Comics Artist Michael Turner Dead at 37

Posted on July 7, 2008

Photo of Michael TurnerTop comic book artist Michael Turner has died after a long battle with cancer. He was only 37. Michael was in high demand for his outstanding work: he inked many covers for Marvel, founded his own company Aspen and co-created the popular online comics based on the popular TV series Heroes. He also co-created the popular series Witchblade which put Top Cow productions on the map.
Mr. Turner died June 27 at a Santa Monica hospital of complications related to cancer, said Vince Hernandez, editor in chief of Aspen MLT, the Santa Monica publishing company Mr. Turner founded in 2003. Through his company, Mr. Turner created online comic adaptations for the NBC series "Heroes" and published his own titles, including the best-selling Fathom, a deep-sea story about a female superhero with water-based powers.

"He was definitely one of the most popular and influential comic-book artists working right now," said Andrew Farago, curator of San Francisco's Cartoon Art Museum. "He was very, very much in demand as a cover artist on high-profile projects." Since 2000, Mr. Turner had battled chondrosarcoma, a bone cancer. The illness hindered his ability to do the labor-intensive sequential art required of comic-book storytelling and was one reason he turned to drawing covers.

He was a bankable name whose ethereal yet dynamic cover art often boosted sales. Ryan Liebowitz, general manager of the Golden Apple Comics store in Los Angeles, said Mr. Turner's name was synonymous with special-edition covers that often became collectibles. "He was doing just the covers for the biggest and best projects -- Justice League for DC or Civil War for Marvel," Liebowitz said. "Fans would clamor for that."

He was a great talent who will be sorely missed. Our condolences to his family and many friends. You can read commentary about Michael by leading lights in the comics industry here.


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