Kevin O'Neill, the artist best known for his work on writer Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, has passed away, according to a report from Gosh Comics, a London comics retailer and blog. According to their post, O'Neill passed away last week following a long illness. O'Neill was a force in British comics for years, starting his career as a teen and then serving as both an artist and editor on the early days of the mega-successful anthology series 2000AD. There, he co-created characters like Marshal Law and Nemesis the Warlock, and built relationships that would continue throughout his long career.
Born in 1953, O'Neill is best known for League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a series he co-created with Moore in 1999. The pair would continue to collaborate on League and its spinoffs until 2019.
One of O'Neill's earliest American works was Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #2, which he drew from a script by Moore. That story has gone on to become a key issue for DC, since it introduced concepts that later materialized as the Blackest Night storyline from Geoff Johns. Ironically, O'Neill's work on the issue was briefly threatened when the Comics Code Authority refused to approve it. When pressed, they reportedly said that it was O'Neill's "entire style" they objected to. Ultimately, in what was still a rarity in the 1980s, DC elected to publish the book without the Code's approval.
He would continue to work with both Moore and Marshal law co-creator Pat Mills for years, with contributions to Moore's Moon and Serpent Bumper Book of Magic and Mills's Serial Killer were among some of his final published work. Earlier this year, he collaborated with Garth Ennis on Kids Rule OK! for Rebellion's Battle Action Special.
"What happened really was Alan retired me early," O'Neill joked with ComicBook.com's Jamie Lovett earlier this year. "Alan's retirement from comics, it meant he was stopping writing comics. That was the end of it. I didn't say I was retiring. I thought this might be the last comic I draw, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and I was very happy. We actually got to the ending and gave it a proper ending. That was very important to us to do that. But I was still up for doing comics, it just depended on what they were. I've illustrated two books of my own. They're not comic strip books, they're full-color illustrated books, and I've done two of them, and I was very pleased with them, but in the middle of that, I got the request from Rebellion, 'Would you be interested in the Garth story?' And that's perfect, and that was perfect for me, came just at the right moment. I really enjoyed it. I enjoy doing comics."
Our condolences to Mr. O'Neill's family, friends, collaborators, and fans during this difficult time.0comments