Without the creativity of illustrator Tim Sale, the modern superhero would not be what it is today. His dark, intense work on characters like Batman, Hulk, Spider-Man, and Superman, to name a few, contributed to building modern mythology and understanding of the character.
The sale was brought to the hospital earlier this week with “serious health concerns,” according to DC CEO and fellow icon Jim Lee. Sale died on Thursday, according to the report.
“It is with great regret that I must inform you that Tim Sale passed away today,” Sale’s Twitter account stated. “He died away with the love of his life by his side, and he adores you all.”
The cause of death has yet to be determined. With this post and homage, DC Comics acknowledged his death.
Sale, who was born in 1956, began working in comics in the 1980s and gained a fanbase in the 1990s. Sale rose to fame as a frequent collaborator with writer Jeph Loeb, whose book Batman: The Long Halloween catapulted him to fame.
The Long Halloween is an all-time comics classic that became a profoundly influential text for the character, not just in comics but in years of adaptation, with straight lines from it to Christopher Nolan’s movies and, especially, Matt Reeves’ The Batman.
Sale’s other notable Batman contributions include Legends of the Dark Knight and Dark Victory, as well as his work on Superman in the “Year One” style series Superman for All Seasons, while at Marvel, he helped shape the definitive early years of several heroes with color-themed origins such as Hulk: Grey, Daredevil: Yellow, Spider-Man: Blue, and Captain America: White, all of which were also with Loeb.
They also collaborated on the hit NBC show Heroes, which serves as another link between comic book culture and mainstream acceptance.
In fact, during a time when superheroes were still relatively unknown, Sale’s work demonstrated an understanding and reverence for these characters that most people outside of the comic book business lacked.
He contributed to the creation of stories that were cool and exciting, but also nuanced and emotional. He could convey what hundreds of words couldn’t. He’ll be sorely missed.
Tim was honored by Marvel Entertainment, which wrote: “Tim Sale was a legendary artist who created works of art in the comic book business and beyond.
His Color series for Marvel become magnificent masterpieces and are only a small part of his illustrious career.
“We are saddened by his passing today, and our hearts go out to his family and loved ones.”
DC also sent a condolence letter, which read: “Tim Sale was a phenomenal artist whose interpretations of classic characters had true human depth, and his revolutionary page designs revolutionized the way a generation of comic book readers thought about storytelling.