Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Steve Dillon

This past weekend saw the sad news of the passing of comic book artist Steve Dillon. It's tragic enough to lose such a talented artist who had made such an impact in the world of comics. But to lose someone who was only a year older than me, well, it kind of hits rather hard. Steve Dillon wasn't some icon of a long bygone era who did the occasional sketch and signed autographs at conventions. No, he was still a very much active and sought after creator. It's a gut punch right in line with the loss of Darwyn Cooke from earlier this year, the loss of an extremely talented person working at the peak of their game. 

Steve Dillon was born in the UK which is where he got his start, drawing features for Judge Dredd and Doctor Who. Dillon was the artist who co-created the Doctor Who comic book character of Absolom Daak, Dalek Killer, a character that got some brief in-canon acknowledgement during the Series 8 episode, Time Heist.  

Dillon made the hop over the pond to American comics. He did some super hero work like the Atom and Animal Man for DC and a long run on Wolverine for Marvel. 

A page from Wolverine plus insets of the Atom and Absolom Daak. 

But where Dillon made is mark was on characters outside the super hero mainstream, particularly with a fellow Brit creator, Garth Ennis. The team of Ennis and Dillon produced memorable runs on DC's Hellblazer and Marvel's The Punisher. (Dillon had recently returned to draw the Punisher once more, this time with writer Becky Cloonan.) 

A couple of scenes from Hellblazer.  

A page from the recent Punisher series written by Becky Cloonan
plus an inset from a Punisher/Deadpool team-up date encounter. 

But perhaps the most memorable and groundbreaking collaboration by Steve Dillon and Garth Ennis was on their creator owned comic Preacher, published by DC's Vertigo imprint, a character that recently made the jump to television with a well received new series on AMC, home of The Walking Dead.  

Reading various tributes to Dillon over the weekend, one theme came up a lot and that was Dillon's extraordinary talent for faces and expressions. Steve could hold his own and more with other artists when it came to spectacles of power but it was his indelible approach to facial expressions that made Steve Dillon such a stand out. It really bums me out to think that one of the few modern artists who was as good as Dillon at the nuances of human expression was Darwyn Cooke.  

There is quite a bit of great Steve Dillon artwork to be found out there in the trade collections of Hellblazer, the Punisher and particularly with the advent of the TV series, Preacher. Still, it is exceedingly sad that for all that large body of work available to us, any new art has come to an end. There should be more such art from a man who is alas now gone and gone way too damn soon. 

Thanks for dropping by. Remember to be good to one another. I'll be back with another post tomorrow.  

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