The great comic book artist Tom Palmer has died at 80.
I was an avid comic book reader in the mid-1980s, at the peak of the “Marvel Age”: when a new generation of creators was making amazing storylines, but before the 1990s collectibles lunacy imploded the business.
One of the first books I consistently read was the Marvel Star Wars, and Palmer was the inker for pretty much all of the consequential issues in its glory days.
Remember, between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi we were dying for more Star Wars—and there wasn’t much to go on. So we read the Marvel comic books, played with the Kenner toys, and listened to the NPR radio show.
Palmer was such a great artist with a distinctive style—even as a kid, I would notice the beautiful blacks of the brushwork and check the credits and see that name, “Tom Palmer.”
And it was the beginning of noticing and following different artists, appreciating their individual styles and talents. This led to my interest in film scores, where I would do the same thing: notice different styles and check the credits.
And that pretty much led to a lifelong passion for the arts.
Check out this gorgeous painting that was the cover of issue #81, the first one after Jedi, bringing the return of Han Solo:
Even now, I can remember the excitement I felt as a kid, seeing this on the lower rack of the supermarket around the corner from us.
So farewell to Tom Palmer, a great artist—and thank you for all the hours of delight enjoying your work.