Saturday, June 28, 2008

Michael Turner

We got the news late last night that Michael Turner had passed away. He was 37 years old.

Not sure what to say or think but I'd like to share a little personal experience. I think it was a little over 10 years (I've never been good at measuring time) ago that I got my break at Top Cow. The editor for Witchblade at the time was Dennis Heisler. He had gotten my samples and thought I was good enough to do some assistant work for them. I was told Mike was running a little behind schedule on Witchblade and that I was brought in to help him out. Mike wasn't big on the idea and got caught up really quick and finished his issue. To his credit, he took so much pride in his work that he wanted to make sure every page he turned in was done solely by him. I had mixed feelings. Although I was disappointed to not get the work I had a tremendous amount of respect for that. You've got to respect anyone that takes that much pride in their work.

Some time later, the monthly grind of working in comics had caught up to him and Mike eventually opened to the idea of getting some help. He brought me in to help on an issue of Witchblade-- I can't remember which issue it was but it had dinosaur bones and a museum in it. He showed me what, where, and how to draw the props and background elements. He laid things out very specifically and knew exactly what he wanted out of me. He was very much a perfectionist. I still can't believe how quickly he could lay out a book. I think it was here that he realized that he could maintain his vision despite someone helping out with the backgrounds. It was still his ideas, his aesthetics, and his vision that was making it to the page. It was an incredible learning experience for me.

I guess you could say that working for Mike was my "big break."

We'll miss him.

-Brian Ching

Both Newsarama and CBR have articles about Mike.