Innovative Comic-Book Artist – John Paul Leon Passes Away At 49
It is with great sadness that we pass on the news that the great John Paul Leon has passed away at the age of 49. The talented artist died on Sunday, May 2, surrounded by his loved ones after a 14 year battle against cancer.
John Paul Leon was a highly respected artist that gave fans iconic characterisations of Static, Batman, Earth X, Robocop and many more, working with companies such as DC, Marvel, and Dark Horse.
John Paul began his comic-book career at the age of 16 with a fantastically detailed series of black and white illustrations for TSR’s Dungeons And Dragons comics. He majored in art at the New York School Of Visual Arts where he studied under industry giants including Will Eisner and Walt Simonson, his first professional work was for Dark Horse for whom he drew the Robocop mini-series – Prime Suspect. It was, though, with the DC Comics’ imprint – Milestone, that he brought his incalculable illustrative talent to the fore after he was commissioned as the inaugural artist on their flagship title – Static, in 1993, this series was also used as his coursework for his Bachelor Of Fine Arts degree, of which he graduated from SVA in 1994, he would continue to illustrate Static until issue #9.
After his superlative run on Static, John Paul became a much sought after artist in the comic-book field, his hyper detailed artwork was lauded by fans and industry peers alike, and he would go on to work for DC Comics on multiple Batman series (of which his phenomenal talent was highly suited) and Superman comics and The Challengers Of The Unknown. His talent was also courted by Marvel for whom he drew – The Further Adventures Of Cyclops And Phoenix, Earth X, and the X-Men.
John Paul was initially diagnosed with stage two cancer in 2007, and underwent chemotherapy and surgery, until he was diagnosed cancer free in 2012. Unfortunately the cancer returned in in 2018, and he resumed chemotherapy in 2019. Throughout this, John Paul returned to work on a character he loved – Batman, alongside Tom King for the Batman/Catwoman Special, a one shot that explores the romantic entanglement of these much beloved characters, which will be available for purchase in July.
Our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this tragic time.