This morning, I was catching up on facebook, and people were posting that comic book artist Al Williamson had died yesterday at the age of 79. People that started reading comics in the mid 1980s, would have been mostly familiar with Al Williamson's art largely as an inker (I especially liked his inks on John Romita Jr.'s Daredevil), which he did from the mid 1980s until his retirement in 2003, mostly at Marvel.
I don't know when I first noticed Al Williamson's artwork, but when I started reading comics regularly in late 1975, Al Williamson had already been working in this medium since the 1950s, mostly on science fiction and fantasy titles for EC and working on comic strips such as Flash Gordon and Secret Agent X-9. During the 1970s, Al Williamson became know for being one of the first comic book artists to work on the Star Wars comic books and comic strip.
So though I can't remember the first Al Williamson comic I saw that made me fall in love with his work, I always got anything he worked on that I could find because if Al Williamson worked on a comic, I knew that that was going to be a really sharp, beautiful looking comic. Al Williamson, on one hand was highly inspirational to many artists for his fine brushwork on photo-realistic comic books and strips, but on the other hand, he is also fondly loved as being a great illustrator of fantasy and science fiction characters and landscapes - there wasn't anything Al Williamson couldn't draw and really well at that. Another comic art GIANT is gone, but because Al Williamson had produced such a large output of art over fifty years, all of it amazing, he'll never really be gone.
For a great, more thorough remembrance of Al Williamson, here's a piece artist Mark Wheatly wrote: http://www.comicmix.com/news/2010/06/14/al-williamson-a-personal-reflection/
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