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Death Is No Obstacle ◦ Obituaries Dedicated to those of special significance to our members, whether famous or personal, or with special relevance to Mike's work who have passed away. More general announcements or tributes to recent deaths should be made in the 'In Memoriam' forum.

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Old 02-24-2008, 01:03 AM
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Default Death of Steve Whitaker

With great sadness I must announce the death of one of my oldest friends, the artist and comics historian Steve Whitaker.

Steve drew the first two issues of the Man-Elf comic, and though he had been replaced by the third issue, when Jerry Cornelius entered the story, Steve had enjoyed creating his version of Jerry for promotional material. I really liked his Jerry! Steve’s cover of Trident Comics’ promo booklet can be seen here:

The guitar Jerry is holding is an example of Steve’s obsessional sense of detail. He reasoned that Jerry might have one of Hendrix’s left hand guitars, but as a right-handed player, play it upside down. Touches like that enriched everything he did. (I’ll take credit for the vibragun that looks like a tin toy ray gun, beautifully rendered by Steve!)

The Jerry you see here looks very much like a “Swinging London” image; I hope those who know the comic will recall that we did our best to undercut that kind of cliché in our depiction of Jerry. (It made a fun promotional image though!) Steve understood completely why I wanted to use that kind of image and then screw with it. (So did Richard Weston; hence the dirty, tattered flag on the cover of issue 3!)

Steve was a very talented colourist; his major contribution to the mainstream was in the DC comics colour version of V for Vendetta. He was one of two assistants taken on by David Lloyd. David knew that Steve was one of the few people who could grasp and apply the limited palate he wanted.

He also loved mazes and labyrinths. An underground maze would have been an important part of Man-Elf book 2, if we had got that far. Miss Brunner would have been driven entertainingly insane in it. It was entirely inspired by Steve. He had a far richer cultural life as a lover of fine and popular art, music and film than I will ever have.

Steve was the kind of fellow who inspired tributes like “gentle giant”, and he was a kind and generous man. In the field of comics history he had few peers. The conversations we used to have about comics had a depth and breadth which will be irreplaceable, and it was approximately 98% his knowledge that we were sharing. On those few occasions that I was able to inform him of something he didn’t know, I felt I was adding to a great archive. How much of that survives his death we don’t yet know.

Steve died suddenly on Friday February 22 2008, almost certainly from a stroke. He will be hugely missed.

Guy Lawley
Feb 24th 2008

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Old 02-24-2008, 01:18 AM
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Very sorry to hear of your loss, Guy. His work on the DC VFV was both subtle and effective.

Some other online obits of Steve:
D'Blog of 'Israeli: Steve Whitaker RIP
The Tim Perkins Blog: Steve Whitaker Sad News…
fictions: Steve Whitaker RIP news blog: In Memoriam: Steve Whitaker
_"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
_For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
_And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
_He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:26 AM
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Thanks David. I should add that Steve was 52, which makes this extra-sad; he could have had so much longer.
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:39 AM
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Sad news Guy, 52 is no age. Condolences to Steve's family and friends...
'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:16 PM
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Thanks Marca. Some of us had a very low-key get-together today to honour Steve's memory. Lots of great stories and a feeling that a rich life was being celebrated. But yes, 52 years is too short a span.
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Old 02-24-2008, 05:44 PM
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What a loss, Guy--for you and for others. Best wishes at a difficult time.
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Old 03-12-2008, 09:12 PM
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Guy, sorry for the bump, but I've just read this. I am so sorry you lost your friend. Terrible news indeed.
Infinite complexity according to simple rules.
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Old 03-13-2008, 12:49 AM
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I am sorry for your loss,Guy.

My sympathies.

I apologize for writing late.
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Old 03-24-2008, 11:39 AM
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Could I just add my belated condolences on the passing of Steve Whitaker - I'm sorry I didn't find this tread until now.

I didn't know Steve, but had come across his work in various British comics and fanzines, and it's always sad to hear of the untimely death of anyone you're connected to, no matter how indirectly.

My sympathies to all his friends and family.
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Old 08-13-2010, 12:36 AM
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I know this is a bit late, but I was very sad to hear recently about Steve's death.

I met him a couple of times in the mid-90s at the Caption small press comics convention in Oxford. As well as being a fine artist, he was also very good company and clearly generous with his time and talent.
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