Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Kevin O'Neill: His bestiary was finished this century

Kevin O'Neill was a truly unique comic artist. Even if he has inspired legions of imitators and emulators, nobody else ever got that balance between sharp brutality and screamingly funny wit that O'Neill gave the world.

He was there for the earliest days of 2000ad, crafting the look of the galaxy's greatest comic; his entire art style famously gave the Comic Code Authority the complete shits; and he was the one guy most responsible for British comic creators getting actual credit on their comics.

And his art was always incredible. His infinitely vivid imagination produced gargantuan alien architecture and robotic designs like Ro-Jaws and Hammerstein that will live forever. His use of colour was sublime, his panel-to-panel pacing was so strong and dynamic that it overcame any stiffness in the figurework. He had an excellent sense of comic timing.

He did weird Lobo specials and Death Race 2000 sequels, and he's responsible for the escalating magnificence of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comics and the entire baroque sweep of his Nemesis comics.

Kevin has always been one of my favourite comic artists on this world. Getting hold of the first chapter of the proper Nemesis series literally changed my life.

And he was working to the end, and there have been promises of new Bonjo From Beyond The Stars comics with Garth Ennis. It would be a worthy final chapter for the artist and his magnificent sense of humour. Dash Decent is still funny as hell, and I'm still finding genuine hilarity in the backgroudn of his wonderful Marshall Law work. (Especially the crossover issues.)

Kevin O'Neill only ever set out to entertain - to make you laugh or to make you go 'wow!' -and somehow gave us such brilliance. We should be so lucky more often.




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