In Memoriam: Honoring Those We Lost in 2016
Comics can live forever, but the great talents that make them are mortal like the rest of us. We at ComicsAlliance would like to take a moment to salute and remember those creators that the comics community lost in 2016. You work was loved, and you are remembered.
Alvin Buenaventura passed away on February 13, 2016. He was the editor and publisher of Buenaventura Press and Pigeon Press, small press comics publishers dedicated to independent and underground comics. He also acted as a consultant on several projects such as The Art of Daniel Clowes. At the time of his passing, he was 39 years old.
Jack Elrod passed away on February 16, 2016. He was best known as an artist on Mark Trail, the classic comic strip about conservation, the environment, and the animal kingdom. Elrod was an assistant on the strip as early as 1950, and took over in 1978 when strip creator Ed Dodd’s eyesight began to fail. He was 91 years old.
Paul Ryan passed away on March 7, 2016. His work at Marvel included co-creating D.P. 7 with Mark Gruenwald, and illustrating Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21, the wedding of Peter Parker and Mary-Jane. He also took over on The Phantom after the retirement of artist George Olesen in 2005, and illustrated it until his passing. He was 66 years old.
Paul Fung, Jr passed away on April 8, 2016. He was the artist on the classic comic strip Blondie, about the life and times of a domestic couple, from 1949 to 1965, as assistant to series creator Chic Young. He was 93 years old.
Darwyn Cooke passed away on May 14, 2016. His lifetime of work in comics and cartooning started with storyboards for Batman: The Animated Series, and his works included the OGN Batman: Ego, his revival of Catwoman with Ed Brubaker, and the DC miniseries The New Frontier, which perhaps best embodied Cooke's love for the best of what superheroes can represent. He was 52 years old.
George Wildman passed away on May 22, 2016. He was an editor from 1971 to 1985 at Charlton Comics, and the long-time regular artist on Popeye comics from 1969 to 1977. He also worked in commercial illustration at his own ad agency, and his work was seen regularly in Highlights for Children. He was 88 years old.
Mell Lazarus passed away on May 24, 2016. He was the artist behind Miss Peach, a comic strip that ran from 1957 to 2002, and Momma, which ran from 1970 to 2016. He also wrote two novels, The Boss is Crazy Too and The Neighborhood Watch, the former based on his start in comics working with Al Capp at Toby Press. He was 89 years old.
Frank Modell passed away on May 29, 2016. He was a longtime contributor to The New Yorker’s collection of cartoons, and over the course of a 50 year career he contributed over 1,400 cartoons to the magazine, displaying a mastery of the one-panel gag strip that typifies the magazine’s style. He was 98 years old.
Geneviève Castrée Elverum passed away on July 9, 2016. She was best known for her work in the Canadian small press, especially her 2013 graphic novel Susceptible. Her life and her career were cut short very young by pancreatic cancer. She was 35 years old.
Jack Davis passed away on July 27, 2016. He was one of the classic and definitive artists on Mad Magazine, his style full of exaggerated and pitch-perfect caricature. He also illustrated movie posters for It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and The Long Goodbye, and illustrated many classic EC Comics horror stories. He was 91 years old.
Richard Thompson passed away on July 27, 2016. He worked on the comic strip Cul de Sac from 2007 until 2012. He also illustrated the Washington Post cartoon series Richard’s Poor Almanac, the most famous of which would be the George W. Bush inaugural poem “Make the Pie Higher.” He was 58 years old.
Gaspar Saladino passed away on August 5, 2016. He was one of the most iconic letterers and designers of Silver Age DC, creating many of DC’s classic house ads and logos, such as Fury of Firestorm and Swamp Thing. His lettering elevated every book he collaborated on. He was 89 years old.
Robert Weinberg passed away on September 25, 2016. He was primarily a novelist, whose comics work included a run on Cable at Marvel Comics in 2000 and 2001, and the Nightside four-issue miniseries in 2002. He was 70 years old.
Gary Reed passed away on October 2, 2016. He was the publisher of Caliber Comics, the longtime independent publisher of The Crow, Negative Burn, Kabuki, and the early works of Brian Michael Bendis. He also wrote and co-wrote a wide array of comics, including the series Deadworld. He was 60 years old.
Lyn Chevli passed away on October 8, 2016. She was part of the underground comix movement in the 1970s, and created and self-published a guide to reproduction rights called Abortion Eve that came out shortly after the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling in Roe V. Wade. She was 84 years old.
Steve Dillon passed away on October 21, 2016. He was the artist on several landmark series, including Preacher, Hellblazer, and The Punisher, and the co-creator of the Doctor Who antihero Abslom Daak. Dillon was a consummate storyteller able to render humor, ultraviolence and heartbreak with equal skill and rigor. He was 54 years old.
Jack Chick passed away on October 23, 2016. He was the creator and publisher of Chick Tracts, the comics-as-religious pamphlets most likely found on a park bench near you. His work signaled a reactionary and harmful worldview, but was so ubiquitous that “Chick Tract remix” is a comics sub-genre all its own, making his impact on comics undeniable. He was 92 years old.
Jerry Dumas passed away on November 12, 2016. He was the co-creator of the comic strips Sam’s Strip and Sam & Silo with Mort Walker. He also contributed illustrations to the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. He was 86 years old.
Cornelia “Cory” Adams passed away on November 15, 2016. She was one of the most innovative colorists in comics, working frequently with her ex-husband Neal Adams. Her work on books such as Superman vs. Muhammad Ali, Bucky O’Hare and Ms Mystic helped push the boundaries of color in comics to the limits of available printing technology.
Don “Duck” Edwing passed away on December 26, 2016. He was a writer and artist for Mad Magazine, where he contributed strips and pages to nearly every issue over the span of decades, either solo or with collaborators such as Don Martin. His artistic style was instantly recognizable for its big noses and embrace of slapstick and the darkly absurd. At the time of his passing, he was 82 years old.