How did John Paul Leon die? Fans pay tribute to Batman, X-Men comic book artist dead at 49: 'A stellar talent'

While the cause of his death has not been officially declared a GoFundMe page created by Leon's studio mate Tommy Lee Edwards states the artist died after a 14-year battle with cancer

                            How did John Paul Leon die? Fans pay tribute to Batman, X-Men comic book artist dead at 49: 'A stellar talent'
John Paul Leon died at age 49 (Facebook)

Comic book creator John Paul Leon, best known for his artwork for 'Static' and 'Earth X', died on May 1, 2021 at the age of 49. The news came via Chris Conroy, a senior editor at DC Comics. He wrote: "It seems the news is out. Last night we lost John Paul Leon, one of the greatest draftsmen in the history of comics, the kind of artist that EVERY artist revered. Those who loved him had some warning, but not enough."

He further said, "Because of the long gestation period of BATMAN: CREATURE OF THE NIGHT, working with JP just might have been one of the longest professional relationships of my career. Every minute of it was a joy. I’ve never worked with anyone as kind, as thoughtful, as dedicated." He also said, "In addition to all of his other gifts, JP was an architect of the Milestone universe. STATIC #1 will unquestionably be dedicated to him." While the cause of his death has not been officially declared a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $2000, created by Tommy Lee Edwards states the artist "passed away at 10 am, May 2nd, after a 14-year battle with cancer. JP's wish was to have any funds from his art sales go into a trust for his 17-year-old daughter, and help fund her future education and interests in engineering. Proceeds from this GoFundMe page will help get this trust started while helping JP's family transition through this difficult period." The campaign far exceeded its goal and has raised over $10,498 at the time of updating this article. JP is survived by his wife, daughter, and older brother. By request of the Leon family, this funding page is managed JP's studio-mates Edwards and Bernard Chang, the page notified. 


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Leon began his career when he was just 16 years old, illustrating for the Dragon and Dungeon magazines. His move to comics began with RoboCop and RoboCop: Prime Suspect for Dark Horse Comics. He then joined DC Comics and worked on 'Static and Static Shock!: Rebirth of the Cool', helping launch the Milestone Comics Universe. He also worked on 'The Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix', 'The Winter Men' and 'Batman: Creature of the Night'. He bagged a nomination for an Eisner along with Tom King for his work on the short story 'Black Death in America'. which debuted in Vertigo's CMYK: Black issue.

Comic book writer Ron Marz remembered Leon and said, "Every writer has a list of artists they want to work with. John Paul Leon was always on my list. An utterly unique talent who made a classic artistic tradition very much his own. My heart hurts for the loved ones he left behind, and for the brilliance stolen from all of us." Writer Tom King tweeted, "John Paul Leon was a comic book humanist. He grounded the inherent absurdity of conveying myth and story through inked panels by insisting the emotional struggle of our lived experience be in every line, every picture. And he was a joy of a man, kind and funny, to the end. RIP."





Shannon Eric Denton wrote, "RIP John Paul Leon. What a stellar talent and kind voice within our industry. You will be missed by many. #johnpaulleon." Remembering him, another one said, "John Paul Leon, the founding artist of Milestone's STATIC, has passed beyond the mortal coil. Hopefully, he and Robert Washington the 3rd are collaborating on something new and pitching it to God. He'll definitely greenlight it."





Meanwhile, on social media there was shock as the news of his death spread and one person tweeted, "Absolutely gutted to hear about John Paul Leon's passing. Possibly the very best artist I've ever worked with (and I doubt any other artists would be offended by my saying that). Didn't know him well, but had been meaning to drop him a line. F*ck." Calling him an "inspiration" another one said, "Just learned that John Paul Leon has passed away. A transcendent talent who was a constant inspiration to every artist I know, myself included, he’s already missed. Deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fans."





"I'm devastated. My art hero, John Paul Leon has passed away. I was lucky enough to meet him a few times, and he was so sweet, so kind. Considerate in all the ways you'd imagine an artist of such skill and inspiration would be. My most sincere condolences to his family and friends," tweeted one. Suggesting some of Leon's best work, one said, "John Paul Leon was probably one of my favourite comics artists and I'm really bummed to hear that he died. If you've never read it, I really recommend The Winter Men (written by Brett Lewis) that Leon did the art for. (It's out of print I think, which is unfortunate.)"





Leon also contributed artwork to a number of style guides for comic book films, including 'Superman Returns', 'Batman Begins', 'Green Lantern' and 'The Dark Knight'.

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