Tuesday, 2 October 2018

RIP, Carlos Ezquerra

RIP, Carlos Ezquerra

News that seminal 2000AD artist Carlos Ezquerra has died is a shock.
RIP, Carlos Ezquerra

Not only to the comics' world, but to fans of his artwork like myself.

The Spanish artist, who'd had lung cancer, has passed away at the relatively young age of 70.

The words "icon" and "seminal" are bandied around a lot, but truly for Ezquerra, they are both justified and yet not sufficient enough to explain his influence within the comics' world.
RIP, Carlos Ezquerra

Ezquerra's art was a formative part of my youth, and mainly encountered through the pages of 2000AD. He may have been the co-creator of Judge Dredd, but in truth, Ezquerra's definitive eye for near-futuristic design and shocking character moments did more to guarantee him a place in the lexicon of artists.

RIP, Carlos EzquerraWhilst Dredd epics like The Apocalypse War gave him an edge, it was Johnny Alpha and Wulf Sternhammer's enduring partnership which elevated him to these eyes. Mixing Western, bounty hunters and a sci-fi edge, Strontium Dog immediately became a weekly favourite of mine.

Ezquerra's trademark black stubs around some of his panels gave him a distinctive look, but in the likes of stories like Rage and Bitch, Ezquerra cemented his place in my heart, giving protagonist Johnny Alpha an edge that was hard to beat.

Sure, he also illustrated The Stainless Steel Rat, Crisis, Fiends of The Eastern Front and the 6 month epic Necropolis, but it was in Strontium Dog and its ragtag list of muties, outcasts and anti-heroes that Ezquerra breathed life into a world that was unforgettable.

He even refused to illustrate the strip which brought the death of Johnny Alpha, a move that showed his principles and his commitment to the characters was second to none.

RIP, Carlos EzquerraThe news our heroes die is nothing new; but the fact this one genuinely feels like a small part of my youth has been silenced for good is devastating.

The fact 2000AD will never see his material again is nothing short of a loss; but the fact that thousands may have been inspired to draw because of his gritty uncompromising style is a small comfort.

To those at 2000AD, deepest condolences can do little to soften the loss and hurt.

But to those who've yet to experience (or who already had the pleasure of) his work, be glad there are bundles of it out there, in 2000AD collections, in strips yet to be confined to collections and in immortal artwork to be treasured for years to come.

Carlos Ezquerra; born 12 November 1947; died 1 October 2018.

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