Veteran Marvel artist Mike Deodato Jr. announced that he would be leaving the comics giant after his upcoming run on Savage Avengers.
"When I was a boy I dreamt to one day become a Marvel artist. I grew up reading Avengers, Captain America, Spider-Man and, since my father was already an artist in Brazil, I decided I would do the same, but drawing the heroes that made my childhood so great," Deodato wrote in a heartfelt Facebook post where he repeatedly thanked Marvel.
"I've been living my dream with those characters for 24 years," he added. "I've loved every second of it."
Deodato went on to write that he wanted to dedicate himself to creator-owned comics full-time.
After working for Marvel, Image, DC and a number of publishers in the 1990s, Deodato has been one of Marvel's artistic staples for most of the past two decades. After notable early runs on Incredible Hulk, Elektra, Thor and Amazing Spider-Man, Deodato worked extensively on Avengers, New Avengers and Dark Avengers, often with writer Brian Michael Bendis. More recently, Deodato had major runs on Thanos, Infinity Wars and Old Man Logan.
Before his Marvel departure, Deodato will kick off Savage Avengers with writer Gerry Duggan. That title will bring Wolverine, Venom, Punisher, Elektra, Doctor Voodoo and Conan the Barbarian together to form the most dangerous Avengers team ever assembled.
"My [Marvel] family would not let me go without a gift and what they gave me was the most amazing book ever, an opportunity for me to revisit all the characters I care the most in Marvel Universe," he said of the upcoming title. "I couldn’t think of a better farewell gift."
Savage Avengers #1 by Gerry Duggan and Mike Deodato, with a cover by David Finch, goes on sale in May from Marvel Comics.