Acclaimed Comics Artist Juan Gimenez Dies Due To Coronavirus

Juan Giménez, an Argentine comic book artist who contributed work to the Heavy Metal animated movie in the '80s, has passed away due to complications from COVID-19. He was 76 years old. Giménez was bornin 1943, in Mendoza, Argentina. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Barcelona, and after working for a while in advertising (where he says he learned a lot of storytelling and artistic basics) ultimately went on to illustrate comics in Argentina, Spain, and Italy in the '70s, with a focus on war and science fiction stories. He worked more or less consistently up until 2005, and has had a fairly low profile since.

One of his best-known works is The Metabarons, which was written by creator and filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky. It ran from 1992 until 2003, and then was reprinted in English in collected editions by Humanoids from 2004 until 2010. The Metabarons carry a lot of influences from Frank Herbert's Dune -- especially notable since Jodorowsky famously tried to get a film verison off the ground in the early '70s.

In 1980, he designed the "Harry Canyon" segment of the animated film Heavy Metal, inspired by the beloved British comics anthology of the same name. Throughout the '80s, he worked on notable European comics magazines like the French-language Metal Hurlant and the Italian L'Eternauta. He earned particular acclaim for a number of science-fiction short stories published under the title of Time Paradox, and worked with writer Ricardo Barreiro on The City. In the '80s he also tried his hand at writing with Le Quatrième Pouvoir (The Fourth Power).

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While he may not have had as much commercial success in the United States as he did in Europe, Giménez is well-known by comic book professionals, and has been drawing praise on social media from people like Ron Marz, Cully Hamner, and Joyce Chin.

"I didn't know him but loved his work," said Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. "He was actually a major influence (don't know if it shows) on the more tech sci-fi bits of my old Ironwolf graphic novel."

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Batman Inc. and Officer Downe artist Chris Burnham called him "one of the greats," and said, "The Metabarons is an astounding artistic achievement and a huge influence on me. I haven’t read The Fourth Power or Leo Roa, so it’s good to know there are still works out there by the master that will be new to me."

Our hearts go out to Giménez's family, friends, and associates.