Tom Palmer, Celebrated Marvel Comics Inker, Dead at 81

Tom Palmer, one of the most prolific and celebrated inkers in American comics, has passed away. He was 81 years old. The artist, who also did some pencils, colors, and cover art during the course of his decades-long career, started his career on Doctor Strange in 1968. He would continue to work for Marvel regularly until the early 2000s, and later in life would continue to work in comics, shifting his focus to smaller companies like Valiant and IDW.  Palmer also had a long career as a painter and illustrator in the advertising industry, working with companies like Hertz and Panasonic.

Palmer would go on to work with iconic artists like the Gene Colan and Neal Adams on a variety of Marvel titles. He would earn acclaim working on Colan especially, because the artist's style was notoriously difficult to ink, and Palmer had a reputation for making it work.

"We are very sad to share the news that legendary comic book inker and artist Tom Palmer passed away on August 18, 2022 at the age of 81," a post to Palmer's Facebook page said today. "He will be remembered fondly by his loving family and his many fans."

Besides working with Colan on Tomb of Dracula and Daredevil, some of the most distinctive-looking books Marvel was publishing at the time, Palmer inked Adams on Uncanny X-Men and John Buscema on The Avengers. Later, he would work on notable event series and miniseries like Magik, Marc Spector: Moon Knight, X-Men: The Hidden Years, and Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. He reached out of the staid, Silver Age mold you might identify his work with when he collaborated with Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. on Kick-Ass.

Besides seeing his work on the big screen in Kick-Ass's animated sequence, Palmer worked on film tie-ins and spinoffs, including the comics adaptation of Jaws 2 and Marvel's 1980s Star Wars comics, where he also pencilled and colored several issues, and painted a number of covers. In the days when major publishers used to make Classics Illustrated-style comic book adaptations of influential novels, Palmer drew The Man in the Iron Mask and The Three Musketeers.

During his career, Palmer won an Alley Award, a Comic Fan Art Award, and an Inkwell Award, as well as 2014's Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award from the Inkwells.

Palmer's son Tom Palmer Jr. followed him into the comics industry, best known for his Wizard magazine column Palmer's Picks, and for his time as an editor at DC.

Our condolences go out to Mr. Palmer's family, friends, fans, and collaborators during this difficult time.