Ian Gibson, acclaimed longtime 2000 AD artist who drew Judge Dredd comics for the series for over thirty years and co-created Halo Jones with Alan Moore for the iconic The Ballad of Halo Jones, has passed away at the age of 77.
Gibson has been dealing with cancer for a long time, and had been letting his fans know that he didn’t have much time left over the weekend, wishing his fans a Happy Christmas, and then saying “Goodbye, thanks for all the love.” His son made the official announcement this afternoon, posting on social media, “It is with great sadness, I bring the news that my father Ian Gibson passed away at 1am this morning, losing his battle with cancer. He fought valiantly, and I was with him holding his hand right until his very last moments. The pain that swells inside me is immeasurable, but I know that he rests now his pain is over. He loved all of you so much, and he always spoke of how much you all meant to him, continuing to draw right up until he could no longer hold a pencil. Your kind words have helped us through this dark time, and now my father has gone to be with the many legends he helped create I know that he will live on, in all of our hearts and minds as the hero he was to so many.”
Gibson made his 2000 AD debut in the first year of the series’ existence, drawing a Judge Dredd story with writer John Warner in 1977’s 2000 AD Prog 14 (2000 AD referred to issue numbers as “Prog”). Gibson was a regular Judge Dredd artist for the next four years, working with first Wagner, and then later, the writing team of Wagner and Alan Grant.
In 1978, Gibson and Wagner created Robo-Hunter, a strip about a man who hunted down rogue robots. The series was a good deal more humorous in style than most other 2000 AD series at the time. It also marked the first time that Gibson’s art graced the cover of 2000 AD…
In 1984, Gibson and Alan Moore co-created Halo Jones as part of the feature, The Ballad of Halo Jones. Jones was an “everywoman” who Moore and Gibson would use to explore a highly realized look at what life in the future could be.
The intricate, imaginative artwork of Gibson paired beautifully with Moore’s inventive stories. The plan was to do nine books, detailing Jones’ entire life, but sadly, only three books were completed (detailing roughly ten years in her lifetime) before Moore quit the series in a dispute over ownership rights to the character. Gibson always wanted to return to the series, but obviously he respected Moore’s position. He noted to Gavin Hanly in 2002, “I’m very happy that Halo had such an effect. After all, that’s why I asked Alan to write a girl’s story. I thought it would make a difference… Alan and I had planned out Halo’s future to a conclusion, but the series was interrupted by the dispute over copyright allocation, where Alan wanted to have all writers, like John Wagner et al., get their fair dues after streaming out a steady supply of genius for so many years. That’s what I heard anyway – but I can’t speak with authority as I wasn’t involved in the negotiations. I have tried to contact Alan over the years, but with no luck. I have my own ideas of what could happen in the next couple of books that I’d have liked the chance to run past Alan, but I think he’s discarded the story from his future.”
During the late 1980s, as John Wagner and Alan Grant both made their way to American comics, so, too, did Ian Gibson. He drew a few issues of Green Lantern Corps during Steve Englehart’s run, and as a result, was the inker over Joe Staton on the 1988 DC crossover series, Millennium (written by Englehart). Gibson did finishes on at least one of the issues, and the finished work on the series had a clear Gibson influence to it…
Gibson then was the original artist on a new Mister Miracle ongoing series for DC in 1989…
John Wagner brought Gibson over to Dark Horse for an excellent Boba Fett miniseries in the late 1990s…
Gibson returned to 2000 AD a number of times over the years, including a Robo-Hunter revival in 2005 with the late Alan Grant starring Sam Slade’s granddaughter, Samantha Slade. Gibson’s last work for 2000 AD was in 2008.
Just earlier this year, Gibson crowdfunded one last comic book project, Lifeboat…
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