After a long battle with cancer, artist Michael Turner passed away on Friday night in Santa Monica, California.
"A nicer guy never lived.
A better friend you could never want.
And he loved my Sam."
Statement issued at Marvel's Secret Invasion panel.
Turner was discovered by Marc Silvestri at a convention, and hired by Silvestri's Top Cow Productions as an artist. He initially did background illustrations for Top Cow titles before co-creating Witchblade. In the summer of 1998 he debuted the creator-owned Fathom, having also worked on his new series Soulfire. As well as an artist, Turner was an award-winning water skier, held an instructor level red sash in martial arts, and was an avid video game player. In March 2000, Turner was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma, a form of cancer, in the right pelvis. He was treated at UCLA Medical Center with surgery in which he lost his entire hip, 40% of his pelvis, and three pounds of bone. The surgery was followed by nine months of radiation therapy.
Turner departed Top Cow in late 2002 to found his own comic book publishing company, Aspen MLT Inc. (where MLT stands for Michael Layne Turner), located in Santa Monica, with a studio in Marina del Rey, California. The release of comics from Aspen was delayed by a year-long lawsuit with Top Cow Productions over the rights to Fathom, and over the rights to the unreleased titles Soulfire (initially called Dragonfly) and Ekos, both of which Turner had begun development on before leaving Top Cow and before his diagnosis of cancer. Aspen and Top Cow settled the lawsuit out of court in 2003.
In 2004 Turner contributed covers to various DC Comics titles, including The Flash and Identity Crisis. He also provided cover art and co-wrote the "Godfall" story arc that ran in the three main Superman titles in early 2004. He also illustrated the six-issue "Supergirl from Krypton" story arc in Superman/Batman. His creator-owned title Soulfire also began publication in 2004, and Fathom resumed publication in that year as well, though this time with Aspen MLT rather than Top Cow.
On August 6, 2005, Marvel Comics announced the signing of Michael Turner to a work-for-hire deal for a 6-issue project and covers. This would turn out to be at least the variant covers for the miniseries Civil War and the new Wolverine ongoing series Wolverine: Origins. In addition Turner had been announced as the artist on Ultimate Wolverine.
At 10:42 PM Pacific Daylight Time on June 27, 2008 Turner died after a long battle with cancer at the Santa Monica Hospital in California.