Carlos Ezquerra – A Personal Tribute
Legendary artist Carlos Ezquerra passed away at the age of 70 today. That’s a difficult sentence for me to write, in the brief time I knew him, he was warm, kind and always had time to discuss past projects with me and help me discover old favourites. When I began my writing career, I didn’t really understand comics, I read them and I loved the stories but I never could get to grasp with artists and artwork. On a mutual friend’s suggestion, I reached out to Carlos, slightly intimidated but hopeful, I found the Maestro to be patient and brimming with knowledge. He directed me not only to some of his favourite personal works over the years, but also to other artists and we spent many hours over the last few months discussing art and the synthesis between the narrative of the artist and the writer. One of my favourite projects with him was promoting the excellent ‘Colour Like Carlos’ a colouring in book which featured Carlo’s signature work and was published by Millsverse.
Undoubtedly the best known artist for Judge Dredd, he was also the creator of the visual designs for the characters, cityscapes and technologies for the character. Dredd debuted in the second issue of 2000AD, but was not drawn by Ezquerra, despite his crucial role in the character’s design. Ezquerra returned to drawing for Battle for a few months, then teamed up with original Dredd writer John Wagner to create what many fans consider the quintessential period of the character. Ezquerra was a frequently returning artist for the character and was always brought his trademark, gritty feel to the character when his ink brush touched the paper.
Strontium Dog was a long running Sci-Fi strip written by John Wagner. The strip focuses on a bounty hunter called Johnny Alpha, who happens to be a mutant. He can see through walls and read minds and he never gives up on finding his quarry. Ezquerra’s beautiful artwork really helped the compelling narrative stand out. His lines brought a believable atmosphere to the reader and packed a powerful punch in the British comic book industry.
Just a Pilgrim
One of my favourite pieces of Carlos’ work was a team up with legendary comic book writer Garth Ennis. This was set in an apocalyptic world with an iconic antihero that looked as if he has stepped right out of the old west. It’s themes of tough guys, religious fanaticism and cannibalism were brought to the fore with Ennis’ trademark black humour. Ezquerra’s powerful and cinematic visuals brought the whole story to life, his art made the ridiculous compelling and she was never afraid to show every grisly detail.
Rest easy Maestro, your legacy won’t be forgotten.