by Arnie Fenner

The New Year is a time to celebrate and look forward, just as it’s a time to reflect. So let’s join together and raise a glass to the memories of some of the members of our community that passed in 2012. Requiescat in pace.

Leo Dillon [b. 1933]

With his wife and collaborator Diane, Leo created some of the most memorable covers and illustrations of the last half century. Well known for their numerous paintings for the works of Harlan Ellison and a brace of inspirational children’s books, the Dillons have been honored with the Caldecott Medal, the Hugo, the Hamilton King, the World Fantasy, and the Spectrum Grand Master awards.

Jean “Moebius” Giraud [b. 1938]

Easily one of the most influential artists in the comics field (whether under his own name or the pseudonyms of Moebius or Gir), Jean was also a book illustrator and film designer. Alien, Tron, The Fifth Element, Willow and many other popular movies benefitted from his vision and skill.

David Grove [b. 1940]

Inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame in 2007, David’s art was inspirational and his style instantly identifiable. Irene Gallo said, “David’s work was fluid and dream-like but, make no mistake about it, everything was thoughtful and planned.”

Joe Kubert [b. 1926]

A legend in the comics industry for over fifty years, Joe spent much of his career as an artist, writer, and editor for DC. As founder of The Kubert School he was instrumental in launching the careers of many of today’s most popular creators. Joe was inducted into both the Will Eisner and the Jack Kirby Halls of Fame.

Ralph McQuarrie [b. 1929]

Concept artist and illustrator, Ralph was best known for his work on Battlestar Galactica, E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial, Cocoon (for which he won the Oscar®) and, of course, the original Star Wars trilogy. George Lucas said, “When words could not convey my idea. I could always point to one of Ralph’s fabulous illustrations and say, ‘Do it like this’.”

Spain Rodriguez [b. 1940]

Inspired by his experiences on the road as a member of the biker gang, The Road Vultures, Spain was one of the original Underground comix artists and was the creator the character of Trashman for The East Village Other. Art Spiegelman described Spain’s 2009 book Che: A Graphic Biography as “brilliant and radical.”

Maurice Sendak [b. 1928]

Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, Bumble-Andy, Brundibar, Outside Over There, Mommy? Maurice was responsible for filling our childhood bookshelves with wonder. He was honored with the National Medal of Arts and numerous other awards throughout his career.

John P. Severin [b. 1921]

One of the true workhorses of the comics field, John produced outstanding—and meticulously researched and rendered—art for EC, Warren, Marvel, DC, and DH. Highly regarded for his war stories, he was no stranger to fantasy and created an exceptional run of stories (in collaboration with his sister, Marie) adapting Robert E. Howard’s Kull adventures in the 1970s for Marvel.

Sergio Toppi [b. 1932]

Sergio was prolific and his art exceptional, regardless of whether he was drawing comics, book illustrations, or advertisments. Comfortable with any genre, he is perhaps best known for his historical adventure stories for Italian publisher CEPIM.