There are currently two months and nine days left of this lousy year that has taken so many good people from us, whilst leaving Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage untouched, to name but three bastards who deserve never to have drawn breath on this Earth at all.
That impossibly long list now has added to it the name of Steve Dillon, English comic book artist, aged 54.
He’s not likely to mean much to anyone outside of those interested in comics, but those who enjoyed this summer’s TV adaptation of Preacher should have seen his name in the credits, because he co-created the comic with Garth Ennis, and drew every regular issue of the series.
I’m not going to pretend Steve Dillon was a favourite of mine. He didn’t draw in any kind of ornate manner, nor did he fill panels with detail, or create innovative layouts. Instead, he drew with a crisp, clean line, creating clear, concise imagery that conveyed the story without fuss, bother, or anything that spoke of ‘hey, isn’t Steve Dillon so fucking clever then?’ Compared to a lot of artists, that is fucking clever indeed.
I first learned of Steve Dillon when he was still a teenager, drawing the Steve Moore-written ‘Laser Eraser and Pressbutton’ series in the seminal magazine, Warrior. I have all copies of that run, with Dillon’s signature in red ink against his opening page in one issue. I met him at one of the Eighties’ UKCAC’s I attended, a quiet man with dark curly hair, cut short on his neck, wearing a long, dark grey coat. He was seven years younger than me, born the same year as my sister.
It is terribly wrong for someone like him to have died before me. He should have had far longer, should have been free to draw many more pages. Preacher will be his monument, and there is a new onus on its makers to make it even better, so as to stand as a memorial deserving of standing beside the comic he drew.
It should not have to be what we will remember of him. He should have had more time to produce more things that would force to think long and hard before we chose one above the others.