Comics artist John Watkiss has passed away of cancer at the age of 55. Watkiss was a well known British artist whose work includes individual issues of Sandman, Conan the Barbarian, and Detective Comics. His most recent comics work was the ongoing Image series Surgeon X, written by Sara Kenney and edited by former Vertigo head Karen Berger.
Watkiss was born in 1961 and started his career in art at the prestigious storyboardinf firm Saatchi & Saatchi. His first comics work was an issue of Sandman for DC Comics, followed by the four issue miniseries Ring of Roses, which was initially published by Dark Horse and recently re-released by Titan Comics. More recent comics work includes a run on Deadman and working on DC's Human Target comic.
Watkiss went to work for Disney as an film development artist. His credits at Disney include Tarzan, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and Treasure Planet. Watkiss eventually left Disney, but continued to occasionally provide storyboards for various film and TV projects. Watkiss also contributed storyboards for Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes movie and the AMC TV adaptation of The Walking Dead.
Various comics professionals noted John Watkiss's passing on Twitter, including Sandman writer Neil Gaiman, who shared the following tweets:
I just heard that the astoundingly talented John Watkiss has died. I loved his Sandman work. Last time I saw him I bought this painting. pic.twitter.com/jn3Xb9sDFz— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) January 21, 2017
A beautiful John Watkiss painting done as part of a pitch for a series of Sandman movies, in about 2005. pic.twitter.com/2XZ2NAzzDT— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) January 21, 2017