Michael Turner?s Legacy


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Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world. The American Cancer Society stated that 7.6 million people died from the disease in 2007. And many more people fought the dread disease valiantly and survived.

Michael Turner’s battle with cancer began in 2000. In that year, he was diagnosed with a rare form of the disease called chondrosarcoma. This form of cancer attacks the bones and usually appears in people over 40 years of age. Turner was only 29 when he was diagnosed.

Chondrosarcoma is mainly treated with surgery. Turner lost his hip, 40 percent of his pelvis and three pounds of bone in treating the disease. After the months of radiation treatment, the cancer went into remission.

But the cancer came back, and Turner’s struggles with it continued. Each return of the disease brought with it complications with its treatment.   On June 27th, Michael Turner died from these kind of complications. His struggle with cancer had come to an end.

Whenever someone as young as Michael Turner dies, it is tragic. When anyone succumbs after a tough battle with cancer, it is heartbreaking. But while Turner is no longer with us, he has received a sort of immortality, not only in the hearts of his fans and friends, but also in comic book history. The characters he has created will live on.

Turner broke into comics at Top Cow and gained fame as one of the co-creators of Witchblade. The character gave the imprint a shot in the arm, and quickly became their most popular hero.

Witchblade appears on comics stands each month, and has also graced TV screens in a 2001 TNT series and is set for the silver screen in 2009. Generations of new fans will be introduced to the Turner creation in the years to come.

Ten years ago, Turner created a character of his own. That character was named Aspen Matthews, a woman with a mysterious past and a strange attraction to the water. Published by Top Cow, the series was called Fathom and it became an instant hit.

It became so much of a hit that Turner took Fathom and created a comic company around it. He named the company Aspen, after the name of the book’s lead character.   In addition to Fathom, he created a new series for this imprint called Soulfire.

Fathom’s third volume was scheduled to start before Turner passed away. The series was to follow up on the events if the second volume and the Fathom: Kiani miniseries. The Blue, Aspen Matthew’s home race, is about to declare war on Earth. And Aspen is caught in the middle.

Tomorrow’s first issue proves that Michael Turner’s legacy will not end with his death. This series is listed as an ongoing, so, for the foreseeable future, Michael Turner’s greatest solo creation will continue to exist. And it will be joining his greatest co-creation on the shelves as well. But that might not be his only legacy.

Inkwell Comics Community Auctions, a charitable organization started by Joe Quesada to aid in Hurricane Katrina relief, is set to run a “Tribute to Michael Turner”.   Now, his legacy will be helping people in need. Those paying tribute to Turner will be helping to make the world a better place. That is a legacy better than any character or piece of artwork.

Comics writers and artists have the unique ability to create characters and concepts that outlast them on this Earth. Michael Turner is a sterling example of this. But the love his friends had for him have given him a legacy that supersedes just a comic. Somewhere, I am sure Michael Turner is smiling.

Also out this week:

Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane 2 #1:

The first volume of Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane was a cult favorite with a lot of fans. Readers were charmed by Sean McKeever’s writing and Takeshi Miyazawa’s & David Hahn’s artwork. And having a story written from the point of view of a young teenage girl opened Marvel to a whole new potential audience.

However, Sean McKeever signing an exclusive contract with DC almost doomed the title. Fortunately, Marvel decided to continue the book, and brought in one of independent comics most famous creators to take the reigns. Strangers in Paradise creator Terry Moore is writing the book. Could the creator extend Mary Jane’s life for more than just five more issues? I certainly hope so.   

Terry Moore (W), Craig Rousseau (A), Marvel Comics, $2.99. Five-Issue Miniseries.

Infinity Inc. #12:

52 was a great series, but one of the most unctuous concepts to come out of it were the members of the Everyman project—the people who made up Infinity Inc. They were written to be obnoxious and rude. They were supposed to give the fans a negative impression and they succeeded. We were rooting against them, just like the creators wanted.

Which made it strange that DC would spin the team off into their own series. It is incredibly difficult for any book featuring totally unappealing characters to find an audience.  Peter Milligan is a skilled writer but he had an almost impossible task in front of him. The result? Infinity Inc. only makes it one year.

Peter Milligan (W), Javier Aranda (A), DC Comics, $2.99.  Final Issue.

Rest #0:

Who needs sleep? Well, we all do. But what if there was a drug that allowed you to stay awake with no ill effect? Well, except for becoming addicted to the drug itself. That’s what happened to John Barret. His newfound addiction is about to turn his white collar life into a decidedly different color. It will be one heck of a ride—if he survives the experience.

Heroes’ Milo Ventimiglia is the latest Hollywood player who is trying his hand at creating a comic book. Unlike most creators, Ventimiglia only provided the idea for the story, and is not getting his hands dirty with actually writing the series. He did provide his likeness for the book’s hero, which you don’t see Kevin Smith doing all that often.  

Mark Powers (W), Vincenc Villaragassa (A), Devil’s Due Publishing, $.99.  Preview Issue.

NYX: No Way Home #1:

Nostalgia is big in comics. Whether it be the Golden Age characters in Project: Superpowers and The Twelve, the 1970s characters such as Ms. Marvel and Nova, or the 80s favorites such as Power Pack, there is no decade that hasn’t been mined for its appeal to the fond memories of long time fans.

But isn’t it a little too soon to be nostalgic for the early 2000s? NYX is only five years old, and it has only been three years since the series was cancelled. A trademark of the Jemas era of Marvel, NYX told the story of a bunch of homeless mutant teens (yes, homeless mutant teens) living in New York City. We now see how they are existing in Marvel’s post-House of M world.

Marjorie Liu (W), Kalman Andrasofszky (A), Marvel Comics, $3.99. Five-Issue Miniseries.

The Authority: World's End #1:

The Authority’s modus operandi has always been trying to create the perfect world—by any means necessary. The aftermath of the Number of the Beast series as made their world anything but perfect. Now, their struggle for perfection is further from being achieved than ever before. Will they give up on their dream of a “finer world,” or will they have to go further than they ever anticipated to make their dream reality?

The Authority is one of those concepts that could be most improved by the latest Wildstorm revamp. It has taken the team’s status quo and made what they set out to do much harder to accomplish. And, as we all know, anytime our heroes lives get more difficult, the more we like it.

Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Christos Gage (W), Simon Colby and Trevor Hairsine (A), DC/Wildstorm Comics, $2.99.  Ongoing Series.

Venom: Dark Origin #1:

Not many great bad guys have been introduced in the modern era of comics, or at least not as many as were created in the Silver Age. The X-Men had a few good villains introduced, and there might have been one or more introduced here or there.

Venom was the one who has stood the test of time. He is wildly popular with the fans and even supported a number of miniseries. Now, just in time for the arrival of the Anti-Venom, we get another one.

This series will retell the origin of Venom. We’ll find out who exactly Eddie Brock was before he joined with the alien symbiote and we’ll find out how and why the two joined.    

Zeb Wells (W), Angel Medina (A), Marvel Comics, $2.99. Five-Issue Miniseries.


William Gatevackes is a professional writer living in Mamaroneck, NY with his wife Jennifer. He also is the comic review editor for PopMatters and is the comic book movie editor for Film Buff Online. Links to his writing can be found at his website, www.williamgatevackes.com.

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