Ian Kennedy, Legendary UK Comics Artist, Dies At 89
British comic book artist Ian Kennedy, best known for his work on magazines like 2000 AD, has passed away. He was 89 years old. The news comes via the official 200 AD website, which had a remembrance of Kennedy, whose other work includes the 1980s relaunch of Dan Dare. Born in Dundee in 1932, Kennedy was began work as a trainee illustrator at DC Thomson & Co, where his first job was inking the black boxes of the crossword of the Sunday Post. He began freelancing with Amalgamated Press (later IPC) in 1954, working on titles like Hotspur, Adventure, Rover, Bunty, Judy, Wizard, Thriller Picture Library, and Air Ace. He went into semi-retirement in 1997, but has continued to do occasional covers.
"It is no hyperbole to describe Kennedy as a legend of British comics," 2000 AD said in their tribute. "ith a career spanning more than seven decades, his meticulously detailed but dynamic work graced dozens of titles, from Hotspur to Bunty, from Commando to 2000 AD."
While his love for World War II and aircraft battles would remain an artistic signature of Kennedy's, over the course of his career, Kennedy had to evolve his work to meet current trends, adpating to the science-fiction comics of the '60s and beyond, including 2000 AD itself. There, he worked on strips that included Judge Dredd and M.A.C.H. 1. In the '80s, he would preside over the revival of Dan Dare in Eagle, as well as Blake's 7 and M.A.S.K.
"I'm not totally retired," Kennedy told The Courier in 2015. "I do the odd commission, and I still do the odd Commando cover. I do little aircraft features for their inside back cover, too, which is an interesting little exercise.I work maybe three or four mornings a week. I try not to work the full day now, as I'm easily tired. I find if I do maybe two or three hours at the drawing board, that's enough. I'm pretty lucky. It's nice still to be involved, in a small way. If you're in your cot with a pencil and paper, as I was, it's inborn. It's just something that I still enjoy doing. I'm lucky enough to be able to do it at my own pace. It's almost a therapy."
Our thoughts go out to Kennedy's family, friends, fans, and collaborators.