Everyone at 2000 AD is deeply saddened to announce the passing of artist Garry Leach at the age of 67.

Garry, who began his career in the pages of 2000 AD, was born in 1954 and attended Central St Martin’s College.

A modest and unassuming talent, by the time of his first work for 2000 AD – inking Trevor Goring’s work on the Dan Dare story ‘The Doomsday Machine’ in 1978 – his confident brushwork was already unmissable and although appearances were sporadic – whether on high-tech superspy series M.A.C.H.1 or on one-episode Future Shocks, including working with future collaborator Alan Moore – his self-assured style brought a solidity to its pages.

He worked on Judge Dredd stories such as ‘The Day the Law Died’ and ‘Night of the Bloodbeast’ in 1979, ‘Attack of the 50 ft. Woman’ in 1986, and ‘The Comeback’ and ‘Ten Years On’ 1987, the latter of which saw Whitey, the murderous gang leader from Dredd’s first published story, return to try and get revenge on the lawman. 

The same year he collaborated on the 1987 Dredd mega-epic ‘Oz’ with Will Simpson and Dave Elliott, as well as producing covers for Titan Publishing’s collections of Judge Anderson stories, a series of seminal Dark Judges pin-ups for 2000 AD, and the illustrations for the ‘You are Sláine: Tomb of Terror’ solo role-playing game that ran in 2000 AD in early 1986.

His most prominent work for 2000 AD came on Gerry Finley-Day’s space war series The V.C.s – on which he followed Mick McMahon, and then alternated with Cam Kennedy – a series about the ‘Vacuum Cleaners’, a hard-bitten crew of a space patrol ship battling the alien menace of The Geeks.

With a slick and confident inking style reminiscent of both Dave Gibbons and Brian Bolland, Garry’s work was immediately recognisable alongside the rougher, more febrile art of McMahon and Kennedy.

While there was an intensity to his action sequences and stunning imagination in his designs, he also brought wonderful touches of whimsey – whether it was the harlequin-turned-hippie computer ‘Brother’ in The V.C.s, the nose-sucking plants of ‘Future Shocks: Bloomin’ Cold’, or Dredd’s striped socks in ‘Ten Years On’.

His greatest and most famous work was co-creating the new Marvelman with Alan Moore in 1981. A revival of the unauthorised and believed-abandoned British version of Captain Marvel from the 1950s, this series for Dez Skinn’s Warrior anthology was a stunning deconstruction of the superhero genre that presaged Moore’s better-known work on Watchmen.

Garry’s sharp-lined realism brought a languid, sinewy quality to Marvelman that befitted Moore’s intense psychological script. When Alan Davis took over as artist on the series, Garry inked his first few stories to allow him to settle into the strip and it was his style that remained the archetype for the rest of strip, even as it continued with Mark Buckingham.

It was with Moore than Garry created Warpsmith for Warrior, which eventually became a supporting character in Marvelman, and headed up A1, the anthology title Garry launched in 1988 as part of Atomeka Press with Dave Elliott.

After a spell working in advertising, Garry returned to comics in the late 1990s as John McCrea’s inker on Hitman, and worked for other DC Comics titles such as Legion of Superheroes, Monarchy and Global Frequency. He also inked fellow 2000 AD artist Chris Weston on J. Michael Straczynski’s The Twelve for Marvel Comics and returned to 2000 AD in 2004 to produce covers for the Judge Dredd Megazine.

Although he never had his own signature series in our pages, Garry was one of the artists who helped define 2000 AD’s first golden age. His imagination and talent leapt from every page and brought a confident dynamism to series such as The V.C.s and Judge Dredd

His generosity in complementing, supporting and mentoring other artists cannot be ignored and the comics industry owes him a deep debt for both his work and his friendship, and he will be sorely missed.

Garry passed away unexpectedly on 26 March and our deepest condolences go out to his family and his friends.

Rest well, Garry.

Photo courtesy of Rufus Dayglo