Tom Lyle, longtime Marvel and DC comic book artist, passed away Tuesday at the age of 66. The artist, who suffered a brain aneurysm back in September, had surgery last month to repair a blood clot in his brain caused by the aneurysm. He had been in a coma and on a ventilator since September.
If you were a DC and Marvel comic book fan in the 1990s, you were bound to have come across a Tom Lyle comic book, as he was a major presence on some of the biggest books at both companies during the decade. He also helped to create and/or design a number of notable characters who are still popular today.
Lyle first burst on to the comics scene with his work for Eclipse in the mid-1980s. He became the regular artist on Airboy, written by Chuck Dixon, which also helped launch Dixon's mainstream comics career. Editor Robert Greenberger was impressed by Lyle's work on Airboy and hired him to launch the new series Starman with writer Roger Stern.
Their run on Starman was excellent and by the time Lyle left the series, he was one DC's hottest artists. When Tim Drake, the third Robin, got his own series, Lyle was reunited with his Airboy collaborator, Chuck Dixon, on a Robin miniseries.
The miniseries was a major hit, with Dixon and Lyle doing two more sequel series that were also very popular. In the meantime, Lyle and Dixon also worked together on some stories for Detective Comics. During one of those stories, they introduced a new character, Stephanie Brown, known as the Spoiler because she intentionally spoiled her father's crimes (her father was the Cluemaster).
Spoiler would later become a regular supporting cast member when Robin received his own ongoing series (she later became his love interest). Lyle, though, would not work on the ongoing series.
This is because Lyle moved to Marvel Comics, where he took over as the first regular artist on Spider-Man following the departure of Erik Larsen a year earlier (Larsen had followed Todd McFarlane on the series and the book then had rotating creative teams before Howard Mackie and Lyle became the regular creative team).
Lyle debuted during the middle of the Maximum Carnage crossover event...
Lyle also worked on a Venom/Punisher miniseries upon joining Marvel...
Lyle remained on Spider-Man through the Clone Saga, where he designed the costume worn by Ben Reilly, the clone of Peter Parker, as the Scarlet Spider.
Lyle then launched a new Punisher ongoing series with John Ostrander.
In recent years, Lyle taught sequential art at the Savannah College of Art and Design starting in 2005.
Our condolences to Lyle's friends and family.