The world of comics lost one of its greats last Saturday with the death of Al Williamson, an incredible artist whose work spanned five decades and covered everything from the legendary EC comics and magazines like "Creepy" and "Eerie" to newspaper strips to Marvel's "Star Wars" comics.

He also had a brief but award-winning tenure in the '60s on "Flash Gordon," which inspired artist Francesco Francavilla to create a gorgeous tribute piece that went up today on the Comic Twart blog:

Francavilla's piece is both amazing and appropriate, and there's a much larger version on Comic Twart.

Another great tribute piece came from "Atlas" artist Gabriel Hardman, who put it up on his Twitter feed earlier today:

Both are excellent tributes to Williamson (and two of many that have either hit the web already or will soon) to one of the most influential artists in comics, but there are others, too: Newsarama has a collection of creators remembering Williamson both as an artist and as a person, including a memory from Jeff Parker:

When you've blown up an artistic hero in your head, it's always an experience to seem them sitting at a table near you, being real people. I got that bumped up yet another level as Al looked over my pages and chuckled at a panel where I'd drawn the alien lizard kid from his old EC story. These pages would be hard for me or anyone to look at now, but the important thing I'd done right without realizing it was to not be the 7000th kid to shove superhero pages under his nose. Most of it was attempts at the kind of adventure strips he'd read since being a kid himself growing up in Colombia (and thus pulling off better jungle vegetation and lizards in his environments than oh, anyone). But here's where the experience went on to dominate my psychological landscape. After some nodding, he realized that the line was building for him to sign books. Instead of handing back my art, he put it to the side and said "come back around and sit down."

I don't know if you ever had Chuck Yeager say "Come on, climb up in the Bell X-1″ or Louie Armstrong tell you to grab a horn and sit in with him, but that would have to be how it feels.