Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy: The classic PREACHER trio.
It's never a good thing to wake up to find out that a friend whom you had just recently spent quality time with has unexpectedly joined the Choir Invisible. I awoke yesterday to discover that Steve Dillon, the legendary co-creator of PREACHER, was found dead at age 54 in his NYC hotel room after extending his latest trip to NYC from England.. I'd just seen him at the NY Comic Con and a hung out with him few weeks before during a memorable night out (pictured), so this is all quite surreal.
With Steve Dillon and Garth Ennis: Good times, barely a month ago.
I first became aware of Steve's work during his time illustrating THE MEAN ARENA for Britain's venerable 2000 A.D. weekly, and I followed his career from that point forward.
My first exposure to Steve's work.
Steve's work graced the pages of countless comics for numerous publishers, and among his many triumphs were:
LASER ERASER & PRESSBUTTON
My favorite of Steve's pages from HELLBLAZER. I wanted to buy the original art but Steve sold it ages ago. He once offered to re-draw it for me but I hope to someday track down the genuine article. (Yeah, good luck with that now...)
The infamous story in which Judge Dredd becomes a werewolf.
His legendary run on THE PUNISHER with Garth Ennis again handling the scripting.
An ATOM one-shot for DC Comics.
And of course PREACHER, in which, among other hilarious offenses against general decency, Steve and Garth gave the world Arseface.
I first met Steve when he was in town during a stopover on the way to San Diego when he and Garth Ennis had just begun their infamous run on PREACHER, and on that night I somehow survived throwing back far two many adult libations with them and Glenn Fabry and John McCrea, all of whom I was meeting for the first time, and I somehow made it work at Marvel the next morning. That was in 1995 and we stayed friends ever since, with me going to see Steve whenever he was visiting NYC from the U.K.
Steve drawing the Saint of Killers for a fan at Manhattan's Jim Hanley's Universe in 2009.
Steve Dillon was a complete and utter sweetheart of an individual and one would be hard pressed to find anyone in the comics industry who had a negative word to say about him as a human being. Aleays with a smile on his face and a kind word for all, he was a true pleasure to be around and I consider it a profound honor to have been able to call him a friend. Now he's gone to Valhalla or Sto'Vo'Kor or wherever the worthy go when claimed, all too soon, by the Reaper. I wish him a well-desrved and peaceful rest, and if reincarnation is actually a thing, I hope he comes back as a well-poured pint of Guinness with a proper shamrock drawn in his foamy head. It may be a tad too late to wish you a heartfelt slàinte, but I do so now anyway.
My 44th birthday party. (L-R) Steve Dillon, Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, Yer Bunche.
Same crew as above, only with Jill Friedman also included.
Anyway, the long and short of it is that you were loved, Steve Dillon, and you were a peach. Rest well.
Steve manning the funnel, so that we could drink from the skull of an enemy.