In Memoriam: Art Wetherell

Comic artist Art Wetherell

Comic artist Art Wetherell

We’re sorry to report that talented artist Art Wetherell died on Christmas Day 2003, of a perforated stomach ulcer. He had many friends in the UK comic fraternity, and beyond, and will be much missed.

Art’s credits include The Searchers for US publisher Caliber, many strips for Marvel UK, including Transformers, Star Wars for Dark Horse and many adult comics.

The opening page of "Incognito", a creator-owned story for Marvel UK's STRIP written by Paul Buck with art Art Wetherell for STRIP #1, published in 1990

The opening page of “Incognito”, a creator-owned story for Marvel UK’s STRIP written by Paul Buck with art Art Wetherell for STRIP #1, published in 1990

Writing for the website of Norway’s Raptus Festival, Arild Wærness reminisced about the artist.

“I remember meeting him for the first time, at Bristol in 2000,” he recalls. “Frode and I had just completed our very first Raptus presentation of the Norwegian comics life. Outside the sweaty hall, we were met by two earnest guys, Dave Windett and Art. They told us their main excuse to visit Bristol that year was to meet up with us (as representatives of the Norwegian comics industry).

“We were very impressed with this show of respect, of course, and during the rest of the weekend we spent considerable time together with the two. I was especially thrilled to meet the artist behind one of my favourite comics series of the mid-Nineties; The Searchers. Frode started running up plans for their visit to Raptus in the autumn, and it was decided that Art would take top billing due to his background in Dark Horse/Star Wars strips. Thus, Art Wetherell shared the poster with Mort Walker at Raptus 2000!

“At Raptus, Art performed in fine form, entertaining and informing the Norwegian public in a quiet, self-effacing way about his work, pencils and inking. Bringing with him his family, he gave as much time as possible to the crowds, making sketches for young kids and old.”

Harrier Comics Deathwatch #1 - CEPG Revival Issue

Art from Harrier Comics Deathwatch #1

Art from Harrier Comics Deathwatch #1

Art began his career drawing for Harrier Comics in the early 1980s, then moving to Marvel UK to pencil strips for weekly titles such as The Real Ghostbusters, Transformers and Thundercats, and also worked on the US format Death’s Head.

He worked for 2000AD in the 1990s and on licensed comics such as  Power Rangers, as well as fairytale stories such as “Sleeping Beauty”for the children’s comic Blue Moon.

For Dark Horse he worked on Jabba the Hutt and other Star Wars titles for Dark Horse and Negative Burn and The Searchers for Caliber, the latter written by Colin Clayton bringing together descendants of some of the greatest adventurers in literature from some of the great classics such as Journey to Centre of the Earth, 20,000 League under the Sea, The Invisible Man and The Time Machine.

A page of Art Wetherell's work for Negative Burn, published by Caliber, inked by Bambos Georgiou. "I used the opportunity to try 'embellishing' and went with a more European approach," said Bambos of his inks in 2017, "a bit Moebius-ish, but in some places it just comes across a bit Basil Wolverton (as usual). I always loved working on Art's pencils and tried to promote him at Marvel UK but really didn't get anywhere."

A page of Art Wetherell’s work for Negative Burn, published by Caliber, inked by Bambos Georgiou. “I used the opportunity to try ’embellishing’ and went with a more European approach,” said Bambos of his inks in 2017, “a bit Moebius-ish, but in some places it just comes across a bit Basil Wolverton (as usual). I always loved working on Art’s pencils and tried to promote him at Marvel UK but really didn’t get anywhere.”

The Searchers Volume One - Cover

Jabba the Hutt by Art Wetherell, inked by Bambos Georgiou, for the UKCAC book, 1995. With thanks to Reuben Wilmott

Jabba the Hutt by Art Wetherell, inked by Bambos Georgiou, for the UKCAC book, 1995. With thanks to Reuben Wilmott

Two pages from Star Wars: Jabba the Hutt, pencils by Art Wetherell. Via ComicArtFans

Two pages from Star Wars: Jabba the Hutt, pencils by Art Wetherell. Via ComicArtFans

He was also one of the first artists published by Fantagraphics as part of its Eros Comix line, creating such titles as 2 Hot Girls on a Hot Summer Night, Sizzling Sisters and Treasure Chests).

Warrior Nun Brigantia, written by Kevin Gunstone, art by Art Wetherell

Warrior Nun Brigantia, written by Kevin Gunstone, art by Art Wetherell

In 2000, he drew Warrior Nun Brigantia, written by Kevin Gunstone, one of the many spin-off “Warrior Nun” projects based on the Warrior Nun Areala universe created by Ben Dunn for Antarctic Press.

WEB LINKS

Comic Vine: Art Wetherell

Comic World News (Wayback Archive): A Tribute to Art Wetherell by Tim Perkins 

Lambiek: Art Wetherell

Marvel UK Projects That Might Have Been: Glam Metal Detectives

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This tribute was updated on 4th June 2019 to add web links. We apologise if you have received this archive item in error in 2019 through social media posts or the site newsletter as a result of this updating

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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