Saturday, October 22, 2016

Steve Dillon

I'm very sorry to hear of the news that artist Steve Dillon has passed away today, at just 54 years of age. I hadn't seen Steve for many years but I first knew of him back in the late 1970s when he published his stripzine Ultimate Science Fiction. The work was astonishingly good, and Steve was just 15 at the time. 

I think Steve published three issues of Ultimate Science Fiction in all, and contributed spot illos to fanzines before being discovered by editor Richard Burton and embarking on his professional career at 16 in 1978 drawing Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD for Dez Skinn's Hulk Weekly and back up strips for Doctor Who Weekly, including Abslom Daak, Dalek Killer. More work followed as Steve's style developed, and he was soon on Warrior right from the first issue in 1982, drawing Laser Eraser and Pressbutton, and on 2000AD drawing various Future Shocks and Judge Dredd.  

Since then, Steve had illustrated numerous strips, finding himself in much demand in the USA on award-winning comics such as Preacher (which he co-created for Vertigo) and on The Punisher. Steve had a natural talent for drawing pages that were easy on the eye and told the story superbly with a fantastic drawing ability. 
This small tribute doesn't do justice to the man or the amount of work that Steve created over the last four decades. I'm sure there will be many more tributes to this well-respected, well-liked artist over the coming days from his friends and his legion of fans. 

R.I.P. Steve Dillon, one of the greats.


Philip Ayres said...

Steve Dillon was one of my favourite artists and one of the earliest who's style I could identify.

Steve drew the first Dredd I ever read (Trapper Hag part 2, Prog 306, Case Files 6) and I loved it. Always a pleasure to see him return to Dredd as he did for Cry ofthe Werewolf & parts of City of the Damned while I read the title at school. Later I read his contribution to Block Mania and, when buying Case Files in recent years, have since seen all his Judge Dredd work. Always drew great chin, one of the greatest Dredd artists.

But I'd seen him before that though drawing backup strips for Doctor Who weekly which criminally haven't been collected yet.

I'd not seen too much of his recent work for US firms but knew he'd been busy.


Tony Howson said...

So sad to hear this. I never met Steve but I did send off my 15p in response to that ad for Ultimate Science Fiction. Reading the first issue, good as it was, I think I was even more impressed by the fact that it was entirely the work of a couple of kids who were a few years younger than myself. Really tapped into the DIY spirit of that era. Bored teenagers indeed.

Think I also saw some illustrations he did for Planet of the Apes fan club around the same time. But then suddenly he was getting work published by Marvel and 2000AD and it was exciting - like seeing a local band getting the chance to step up and headline Glastonbury. So glad you included his Dredd White Wolf story in the covers you showed - that was a highlight of summer 83 for me.

There's something particularly satisfying about watching an artist or musician develop from the very early days and it seemed like every couple of years he'd be involved in some new milestone as he moved from Warrior to Deadline to Preacher.

Genuinely expected he'd always be around and still turning out strips long after I was gone.

Paul McScotty Muir said...

Very very sad news another comic legend passed away and another passed away for too young (and a nice tribute to his work Lew) I always liked Steve's art and picked up his work regualrly just for his art as it was always top notch. I especailly liked his 2000AD work on Rouge Trooper and its one of only a handful of collections I have of 2000AD strips. I had forgotten about his Warrior work which at the time I poured over . My condolences to his family and friends at this awful time.

Lew Stringer said...

I understand he passed away in his sleep, which is some consolation perhaps. Still far too young at 54 though, and he clearly had a lot more to give to the world of comics, and as a human being. He will be greatly missed by a lot of people.

Philip Ayres said...

BBC website Obit, on the main news page too

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks, Philip. I hadn't seen that report.

Robert Carnegie said...

I remember those Doctor Who strips very fondly - stories about what people and monsters got up to when the Doctor wasn't around. So it wasn't necessarily going to be all right in the end...

Nialli said...

Hi Lew. There were indeed just three issues of Ultimate Science Fiction. Previous to that Steve and I did a comic at school, Sci Fi Adventures, in which Steve adapted Escape From Planet of the Apes in around a dozen pages!
Nice to see the Ultimate ad from CMNI again.
Lovely heartfelt tribute - I still can't believe he's gone.
Neil Bailey

Lew Stringer said...

Hi Neil, Good to hear from you. My condolences on Steve's passing. Looking back, Ultimate Science Fiction was a big incentive for me producing my own stripzine (After Image) a year or two later. It was a good time for fanzines and stripzines but Ultimate really stood out as something exceptional. I hadn't seen Steve for years but when I did see him I often used to jokingly ask him when issue 4 was coming out. A nice guy whose untimely passing has really shaken many people in the business. Take care of yourself Neil.

Paul Mahon said...

I hadn't seen Steve since we left Icknield High School in 1978, & was shocked to hear he had passed away. Very tragic.

Back in late '74 Myself & Neil Bailey were producing this 'comic' called Sci Fi Adventures - basically drawing strips in biro that were photocopied by Neil's dad who had a photocopier. Copiers were an expensive piece of kit in the mid 1970's. We flogged the comic in the playground for about 5p (cheap!)-probably at great financial loss & inconvenience to his dad.

Steve came on board around 4th or 5th issue. I knew him more as a science geek. I remember him hanging out with this other lad & they always seem to be discussing physics formulas & stuff at break times.

For one of the first strips Steve produced Escape From The Planet of the Apes & the artwork was gob-smaking - produced using proper drawing ink. Maybe it was time for me to go & do something else. My drawings looked like a 5 year olds in comparison LOL

One of the last front covers for SCi Fi adventures must have been 'Conquest of The Planet of the Apes' drawn in late 1975 & it was just stunning. He was only 13. Still have all those comics we did- no idea how they've survived all the turmoil & moving around in 40 years. Bit embarrassing looking at my drawings though in the depths of the back of the comic!

RIP Steve. Taken far too soon.

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