Steve Dillon, the renowned comic book artist behind titles including Preacher and Hellblazer, has died. He was 54.
His brother, Glyn, confirmed the news over social media on Saturday morning. “Sad to confirm the death of Steve, my big brother and my hero. He passed away in the city he loved (NYC),” he wrote. “He will be sorely missed. Cheers.”
Details surrounding Dillon’s death are still unclear, but sources indicate he was suffering from an unspecified illness.
Dillon began his career at the age of 16 with the debut of Hulk Weekly for Marvel’s U.K. division. His work made its way into Doctor Who Magazine, 2000 A.D., and the Warrior anthology before co-creating the comics magazine Deadline in 1988.
His breakout moment came when he teamed with writer Garth Ennis on Hellblazer, a John Constantine series for Vertigo Comics. The duo reunited again for Preacher, one of their most famous works. On top of critical acclaim, Dillon was nominated for an Eisner Award for his work, and the comic has since been adapted into the popular TV drama from AMC, developed by Seth Rogen, among others.
“I remember drawing the first issue thinking, ‘This is either going to bomb completely or enough people will get it to make it a cult success,'” Dillon recalled to EW during an interview earlier this year. “Luckily, enough readers did get it and realized where we were coming from with it.”
Dillon’s creativity and talent have been on full display as of recent; he had already completed six covers for DC Comic’s Sixpack and Dogwelder: Hard-Travelin’ Heroz, two of which are currently available.
“His name, along with writer Garth Ennis, is practically synonymous with Preacher,” DC Entertainment Group Editor Marie Javins said in a statement obtained by EW. “But I know him as a lovable wisecracker who enjoyed New York, and could always be depended on to deliver a sly remark. Steve had a great sense of humor; it’s fitting his last work for DC was a cover of a tin foil Dogwelder. To the rest of the world, he’s a giant among creators and artists. He will be missed by us all here at DC and Vertigo.”
In addition to Sixpack and Dogwelder, Dillon continued his relationship with Ennis at Marvel with various comic series on Punisher, Wolverine, and Thunderbolts. He was penciller for the latest Punisher comics written by Becky Cloonan, who tweeted a response to his death on Saturday. “I’m at Mondo Con today but my thoughts are on [Steve Dillon]. RIP,” she wrote. “It was an honor to work with such a legend. Lost for words right now.”
Other members of the comic book and entertainment industry have contributed to the outpour of emotion this weekend. Doctor Who Magazine‘s official account tweeted, “We’re saddened to report the death of Steve Dillon, one of Doctor Who Magazine’s earliest artists, and co-creator of Abslom Daak. RIP Steve”
“Steve Dillon was an enormously talented illustrator who, with Garth Ennis, created a cult classic comic we were so proud to bring to television with Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Sam Catlin and our partners at Sony,” Preacher’s home network AMC said in a statement. “He will be missed.”