I did not know of his passing until like a year later after his death. I was starting to get into the groove of checking out my favorite artists, and he was one of my all-time favorites.I went online and googled what he was up to, and that's how I found out. I felt like someone had punched my stomach until I was left gasping for air on the floor. I had this image of him being, untouchable somehow. He faced cancer before, and came back an even better artist than ever. In my mind there was no way he was eventually going to lose his battle with cancer at any point.
He's only the second artist I ever cried over when I learned of his death, and having lost my grandparents and an aunt to this dreaded cancer, it hit me all the more. I've written about Michael Turner here and there, but nothing too much into detail. So aside this blog being a tribute, this blog is my own personal therapy. The best kind, too. Art therapy.
Turner moved to San Diego where he got interested in comics. Top Cow and Image Comics co-founder discovered him at a convention, and he was hired initially as a background artist before he co-created what would become arguably Top Cow's most iconic character: Witchblade.
Image comics wouldn't always be ordered at the pharmacy where I would get my stash, but for a brief while, they actually started bringing Witchblade. I was absolutely captivated by his artwork. To me, there was this sense of timelessness, of class, that just made it impossible for me to turn away from his pages. I was enamored by his artwork and became a quick fan of his. I followed as much as I could and then I had to stop once the pharmacy stopped bringing comics all together. Whenever I hanged out my friends and ventured to a couple cities over, I'd hit the comic book shop and catch up on Witchblade, and of course, Fathom after he announced he would leave Witchblade in favor of his first creator owned comic within Top Cow.
But then, in the middle of the mega crossover between Witchblade, Fathom, and Tomb Raider, the video game property that Top Cow was able to licence into comic books, Michael Turner, after suffering a skiing accident, was discovered he had cancer.
After treatments Turner, who would sketch on his bed during that time, returned to comics two years later, wrapping up the crossover. When he came back, he also decided after thinking over as he recovered, that it was time he struck out on his own, and founded Aspen MLT Inc. A different creative team would take over Fathom while he worked on hi newest title, the fantasy book Soulfire.
During this time he branched out more, too, doing artwork for DC Comics, most notably his brief run on Batman/Superman, where he designed a new Supergirl, as well as do covers for the mini-series Identity Crisis and Flash. His studio also briefly took over Superman as well.
Later on he would do covers for Marvel comics, and was set to become the artist on Wolverine Origins and later was slated to do the art on Ultimate Wolverine, but unfortunately, he would not do those works with the iconic Marvel character.
In the days that followed when I found out about his passing, I spent hours going through old artwork and tributes sites online. I kept looking over and over at old issues and old interviews from the Wizard magazines. It's almost as if my hands wanted to just somehow absorb his artwork. He was definitely an artist I would've given anything to meet.
Actually, a few years later I met the person that would eventually become my girlfriend through a mutual friend. After we officially got into a relationship I told her about Michael Turner and showed her various of his images. She's mostly a casual fan of comics, she is much more into manga and anime. But unbeknownst to me, she had made it her mission to get me the comics I had been missing from him. So on birthdays, Christmases and sometimes just because she would coincidentally run into something, I ended owing various trades of Witchblade, Fathom, and Soulfire. At the first New York Comic Con I went with her, we found the tribute book that Aspen released. I was able to get it and get various signatures from a lot of the participating artists. It is one of my most prized possessions. And I will always be grateful to her. The only thing that surpasses that gratefulness is my love for her.
His art inspired me like with so many people out there. As well as the other artists I gave tribute to this past month. If only there is one thing I want you all to take from this is, it's to realize that life is such a fragile, fickle thing. But also one of great opportunity and wonder. If there is an artist you admire, past or present, I invite you to share that inspiration with others in any way you can, and most of all, to enjoy and appreciate it while you can. And even better, if you can create your own worlds, do it. Do not let anything stop you or put you down. Only you can tell your own story and the world just might be a more creative place if you do. Thank you all for reading, this will be the last installment of these tributes (unless you ask for more for a particular artist or writer), it's been a great ride looking back at these wonderful legacies, and I hope you enjoyed it as well. See you all next week, until then, thank you.