Paul Ryan, Artist For The Fantastic Four And The Phantom, Has Died Aged 66

 Photo by Evan Scola
Photo by Evan Scola

Comic book artist Paul Ryan passed away over te weekend, aged 66. His cousin, Chad Callanan, posted on Facebook, saying,

It is with sad news I report the passing of my cousin Paul. Chances are you were touched by him in your lifetime as he was the cartoonist for some of the most well known and beloved characters in the world. From Spider-Man, Thor, Iron Man, The Phantom to the Fantastic Four, most of which made it to the big screen and Hollywood. He was a true giant and artist, who achieved more success in his short life than any one of us would ever know in ten lifetimes. But he was also my friend and that was good enough.

Paul Ryan worked extensively for Marvel and DC, but in recent years had focused on the daily comic strip The Phantom for King Features Syndicate.

After creating a comic strip Breed, published by eighties publisher Americomics, Bob Layton employed him to work on backgrounds for his Marvel comic work, where he met Marvel editors and staffers. This led to his own work at Marvel, including Iron Man, Squadron Supreme, and the launch of the remarkable New Universe title DP7 with writer Mark Gruenwald, and then the series Quasar.


He also drew the classic Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 featuring the wedding of Peter Parker and Mary Jane, and co-created the Marvel 2099 character Ravage with Stan Lee.


But it would be his run on the Fantastic Four through the nineties that would most define his career for readers, working with Tom DeFalco on one of the longest runs on the comic book. After the title was rebooted for Heroes Reborn, Ryan moved to DC Comics for Superman and the Flash comics, including with Mark Waid, Brian AugustynGrant Morrison and Mark Millar. as well as the Clark Kent/Lois Lane wedding issue.


He also worked on Crossgen titles such as Rose and Crux as well as returning to Marvel and DeFalco for the Fantastic Five title, but for Paul it was drawing the Spider-Man Sunday newspaper strip written by Stan Lee for King Features that might have brought him his largest audience, on the Phantom strip for King Features, an assignment he gained after drawing for the Phantom comic book for Egmont, which he drew for four years, and had drawn on and off since.

A comic strip he truly enjoyed worked on…

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About 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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