RIP, Dave Simons
Because I know that many of my regular readers aren’t comics fans, I usually restrict my writing about comic-related subjects to our Comic Art Fridays feature.
Today, however, I’m going to break that rule.
Comic book artist Dave Simons died last evening, after a lengthy bout with cancer. He was 54 years old.
Dave worked extensively for both Marvel and DC Comics, most prominently as an inker, but often as a penciler and cover artist also. After his comics work thinned out, he turned to the animation field, where he provided storyboards for a number of popular series.
I never had the privilege of meeting Dave, but I did correspond with him a few times. Some time back, Dave e-mailed me about possibly doing a drawing for my Common Elements commission theme. He proposed a scenario involving Marvel Comics’ Ghost Rider, the character with which Dave was most closely associated.
At the time Dave wrote to me, my art budget was tapped out. But I promised him that I would get in touch with him within the next few months, and we’d see whether we could work something out.
Earlier this year, when word began circulating about the progressive seriousness of Dave’s cancer, I got back in touch with him, and commissioned him to do the drawing we had previously discussed. We decided that Dave would draw Ghost Rider racing motorcycles with the Barbara Gordon version of Batgirl. Dave, a major motorcycle buff, seemed genuinely enthused about the project. We swapped several cordial e-mails about the details of the scenario, and comparing reference photos from which Dave would create Batgirl’s bike.
Although we did not speak of it, I was aware that Dave’s health might prohibit him from completing the commission. But I also knew from the comics grapevine that, like many comics creators, he was in tough financial shape because of his medical expenses. If the amount I paid for the commission might help him in some small way, I was glad to do it. I also know how vital it is for people with life-threatening illnesses to be able to carry on with everyday life, and to do the things they enjoy as long as they’re able. If the prospect of working on my drawing gave Dave something to look forward to, I was glad for that as well.
A couple of months ago, I exchanged notes with Dave’s art representative. At that time, Dave was feeling somewhat better, even though his long-term prognosis was not good. The doctors then were giving him six months. Dave was determined to outlast that limitation.
I was deeply saddened to hear that he did not.
Dave’s friend and biographer Daniel Best has posted a poignant and eloquent memorial to Dave on his blog. I encourage you to read it, and to learn more about this fine artist and gentleman.
I wish that I had known him better myself.
Rest in peace, Dave.