). For his comic strip Pauline McPeril (a 1966-69 collaboration with Jack Rickard), he used the pseudonym Fulton, which is also the name of a character in his first novel, The Boss Is Crazy, Too.

Gil Page. Photo courtesy Alison Bonner
Gil Page. Photo courtesy Alison Bonner

Gil Page

Gil Page, an editorial stalwart of Amalgamated Press, Fleetway, IPC and latterly Egmont, as that company’s Managing Editor, remembered fondly for his affable nature and globe trotting by colleagues. But he was also a tremendous help to many fans  keen to know more about the history of British comics, including Steve Holland, Roy of the Rovers archivist Mark Towers, Ian Wheeler, who edited Eagle Flies Again, and Hibernia Comics’ David McDonald.

Read our tribute

Stewart Perkins, Bristol 2004. Photo courtesy PJ Holden
Stewart Perkins, Bristol 2004. Photo courtesy PJ Holden

Stewart Perkins (WR Logan)

 An unsung hero of British comics – and particularly 2000AD

Read Richmond Clements’ tribute

Stephen Prestwood
Stephen Prestwood

Stephen Prestwood

The British small press lost one of its most hardworking and consistent artists in May.

Read Owen Watts’ tribute

Maurice Sinet

French political cartoonist known professionally as Siné, his work noted for its anti-capitalism, anti-clericalism, anti-colonialism, anti-semitism, and anarchism.

Read his entry on Lambiek

George Wildman

US cartoonist most noted for his work in the comic books industry. From 1971 until 1985 he was a top editor at Charlton Comics, where he also became the long-time regular artist on Popeye comic books.

June 2016

Derek Pierson in the Eagle in 1966
Derek Pierson in the Eagle in 1966

Derek Pierson

British comics designer and letterer.

Read our obituary

July 2016

Geneviève Castrée Elverum

Canadian cartoonist, illustrator, and musician from Quebec who once recorded under the name Woelv and later switched to Ô PAON.

• Official site: www.opaon.ca

Janine “Nine” Culliford

Belgian colourist of comic strips who came up with the idea for the Smurfs being blue, created by her husband Peyo (the pseudonym of Pierre Culliford, who died in 1992). She coloured his illustrations up until his death.

After the death of her husband, she continued to colour the comic strips produced by the studio founded by her son Thierry, continues his father’s work.

Read a tribute on SudInfo.be (in French)

A young Jack Davis. Image: Jack Davis Foundation
A young Jack Davis. Image: Jack Davis Foundation

John Burton “Jack” Davis, Jr.

US cartoonist and illustrator, known for his advertising art, magazine covers, film posters, record album art and numerous comic book stories. He was one of the founding cartoonists for Mad in 1952.

Read our news item on tributes paid to Jack Davis here

Bristow by Frank Dickens
Bristow by Frank Dickens

Frank William Huline-Dickens

British cartoonist, best known for his award-winning strip “Bristow”, which ran for 51 years in the Evening Standard and was syndicated internationally.

The Guinness World Records notes “Bristow” was the longest running daily cartoon strip by a single author.

Official Frank Dickens web site

Lothar Dräger

A German comic writer.

Howard Shaw McCutcheon

US editorial cartoonist.

Read a tribute in The Spokesman-Review

Charles Sahar Murray, Alan Mitchell and Alan Moore. Photo: Mitch Jenkins (Used with his kind permission)
Charles Shaar Murray, Alan Mitchell and Alan Moore. Photo: Mitch Jenkins (Used with his kind permission)

Alan Mitchell

Perhaps best known for co-writing “Third World War” with Pat Mills for Crisis, Alan’s death at just 55 came as a tremendous shock to both family and friends. He was an inspirational mentor to many young comic creators.

Read our obituary

Víctor Mora

A Spanish comic book writer who created and wrote the series Capitán Trueno, El Jabato and Dani Futuro, drawn by Carlos Giménez) and El Cosaco Verde and El Corsario de Hierro, Chroniques de l’innomé Collection Pilote, drawn by Luis García.

Carlos Nine

Argentinian cartoonist, painter, and sculptor.

Official site: http://www.carlosnine.com | Tribute

Roger Perry 2015
Roger Perry in 2015

Roger Perry

Comics designer and comics archivist, and a contributor to both downthetubes and Eagle Times.

Read our obituary

Richard Church Thompson

US illustrator and cartoonist best known for his syndicated comic strip Cul de Sac and the illustrated poem “Make the Pie Higher”. He was given the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year for 2010.

• Official blog: richardspooralmanac.blogspot

August 2016

Gaspar Saladino

An American letterer and logo designer who worked for more than 60 years in the comic book industry, mostly for DC Comics. Eventually Saladino went by one name, “Gaspar,” which he wrote in his trademark calligraphy.

From 1966 to the 1990s he lettered many of the logos, titles, captions and balloons on DC Comics covers. and was also “page-one letterer” for many Marvel Comics books in the 1970s.

Letterer Todd Klein pays tribute here

September 2016

Thierry “Ted” Benoit

A French comics artist, graphic novelist and prominent figure in the stylish Franco-Belgian ligne claire comics scene in the 1980s. whose works include Bingo Bongo et son Combo Congolais, a series about aspiring novelist Bingo B. Bongo and his travails; and Ray Banana, a film noir pastiche. Some of these were published in English in Heavy Metal.

Benoit illustrated two books in the Blake and Mortimer series, both written by Jean Van Hamme: The Francis Blake Affair, in 1996; and The Strange Encounter, in 2001.

Read his entry on Lambiek

Wilf Hardy from “Hardy’s Drawing Board” column header in Look and Learn

Wilfred “Wilf” Hardy

British artist whose paintings appeared in 1950s Eagle Annuals as well as aviation magazines and airshow brochures but who is best known in comics circles for his many contributions to Look and Learn and Speed and Power magazines.

Wilf Hardy illustrations in the Look And Learn History Picture Library.

October 2016

Jack Thomas Chick

US American cartoonist and publisher, best known for his evangelical fundamentalist Christian “Chick tracts”, which presented his controversial perspective on a variety of issues through sequential-art morality plays.

He accused Roman Catholics, Freemasons, Muslims, Jews and many other groups of murder and conspiracies and his comics have been described by Robert Ito, in Los Angeles magazine, as “equal parts hate literature and fire-and-brimstone sermonising”.

Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, about 15 years ago. Photo courtesy Garth Ennis
Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, about 15 years ago. Photo courtesy Garth Ennis

Steve Dillon

A gifted and much-loved British comic artist, a renowned talent rightfully described by Jamie McElvie as “a true legend of comics“, perhaps best known internationally for his run on DC Comics Hellblazer and as co-creator of Preacher, both published by Vertigo Comics, but for British fans captured the hearts of many with his work on Hulk Weekly and Doctor Who Weekly in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Read Garth Ennis’ tribute to Steve | Read our obituary

Gary Reed

US comic book writer, and the publisher of Caliber Comics, an independent comic book company that released 1300 titles in the 1990s and published early work by many popular creators.

Reed wrote over 200 comics and graphic novels, sometimes under assumed names (including Kyle Garrett, Brent Truax, and Randall Thayer). He was also Vice President of McFarlane Toys when the company launched in 1993. His comics writing credits include Saint Germaine, Baker Street and Deadworld. In addition to comics, Reed wrote a role-playing game for Palladium and wrote some of the storyline scenarios for Final Fight: Streetwise for Capcom.

Robert Maxwell Weber

US cartoonist, known for over 1400 cartoons that appeared in The New Yorker from 1962 to 2007. He worked as a fashion illustrator for Harper’s Bazaar and other magazines before becoming a cartoonist.

New Yorker obituary

November 2016

Martin Aitchison

British artist for Eagle, drawing “Luck of the Legion”, and Ladybird Books illustrator.

Read our obituary

Jerry Dumas

A US cartoonist, best known for his Sam and Silo comic strip and his work on Beetle Bailey. Dumas was also a writer and essayist, and a columnist for Greenwich Time who reached millions of readers through his adept observations of the foibles and flaws of human nature.

• Read his obituary on Greenwich Time here

Veteran British comic artist John Gillatt with writer and editor Barrie Tomlinson, January 2014. Photo courtesy Barrie Tomlinson
Veteran British comic artist John Gillatt with writer and editor Barrie Tomlinson, January 2014. Photo courtesy Barrie Tomlinson

John Gillatt

British comic artist,” Johnny Cougar”, “Billy’s Boots” and “Dan Dare”.

• Read Tiger editor Barrie Tomlinson’s tribute

Marc Sleen

One of Belgium’s most highly-regarded and best-known cartoonists, known for his comic The Adventures of Nero and Co., but who also created gag comics like Piet Fluwijn en Bolleke, De Lustige Kapoentjes, Doris Dobbel, Oktaaf Keunink and De Ronde van Frankrijk.

Read his entry on the comicspedia Lambiek here

December 2016

Peter van Straaten

A Dutch cartoonist and comics artist best known for his political cartoons as well as his satirical observations of everyday people. He also had a newspaper comic strip Vader & Zoon, which ran in Het Parool for almost two decades.

• Official site: petervanstraaten.nl (in Dutch)

I Am Not There

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn’s rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.

Sources: downthetubes, Lambiek, Wikipedia

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a “freelance comics operative”, currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY.

John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor.

He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY.

Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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