A tribute to an artist gone far too soon…
Artist John Paul Leon died May 1 at the age of 49 and the outpouring from the comic-book community has been understandably intense.
I thought about doing a 13 COVERS or a 13 ILLUSTRATIONS tribute right off the bat but to be completely candid, I’m just not familiar enough with his work to make educated choices. (His heyday happened to coincide with a time years ago when I wasn’t reading comics.) So, I took some time to consider what I wanted to say.
Whenever I’ve seen Leon’s work, I’ve been incredibly impressed. He had a powerful eye and an amazing sense of scope. Simply put, the biggest compliment I can give any artist is that I’d want to see them on Batman full time.
Leon was that kind of artist.
As it happens, he illustrated three of my favorite Batman pages of the last decade or so — one of which doesn’t even feature the Dark Knight himself.
The first two are from Batman: Creature of the Night, written by Kurt Busiek, and the third is from a fill-in: Detective Comics #35, written by Benjamin Percy.
Check these out:
For crying out loud, could this man draw.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Leon twice — once for each of these projects. He was uniformly thoughtful, engaging and gentlemanly.
The comics world is poorer for his untimely death.
— KURT BUSIEK and JOHN PAUL LEON Talk BATMAN: CREATURE OF THE NIGHT. Click here.
— DETECTIVE COMICS #35: A Q&A With BENJAMIN PERCY and JOHN PAUL LEON. Click here.