Saturday, June 28, 2008
Witchblade artist passed away at 37
Me as a comic book artist and lover are very sad to say that artist Michael Turner has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 37. Aspen Comics’ Vince Hernandez told CBR News Saturday morning that Turner passed away Friday night at 10:42 Pacific Time at Santa Monica Hospital in Calfiornia. The news spread quickly at Wizard World Chicago, during what would have otherwise been a riotous night at the hotel bar, the mood suddenly turned somber with remembrances of Turner from friends and acquaintances. A minute of silence will be observed during Wizard World Chicago Saturday afternoon.
Turner is an artist best known for his work on books like “Witchblade,” where he got his start in comics, moving on to titles such as “Black Panther,” “Superman/Batman” and his very own creator owned series “Fathom” and “Soulfire” through his publishing company Aspen Comics. A prolific artist, he’s done work for both DC Comics and Marvel Comics, and has provided covers to some of the best-known comics published in the last ten years, including Brad Meltzer’s “Identity Crisis.”
In 2000, Turner was diagnosed with cancer -- chondrosarcoma in the right pelvis, which resulted in his loosing his hip, 40% of his pelvis and three pounds of bone. What followed was 9 months of radiation. The cancer has gone into remission and returned multiple times since he was first diagnosed.
For anyone who’s met Turner, they’re likely to tell you what a genuinely nice guy he was and how his spirit for life was higher than anyone else they had ever met. Oddly, my path crossed with Turner’s numerous times. We both live in Los Angeles, and on at least five different occasions we would run into each other at clubs or special events around the city. He seemed like the kind of guy who was up for anything and had a great sense of adventure, especially as evidenced by his love and excellence at water-skiing and martial arts.
Last year during Comic-Con International in San Diego, I invited Michael Turner out to the CBR Yacht for an interview. He was happy to come out to the boat. His colleague and friend, Vince Hernandez, called me the Saturday afternoon the interview was scheduled to say they were running late, but were on their way. I went to the end of the dock to greet them and there, off in the distance, was Michael, Vince and a friend of theirs walking slowly towards our slip. They were walking slowly because Michael was on crutches, recovering from the latest round of surgeries and treatment. It was a hot day, but there was Michael, making his way to the boat with a smile on his face. His strength of will was truly inspirational.
The resulting interview was a wonderfully sweet one. I remember talking with him about his comics, his covers, his health and much more. After the interview he and his crew hung out on the boat for a while, enjoying the calm moment away from the convention with a soda and good conversation.
Sadly, that video interview never made it on to the site (not for anything to do with Michael or the content of the interview), but we’ll make sure that video is encoded this week and published in his memory and so that all of you can see what sort of man Turner was.
Turner’s fight with cancer was truly inspirational. He fought it with dignity and grace.
~~~ another great artist passed away. this is making me very very sad. comic world is going to be in chaos because no one will ever be like him. rest in peace, Michael. You are most sorely missed.