John Paul Leon, a beloved comic artist known for his work on titles like Static, Earth X, and Batman: Creature of the Night, has passed away at the age of 49. The news was confirmed on Sunday by multiple people in the comic industry, including DC Senior Editor Chris Conroy. The cause of Leon's death is currently unknown at this time. Born on April 26, 1972 in New York City, Leon first began working in the world of illustration at the age of sixteen, with black-and-white illustrations in Dragon and Dungeon magazines. After studying under Will Eisner, Walter Simonson, and Jack Potter while at New York's School of Visual Arts, Leon's first official comic work came in 1992 the form of Dark Horse's RoboCop miniseries.
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. pic.twitter.com/1x73cComE7— Chris Conroy (@ConroyForReal) May 2, 2021
Leon is regarded to be one of the architects of the Milestone Comics universe, providing pencils for the initial Static miniseries in 1993, which established te fan-favorite hero Static Shock. Just a few years later, he helped put his stamp on the Marvel Comics universe with the Earth-X maxiseries. His work also includes The Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix, Animal Man, Challengers of the Unknown, and The Winter Men. He was previously nominated for an Eisner for his work on the short story "Black Death in America" alongside Tom King, which appeared in Vertigo's CMYK: Black issue.
He also provided a number of memorable covers and variant covers for titles such as Sgt Fury and his Howling Commandos, Detective Comics, Hellblazer, Mother Panic, DMZ, and The Sheriff of Babylon. His most recent work included the four-issue miniseries Batman: Creature of the Night, and a story with King and Dave Stewart in July's upcoming Batman/Catwoman Special.
In addition to his comic work, Leon provided style guides for films such as Superman Returns, Batman Begins, Green Lantern, and The Dark Knight.
Our thoughts are with Leon's family, friends, and fans at this time.