Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Michael Turner

I should go to the comic book store more often otherwise bad news like the death of Michael Turner wouldn't creep up on me; I only found out about his death from a customer review on Amazon!

I was aware that he was suffering with cancer but didn't realize it had claimed his life.

When I first got back into comics in 2000 -- thanks to the first X-Men film really making me miss certain characters -- I tended to buy reprints of stuff I was nostalgic about but the cover of one of the Fathom comics caught my eye. And that lead me down new roads to discover current favorite artists like Turner and Jim Lee and Ed Benes.

And if you are aware of his art, you know a Fathom cover catching your eye is probably an understatement as Turner drew women -- and burly heroes, for that matter -- for the 15-year-old inside all of us overgrown male nerds.

But his talents didn't end there as his painterly images drew you in; the seascapes of Fathom remain unique in the world of comic art and, as far as I'm concerned, without parallel. They are as representative of what made Turner a great artist as Jack Kirby's two-page space spreads with, for example, Galactus.

His characters had a touch of George Perez and some angular, hard lines reminiscent of mid-1970's-era Gil Kane.

I admit that I did get bored with Witchblade pretty fast. And the stories with Fathom didn't always live up to the imagery but the imagery was so good that I really could have been flipping through plotless pages anyway.

I recommend the New York Times obit, here for the link to the Fathom origin PDF.

The only good that will come of his death is that perhaps his work will be republished and, thus, reach broader audiences.

UPDATE: I just got a recent run of the Fantastic Four written by Dwayne McDuffie, he of the Justice League Unlimited TV series, and I have high hopes for it -- I always liked when the Black Panther showed up in the Fantastic Four comics when Jack Kirby drew him -- but the book is probably worth getting simply for the Michael Turner Fantastic Four covers reproduced therein -- these have to be some of the last things he did, right?