I'm very shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Kevin O'Neill at the far too young age of 69. I'd known Kev since the Westminster Comic Mart days of the 1980s and he was a good friend as well as being an excellent comics artist. He was best known of course for his superb work on Nemesis the Warlock for 2000AD with Pat Mills, and his mindbending artwork on The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic novels with Alan Moore. He did far more than that though and his list of accomplishments would take more time than this short tribute.
Back in 1983 Kev produced a great cover for my Fantasy Express fanzine and we later collaborated a couple of times, firstly on my Brickman comic in 1986 and then on the Oink! Annual in 1987.
We'd been in touch again in recent years, hoping to meet up but the pandemic got in the way. He'd been unwell this year so we'd put it on hold again. I hadn't heard from him for a few weeks and I was actually about to phone him this afternoon but then I saw the bad news. Totally stunned. Kev was always great company and I'll always remember the many laughs we had back in the day. Rest In Peace, Kev. You were one of the greatest.
|The chapter of Brickman that Kev drew from my script in 1986.|
Kevin's friends at London's Gosh Comics shop have written this tribute on their blog:
A wonderful tribute on the 2000AD website too:
An in-depth interview with Kevin, conducted by Mike Molcher a few years ago...
That is sad news. Kevin was one of my very favourite artists from that great generation of 2000AD artists. I enjoyed everything he drew but had a special affection for his cartoon style art on strips like Dash Decent and Captain Klep. An especially sad time for Kevin's family and friends like yourself Lew. Take care.
Thanks Paul. His work was incredible. Ken Reid was a big influence of course, and you can see that in his work, but he definitely fashioned his own style too. Totally unique and full of dark humour.
Kevin O'Neill's style, at its peak, seemed to combine the inventive grotesqueness of Basil Wolverton or Ken Reid with the technological detailing of 70s Jack Kirby. His art meant a lot to me as I read 2000AD in the 80s and 'Cinema Purgatorio' was a more than worthy swansong.
Yes, Wolverton was another influence of course. So many artists inspired him; Wally Wood, Dick Sprang, Jack Kirby, Bill Elder, Ken Reid of course... and it all combined to emerge as Kev's own distinct style. There'll never be another.
Post a Comment