It’s a sad day for comic book fans.
We here at Comic Book Resources are very sad to report that artist Michael Turner has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 37. Aspen Comics’ Vince Hernandez told CBR News Saturday morning that Turner passed away Friday night at 10:42 Pacific Time at Santa Monica Hospital in Calfiornia. The news spread quickly at Wizard World Chicago, during what would have otherwise been a riotous night at the hotel bar, the mood suddenly turned somber with remembrances of Turner from friends and acquaintances. A minute of silence will be observed during Wizard World Chicago Saturday afternoon.
Turner was diagnosed with Cancer in 2000 and it had gone into remission and returned numerous times since.
I remember the first time I met Turner. It was Comic-Con International (long ago, I forget the year, but it was only my second time at the “big con”) and I saw him walking through the Sails Pavilion a few yards away from me. I squinted.
“Is that Michael Turner?” I asked my fellow convention traveller and brother in law.
“I think it is.” he said.
I jogged over to where he had just entered the pavilion and tapped him on the arm. He turned to me and smiled.
“Are you Michael Turner?” I asked. His smile widened.
“I am!” he said, seeming quite happy that I knew who he was. I proceded to blather on about how much I loved his work on Witchblade and how much I was enjoying the brand new comic he was just releasing, Fathom. He smiled again, said thank you and asked if I had anything to sign. I didn’t, but I did have a sketchbook and I asked him if maybe he could sketch something for me.
“Oh man, I don’t have time right now… But how about I sign the page now and I’ll catch you later to fill in the sketch?” I agreed and he signed the bottom of a page in my sketchbook and kept apologizing for not having the time to do a “proper sketch”. Said he’d “make it up to me”.
I’ve seen him in passing since then, at various conventions and even got a few signatures on a few comics, but never caught him at a time when he could do what he kept calling a “proper sketch”. I’ll never get my sketch now, but I’d be more than happy to forfeit my chance at getting that proper sketch if it meant the comics world wouldn’t lose such a wonderful talent.
Those who have met Turner, even if only for a moment, can tell you what a genuinely happy and friendly person he was. I don’t think I’d ever seen him without a smile on his face while he was talking to fans or other artists.
The last time I saw Michael Turner was the last time I attended Comic-Con International, which was a couple of years prior to my moving here to Minnesota. He seemed tired, but still as open and friendly as ever.
I don’t pretend to be his friend, but I have a feeling that everyone who has met Michael was seen by him as a friend.
The people at Aspen MLT is urging people wishing to donate in Michael’s name to do so at either of the following charities.
Rest In Peace, Michael.