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Checkmate Co-Creator Steve Erwin Dies At The Age Of 60, RIP

Steve Erwin, co-creator of Checkmate and Gunfire for DC Comics, has died at the age of 63, after suffering a sudden heart attack.

Steve Erwin, comic book creator and co-creator of Checkmate and Gunfire for DC Comics, has died at the age of 63 after suffering a sudden heart attack. After studying commercial art at Oklahoma State University-Okmulgee, he was hired by First Comics to draw Grimjack in 1986. and the series Shatter before working for DC Comics with The Vigilante in 1987. He co-created the title Checkmate! with Paul Kupperberg, and with Marv Wolfman launched the Deathstroke The Terminator title in 1991, with which Erwin became associated. The run also saw him create the popular Gunfire character with Len Wein, which had its own spinoff series. His tendency to sneak celebrity cameos into his work saw him given the gig to draw the comic book adaptation of Batman Returns, followed by the Independence Day adaptation, Star Trek: The Next Generation Shadowheart, the graphic novel The Ashes of Eden, and the Mike Danger series published by Tekno Comix, and Larry Niven's Death By Ecstacy. In recent years, he has been a familiar face at conventions across the world, but mostly in Oklahoma. Friends and colleagues have been sharing their memories of the man.

Checkmate Co-Creator Steve Erwin Dies At The Age Of 60, RIP
Steve Erwin screencap

Paul Kupperberg: I don't know the circumstances, but RA Jones just announced the death of Steve Erwin, my co-creator on CHECKMATE and Black Thorn. Steve was a talented artist and storyteller and while I didn't know him well, what I did know I always liked.

Tom Floyd:RA Jones, just posted a little while ago that artist Steve Erwin has passed away!!!! This is a terrible blow to me, Steve just sent me post 2 days ago about wanting to do an Elite Comics crew reunion maybe next summer at a con somewhere. I hired Steve to take over pencil/art duties on my Elite title 'the Epsilon Wave' back in the 80's. Steve had just finished a run on a comic called 'Shatter' for First comics. Steve unfortunately took over my book on its last issue to be published – but that's another story… Godspeed Steve…

Patch Zircher: Rest in peace, Steve Erwin. Co-creator of Checkmate, with a fine run on Deathstroke, great work on Star Trek, New Gods, Titans, Hawk & Dove, and the adaptation of Batman Returns. An excellent draftsman & storyteller who should have come to more attention with editors and readers.

Sterling Gates:Seeing reports that comic artist Steve Erwin has passed away. A native Tulsan, Steve was a big inspiration for Okie comic fans (like me), especially when drawing huge DC books like Deathstroke the Terminator, Checkmate, and the Batman Returns adaptation. Amazing talent. R.I.P.

Jimmy Palmiotti: So sad to hear of the passing of comic book artist Steve Erwin. I was lucky enough to work with him many years ago. Rest in Peace my friend.

Keith Wilson: Last night we lost my fellow comic book artist, friend and colleague, Steve Erwin . Steve made his mark on the comics industry with his work on DC Comics Deathstroke the Terminator, Checkmate, and Star Trek, just to name a few. Steve has been in my orbit both personally and professionally for the more than 4 decades, and seldom did you not see us seated next to each other at local DFW comic cons. And for the last almost ten years we've worked together at Gemmy Industries as product designers and illustrators. Steve was one of the kindest, most thoughtful and creative people I've ever had the pleasure of working with. We also shared a love of classic radio shows, and he was a particular fan of The Lone Ranger. My card for today became a tribute to my friend Steve. He will be greatly missed. Please keep his wife Brenda, daughter Paige and son Daniel in your thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. #originalart #inktober #inktoberchallenge #loneranger #Deathstroke #dccomics #StarTrek

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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