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February 6, 2012

British Cartoonist Mike White Passes Away

imageMike White, a veteran British industry comics artist best known for a run on Roy Of The Rovers in the late '80s and early '90s, his collaboration with young 2000 AD writers, and a general high level of craft including a knack for adapting to the basic art styles of his fellow illustrators, has passed away. Steve Holland's lengthy appreciation of White's career posted here indicates he was likely in his mid-sixties.

White began as an illustrator in the early 1960s with the publisher GM Smith/Micron in their publications aimed at girls. He moved to the Jackaroo Joe in IPC's Valiant publication in 1965 and then took on a number of assignments closely adhering to other artists' chosen styles. He split time in the late '60s and early '70s between Fleetway and DC Thomson, doing mostly stand-alone strips for the latter.

Holland notes that White became a regular at the controversial magazine Action -- a primary and direct antecedent for 2000 AD that ran from 1976 to 1977 -- contributing to the features Hell's Highway, Death Game 1990 and The Running Man. He naturally slipped into a similar role at 2000 AD, including some work on some of the best-remembered early-'80s short features by Alan Moore. This included the Abelard Snazz feature (the episodes "The Return Of The Two-Storey Brain," "The Double-Decker Dome Strikes Back" and "Genius Is Pain"), Future Shocks ("The Regrettable Ruse of Rocket Redglare," "Bad Timing, " "Eureka" and "Look Before You Leap") and Time Twisters ("The Reversible Man" and "Going Native"). Of these works, "The Reversible Man" is probably the best known; while the notion of a man living his life in backwards fashion wasn't exactly a new idea for science fiction readers of the day, the story is cleverly executed and White's pages exude strength and clarity.

White sidled into sports strips in the mid-1980s, initially with a feature in Champ and eventually working his way into a lengthy gig on the prominent feature Roy Of The Rovers. He is cited with giving Roy an aggressive look more in tune with the times and being the artist in charge when Roy Race and the Rovers went through a number of their late-career milestones and major story moments. In the 1990s White began to take on more illustration work; White's most high-profile comics gigs in recent years were for Commando.

posted 3:10 am PST | Permalink

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