Mourning the loss of comic book artist John Paul Leon

Sad news in the comic book world Sunday night as news of artist John Paul Leon’s death circulated on social media.

The veteran illustrator was 49 years old and had struggled with cancer for several years, which delayed the full publication of his most recent project, the Batman: Creature of the Night mini-series. (The complete series was released in a collection last year and is now available in paperback.)

Leon’s editor on Creature of the Night, Chris Conroy, announced the passing on Twitter.

If asked to name my favorite comic book artists, I doubt Leon would be among the first to come to mind. I grew up loving George Perez, John Byrne, Frank Miller, John Romita Jr. Walt Simonson, and Alan Davis. (There are so many more.)

Yet I greatly admired Leon’s work as I renewed interest in comics in the late 1990s. Eventually, if I found out he was drawing something, I tried to check it out. His artwork always grabbed me from the comic shop rack. And if I saw a cover of his, I hoped he did the interior artwork as well.

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