So long-

June 15, 2010

Yesterday one of the greatest to ever work in comics passed away – Al Williamson. He was a master of ink, anatomy, perspective, storytelling, and anything else one might associate with the art form. My first experience with his art was his comic adaptation of the Empire Strikes Back, and then it seemed everywhere I looked over the next 30 years I would find him. When I got into the old EC comics, especially the sci-fi titles like Weird Science- there he was. Don’t get me wrong- I loved Wally Wood’s work, and I will admit that Williamson always suffered in comparison because of his strong Alex Raymond influence (only strengthened by his work on many of Alex Raymond’s old strips: Flash Gordon, Secret Agent X-9).  Still, in my opinion, the best and most engaging stories from EC were always illustrated by Al Williamson. His work made the plots come alive in my mind, with shadows that set the mood more accurately than anything to be done in Photoshop today. When Dark Horse started reprinting his Star Wars newspaper strips in comic book format, I was amazed. It was better than anything else done with the title by any company. The strips, with the dazzling art, spot on likenesses, accurate gadgetry, and almost film noir lighting, felt like cut scenes from the films, rather than cheap attempts to make a buck off  of the movies popularity. As the years passed I saw his name attached more as an inker than as an penciller, to which I always thought- what a waste- I’d much rather see his pencils on it, than him fixing someone else’s lame art. He was a master, and someone I always wanted to talk to. To hear stories of the crazy days at EC, to the dealings with Lucasfilm, and all the life bits in between, you just knew it had to have been a wild ride.

You will be missed sir, by me, and by anyone else who loves the art form. Rest well, you’ve earned it.

Al Williamson 1931-2010

For a bit more on his life visit the Comic Book Resources website.


One Response to “So long-”

  1. Shane said

    Al Williamson was the first name I ever associated with comic book art and I was always excited to see it on something I was picking up. Star Wars was indeed what I will always connect him with, but he was So Much More!

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