JOHN PAUL LEON: 1972 – 2021
The DC family was saddened to learn of the passing of our friend and collaborator John Paul Leon.
From his time drawing the iconic Milestone Media hero Static Shock while a junior at New York’s School of Visual Arts to his work on the genre-defining Earth X for Marvel in the late 1990s to his recent DC work with writer Kurt Busiek on Batman: Creature of the Night and the upcoming Batman/Catwoman Special, Leon brought his unmistakable take to everything that he touched.
DC executives and talent alike shared their thoughts across social media at the news of his passing. DC publisher and chief creative officer Jim Lee offered high praise for Leon, saying, “One of the greatest artists of our generation, he was also one of the nicest and most talented creators one could be lucky enough to have met.”
Writer Tom King, who collaborated with Leon on the Batman/Catwoman Special #1, referred to the artist as a “comic book humanist,” a man who “…grounded the inherent absurdity of conveying myth and story through inked panels by insisting the emotional struggle of our lived experience be in every line, every picture,” and “…a joy of a man, kind and funny to the end.” Leon also provided covers for King and artist Mitch Gerads’s seminal Vertigo series, The Sheriff of Babylon.
DC vice president and editor-in-chief Marie Javins perhaps offered the most poignant remembrance of Leon: “Lots of tears have been shed in the comics world the last few days. Many of them mine. JP leaves behind a tremendous body of meaningful art, from Static to Batman to Earth X. We, the comic book industry, loved John Paul Leon—his skill, talent, humor, intelligence. I did too. And his other editors, Chris Conroy, Dave Wielgosz—they did as well.”
John Paul will be deeply missed not only by everyone who had a chance to work with him but by those who had the privilege to enjoy his work.
Our thoughts of comfort and support go out to his family, friends, colleagues, and fans during this very difficult time.