Jason Pearson, Creator Of Body Bags, Died In December Aged 52
Comic book creators mourn the loss of Jason Pearson, who died of a stroke last month at the age of 52.
Yesterday, the news began to emerge that comic book creator Jason Pearson, had recently died. In the early hours of this morning, his family posted the sad news that the creator of Body Bags, and artist known for Deadpool, Spider-Man, Batman, Legion of Super-Heroes, Savage Dragon, Tom Strong, Global Frequency and the X-Men had died last year, on the 19th of December, we learned later from a stroke. They wrote;
It is with immeasurable sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Jason Trent Pearson, who died last month from natural causes, at the age of 52.
Jason leaves behind a legacy of work that will be cherished by readers for decades to come. His hyper-kinetic style and breathless pace will be studied by both aspiring artists and seasoned professionals as long as the comic book medium exists. While sometimes a controversial figure, no one could ever question his commitment to the craft or the quality of work he produced as both a writer and artist.
Jason secured his name on thousands of bookshelves through his original creation, Body Bags. Debuting in 1996 from Dark Horse Comics and Blanc Noir (the imprint shared with his studio mates from Atlanta's famed Gaijin Studios), Body Bags instantly sold out and shot to the top of the 'Wizard Top-10' List (the most influential ranking of valuable comics throughout the '90s). Created, written, and drawn by Jason, the bombastic series told the story of Mack and Panda, a father/daughter bounty hunting team wreaking havoc in the near future. The title overflowed with dark comedy, drama, explosive action, and provocative scenes, inviting equal condemnation and praise. But the quality of Jason's potent creation has kept Body Bags in the minds and hearts of comic fans to this day.
Without question, Jason confirmed his legacy as a creative force, hinting at the years ahead when his pencil would grace the biggest properties at the biggest publishers.
These comics include Spider-Man, Deadpool, X-Men, Batman, The Punisher, and countless others. While his creative abilities were unquestioned, those abilities were only constrained by his personal quest for perfection. To his fans, he achieved that perfection over and over again, although he was rarely satisfied.
Jason is survived by his loving mother, family, and friends who all miss him dearly, and would give anything to hear his laugh one more time.
As Jason once wrote when another prominent creator passed away:
"D.I.P. (Draw in Peace)
At least in Heaven, there are no erasers or deadlines."
Jason Pearson was one of the original members of the Atlanta, Georgia-based Gaijin Studios, and his Body Bags comic was the debut title for the Blanc Noir line of titles produced by Gaijin Studios for Dark Horse Comics, and was enthusiastically received by comic book fans. Despite working for many companies on many projects, he found himself returning to the series about a Hispanic father & daughter team of assassins, Mack Delgado Clownface and teenage daughter, Panda. This was despite his own misgivings on occasion, and he leaves an unfulfilled Kickstarter campaign from 2015. Many creators shared their memories of the man.
C.B. Cebulski: There were people who befriended me early in my career who taught me about art & changed the way I look at comics; Jason Pearson was one of them. Such a tremendous talent. His style was unmistakable. It'd been years since we spoke, but I always remained a fan. Rest in peace.
Michael Alexandropoulos: It's with profound sadness to announce the passing of one of my best friends and legendary artist Jason Pearson. He is survived by his mother Rosie Pearson. It was her decision to keep this from the public till after the holiday season to spare everyone this tremendous loss and grief.
I and others who were very close to Jason are just devasted by this news. He had turned the corner and was very happy with how life was going for him. His demons had been beaten and he was looking forward to showing the world his Body Bags masterpiece.
Those like me who were lucky enough to know the real man that he was.
Caring, loving, spiritual, stubborn, outspoken, late to everything, funny, sucked at Call of Duty, and most of all loyal to his friends and family. We will miss him terribly. His voice. His guidance. His laugh and most of all his unwavering love. The world has lost a great artist we have lost a brother.
I will miss you bro. I can't believe your gone. See you on the other side
Scott Dunbier: Unbelievable and tragic. Much too young. A great talent. Gonna miss you, friend, rest in peace.
Joyce Chin: Jason was a brilliant, funny guy, who really lost his way some time ago, and struggled with himself and everyone around him. I'd always hoped he could find his way back. We own one cover of his. Jason Pearson, you were far too young, and had so many tales left untold.
Tom Feister: Jason Pearson was fantastically talented guy, and complicated too. I'm choosing to remember the guy who spent time goofing around and wrestling with my son when he came our studio. Jason was GREAT with kids. RIP Jay.
JH Williams III: I remember years and years ago us discussing our mutual love of Michael Golden's art — Despite the unfortunate difficult problems that plagued Jason Pearson, it's sad that he's passed away, and I hope there is some sort of peace.
Kody Chamberlain: Damn. This one hits hard. Jason Pearson has passed away, age 52. He was an early champion of mine back in the days of CAPE in Dallas, Texas. Showing my work around, giving me pointers, just being a nice guy. Rest in peace.
Michael Oeming: Draw in peace, #jasonpearson
Cully Hamner: By now the news about the passing of my old Gaijin studiomate Jason Pearson is out. To say he was a singular talent is, at best, an understatement. He always stood out as that, from the first time we met at the start of the '90s, to the 7 years we spent as studiomates, to now. He was great *at everything*. He could draw like nobody's business in a style that was unique to him. He was an excellent storyteller, draftsman, inker, colorist… you name it. Whatever angle you could come at comic art, he was formidable. Our relationship… was complicated. I don't want to go into it too much, but I also don't want to gloss over it. It's no secret that he and I were estranged for a while. I never really understood it, just as I couldn't quite wrap my head around our thaw the last few years. Both were, frankly, on his terms, and I ultimately accepted the peace he was offering. Angry as he could make me, I never wanted to be anything but his friend. And early on we were good friends, especially when all of us at Gaijin Studios spent pretty much every waking hour in each other's company—we all were. Jay wasn't just the guy two desks over from me. He was a movie pal, a drinking buddy, a dinner companion. He would come over to my place when I had free HBO (which the cable company had mistakenly given me, shhh) and we would drink beer, eat wings, watch boxing, and shoot the shit. And that's what I'd prefer to dwell on. So this hits hard, regardless of the ups and downs of our mutual regard in the last dozen years or so. When you're part of a close group—a frat, a squad, a band, what have you— that focused you into who you are. You always tend to identify with those you spent those important hours with. And as life happens and you drift away, and about, and back again, and sometimes crash into each other… the deeper bond of that experience, I realize now, always remains. The night I found out Jay had passed, I spent time talking to nearly all the original Gai's and I find myself immensely grateful for that. It made me realize that we're still Gaijin Studios underneath it all and we always will be, Jason included. Wherever you are now, Jay, I hope it's peaceful and hilarious, and filled with music and art. And I hope there are no spiders. Rest.
Tim Seeley: Jason Pearson's BODY BAGS was one of my faves, and the influence on Hack/Slash is probably obvious. A massive talent. Panda and Clownface will always grace my shelves.
Dan Brereton: Jason, I didn't know you well , but well enough to like you and have great respect for your talent and skill. I remember reading an issue of Savage Dragon decades back yous written and it impressed me as much as it infuriated me the criticism a young talent revived gif daring to leave his Artist Bullpen and enter the Writer's Lounge. I was proud of the strides you took with work like BODY BAGS, and felt you come through your posts here. I always figure we'd cross paths at a con one of these days. Dammit. My heart goes out to your family and to you – who had much more work to do and dreams to follow. Your work will follow along ahead of you, as powerful and appealing as it ever was.
Merrill Hagan: During a rocky period of my life, I hung out at Studio Revolver a lot. Jason Pearson & I spent a fair amount of time smoking, talking football and nerd stuff. I'll always be thankful for those times where I could escape my troubles for a minute with him. Rest in Peace, Jason.
Mark Brooks: Just got the news Jason Pearson passed away. I know him as much to say I tried to know him. He was a monster artist I'll always admire. We had our differences that I'll never fully understand why. I wish things had been different. Art in peace.
Fernando Merari Serrano Báez: Jason Pearson one of the comic book artists who influenced me the most in my drawing style has passed away….
From the first time I saw his work I was fascinated with his detailed drawing style, his handling of color, the way he narrates a sequence so brilliant. The first comic I ever saw of him was Body Bags and it's just, a masterpiece. Not long ago I did a FarArt of Panda, the main character of the said comic, to my surprise he wrote to me to thank me. Small details that have huge value in life. We lost a genius.
Rob Liefeld: Sad news about Jason Pearson. I was a tremendous fan. Rest In Peace.
Mark Walters: Very sad to hear the news of Jason Pearson passing. He was one of most talented and unique artists to ever work in comics. I realize he was the subject of some controversy and division in recent years, but he always treated me well and we always got along when we saw each other. Had Jason as a guest at Dallas Comic Con in 2009, and we had dinner after the show. It was during that conversation that I realized how passionate and serious he was about art and working in the industry, and I could see even then he was conflicted about it amidst the enthusiasm… for a variety of reasons. But regardless of how anyone felt about Jason, there was no denying his amazing talent and incredible ability as an artist. I really hoped he would see a resurgence in the years to come, and find a way to combat his personal demons. I hope people honor his work, and remember the good parts of him as an artist, and as a friend. Godspeed, Jason.
Jonathan Christopher Matthewson: Well, this is sad news to wake up to, Jason Pearson has unfortunately passed away. We only met the once waaaay back in the 90's and exchanged a few messages here, you had your problems but had really seemed like you had turned a corner in recent times. Rest In Peace fella x
Billy Tucci: Draw in Peace, Jason Pearson. Thank you for you for the good times and your striking contribution to Shi: Senryaku. You will be missed.
Marvin Law: I am just hearing the news of the passing of Jason Pearson, and I'm kind of in shock at the moment.
I was a big fan of his work, when I first discovered it in the Dragon: Blood & Guts mini series (his version of the Dragon, still influences my own take on the character to this very day); and his art was a revelation, when I discovered and fell in love with, Body Bags: Father's Day.
It literally changed the direction and trajectory of my career, seeing someone with a style that was so cartoony and stylized, with some much energy and character, made me just want to stare at his work and learn what I could from it.
Over the years, as I became a working professional artist, he was one of the artists, I would keep my eye on, for whenever he would have new work out, so I could see what new beautiful art he was producing.
Thanks to social media, I've had the opportunity to have brief interactions with Jason, as I told him I was a fan of his work since back in the day, and that it was a huge influence on me, as a fan and as a creator. I've drawn a few Body Bags sketches, and I've shared them with him and he had very kind words to say about them; which was very cool of him.
This sketch, I drew recently of Body Bags, back in early December for some strange reason, I felt compelled to do it, but I didn't know why though. I never shared it with Jason, because I was holding off on it, so it would be a cool surprise, when I did post it; but alas it was not meant to be.
Thank you Jason, for inspiring a young punk artist in the mid 90's till today with your artwork…I will always be indebted to you.
Ron Lim: Just heard the awful news that Jason Pearson passed away. Jason was one of the first artists that I commissioned for my Spidey art collection almost 20 years ago.
Rest in peace, Jason. May you find the peace that eluded you in life.
Brian Pulido: Rest In Peace Jason Pearson. Truly, an original. Far too soon.