The comics world was shocked and saddened this week by the unexpected passing of penciler Paul Ryan. Prolific in the early nineties; Ryan helped define the look of the Marvel Universe, contributing to lengthy stints drawing Avengers, Iron Man and most notably Fantastic Four. He most famously pencilled the landmark wedding between Peter Parker and Mary-Jane Watson in Amazing Spider-man Annual #21. More recently, Ryan had joined a lineage of legends as the most recent regular artist for King Features' Phantom comic strips. In this capacity, 66 year old Ryan was still doing fantastic work on a regular basis, syndicated around the world. He will be surely missed.
On a personal note, Paul Ryan was certainly a big part of my comics reading in the early nineties, and has naturally made multiple appearances on Secret Wars on Infinite Earths. I'm pleased to have taken the time to celebrate him while he was here. I've long held the belief he was a little underrated for his consistent quality, draftsmanship and prominence of work. This Old Comics Wednesday, I'd like to salute the late artist with a look back at those previous features!
I was a big fan of Fantastic Four during Ryan's tenure, but I particularly recommend checking out the featured fight from Avengers West Coast #65 where heavy inks embellished his work in ways I always found very appealing. Iron Man #271 also shows his versatility as an iconic Marvel artist who drew an awesome bulky, 90s shellhead and a truly monstrous Fin Fang Foom! No one example can fully capture Paul Ryan's talents, and that's what made him so good. A fantastic eye for layouts, dynamic action, and fundamental anatomy of characters and scenes. Check them out by clicking the covers below. I hope you enjoy his work as much as I did!