Over the weekend, the comics industry lost another legend with Al Williamson’s passing. At 79, he’d been retired for several years and his last high-profile comic was a Sub-Mariner short to mark the character’s 70 anniversary last year. Prior to that, his most recent work consisted mostly of inking the likes of SPIDER-GIRL, SPIDER-MAN 2099, DAREDEVIL and the Epic mini-series ATOMIC AGE. That work won him an impressive number of awards, including seven Harveys and three Eisners (the last of which being a Hall of Fame award.)
With a career that spanned five decades, it’s difficult to pick which work of his to highlight - - there’s just so much of it. He was perhaps the definitive STAR WARS comics artist in the 80s, having been personally picked by George Lucas on account of his work on FLASH GORDON. In the 50s, he illustrated a substantial number of Western title like KID COLT and THE RINGO KID for Timely Comics, Marvel’s predecessor, and almost every kind of sci-fi, horror and crime story for EC’s infamous anthologies. He got to return to doing that kind of story in the 70s with a stint on CREEPY for Warren. == TEASER ==
All too often comics fandom can have a short memory. I encourage you to look online and see more of this man’s work. Williamson was a contemporary of Frank Frazetta ( who passed away just a few weeks) and he had a classical rendering style in the same vein as Burne Hogarth and Alex Raymond. Those of you who want to become comics artists yourself would do well to study all these talents’ work. You can't just look at current artists for inspiration, you need to also know the earlier artists who inspired them. And Frank Cho, Jimmy Palmiotti, Dave Gibbons, Tony Harris and Steve Epting (just to name a few) all cite Williamson as influence.
Here's just a few samples of Williamson's work...