I was shocked to read of the death of comic artist Steve Dillon at the end of last month.
I’ve loved his artwork since I bought the very first issue of Warrior back in early 1982. This comic (and Steve’s contribution to it) was a massive influence on me. I was just eleven when that first issue appeared without fanfare at my local newsagents. I didn’t know anything about it but Steve’s cover drew me in and, once I’d thumbed through the pages, I had to buy it. Fifty pence was half my pocket money but it was well worth it.
I didn’t know it then but Warrior contained a wealth of British talent who would go on to redefine the comic-book landscape over the coming decades: Alan Moore, Gary Leech, Alan Davis, David Lloyd, John Bolton, Steve Moore, Paul Neary, Steve Parkhouse, Grant Morrison, Jim Baikie, Brain Bolland and, of course, Steve Dillon. I still have the full run of Warrior comics. They’re battered, well worn, yellowed with age, but still full of originality, oozing the punk energy of young creative minds testing their abilities.
Steve drew Laser Eraser and Pressbutton, tucked away at the end of the comic. His clean realistic style appealed immediately and I studied his artwork for hours. There’s a natural storytelling style on display even in this early work, an understanding of timing and animation that gives his work a cinematic quality.
Steve went on to co-create the comic anthology Deadline, a natural successor to Warrior, before working for the large american publishers. He’s probably best remembered for Preacher but for me Steve will always be the artist who captured my eleven-year-old imagination and took me on an adventure to dozens of different worlds.