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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Steve Whitaker (1955-2008)

I was sorry to hear about the death of Steve Whitaker, who died suddenly on Friday, 22 February, at the age of 52. He died suddenly: feeling unwell, he was travelling to see a doctor by taxi when he collapsed. Although he was revived, he later died in hospital.

I probably became aware of his name in the 1980s through the pages Fantasy Advertiser and various Harrier Comics' anthologies Swiftsure and Avalon, along with two issue's of Guy Lawley's Man Elf for Trident; he was an incredibly active and enthusiastic supporter of, and contributor to, small press comics in the 1980s and 1990s although he was probably best know for his colouring work for Marvel UK, 2000AD and for DC's colour version of V For Vendetta, where he ably assisted David Lloyd.

I didn't know him well but our paths crossed in the early 1990s when I was editing Comic World. He was working at the London Cartoon Centre at the time and I also bumped into him (not literally as he was incredibly tall and easy to spot) at the offices of Tundra UK, the SSI and at UKCAC. He was incredibly knowledgeable about comics and artists and the techniques of how to put comics together, knowledge which he shared with hundreds of students as a teacher at the various incarnations of the LCC, at East Ham College and many workshops at conventions and festivals. This desire to share culminated in the publication of The Encyclopedia of Cartooning Techniques, originally published in 1994 and republished in 2002; the most recent edition was published in 2006.

A memorial special issue of B-APA (British Amateur Press Association) is to be compiled, to be made available at CAPTION, the British small press gathering held in Oxford in August.

A good round-up of tributes and more about Whitaker's career can be found at John Freeman's Down the Tubes. Examples of Steve's recent art can be found on his livejournal page and flickr album.

Steve CV from the early 1990s has been posted here.

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