Comic book artist Paul Ryan, a Hudson resident and Somerville native, died on March 6, according to several comic book news websites including Comic Book Resources, Bleeding Cool News and others. The cause of his death was not disclosed. He was 66.
"Ryan began a lengthy career with Marvel Comics in 1985," writes Comic Book Resources assistant editor Brett White, "by inking two issues of 'The Thing.' He then landed his first ongoing series as penciler with 'Squadron Supreme' in 1986. In 1987 he illustrated 'Amazing Spider-Man Annual' #21 — the wedding of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson."
Afterward, Ryan enjoyed acclaimed runs on comic books including "D.P.7," "Avengers," "Avengers West Coast," "Quasar," "Iron Man," "Fantastic Four," "The Flash" and "Superman." For the past decade, Ryan's work has been seen on the "Phantom" comic strip, according to White.
Ryan was a frequent visitor to That's Entertainment in Worcester, where, according to manager Ken Carson, he participated in several events for the store.
"Many of you I'm sure met Paul here," wrote Carson, on the store's Facebook page, "whether at our Pro-Am Comic Jam in 1996; several subsequent Free Comic Book Day appearances at both our locations; the Avengers Day celebration; or at the recent unveiling of the Lois Lane street sign — where Paul drew beautiful images of Lois for attendees. He was a meticulous craftsman, but Paul enjoyed friendly banter as he sketched & signed for fans — and he had a mischievous sense of humor! He could say outlandish things with a straight face, but a sparkle in his eye would give him away."
Artist Veronica Fish, who is perhaps most well-known for her recent work for Archie Comics, wrote on her blog that she and her husband, artist Andy Fish, were saddened to learn of Ryan's death, noting that Ryan was Andy Fish's mentor and close friend for many years.
"It hurts so much when you think, 'but we just spoke with him 2 days ago,' and seemingly overnight he is gone," she writes.
"I'm currently tearing my studio apart trying to find the gorgeous Mary Jane/Spider-Man pencil sketch Paul gave me years ago," writes Veronica, "I KNOW it's around here somewhere. When I first met my (future) husband through a comic art class at the Worcester Art Museum, he would always reference Paul's words of wisdom, his advice, his work habits and practices.
"In fact, when I learned that comic art was done at 11x17 size or larger, the first example of real comic art I'd ever seen was one of Paul's — the Phantom riding his white horse through the jungle."