Paul Neary passed away four days ago at the age of 74 after a long illness, but unfortunately this has been my first chance to break away to post this regrettable development. I’ve never met Paul, worked with him or interacted with him but I followed much of his output at Marvel & DC in the 1980-1990s printed in the States as opposed to his work across the pond. His oft-art partner Alan Davis had this to say about Paul:
“Extremely sad news about Paul Neary. A mentor, colleague and friend.
Paul Neary, born in Bournemouth, England 18 December 1949, passed away on 10 February 2024 after a long illness.
In a career of more than fifty years Paul earned international respect and recognition in numerous roles within the Comic book industry. Paul could write, pencil, ink, colour, letter and edit. Skills he learned from studying the medium with an academic zeal.
Comics were an enthusiastic hobby for Paul when he moved to Leeds University to study for a degree in Metallurgy but in his first summer break Paul travelled to New York, bluffed his way into Jim Warren’s office, and secured his first professional work on Eerie magazine. Most notably the Hunter series.
When Warren publishing was liquidated Paul found work in the UK with Hammer Comics movie adaptations, the Doctor Who magazine and ghosting Syd Jordan on the Lance McLane newspaper strip. The short diverse projects suited Paul’s eclectic and experimental nature but it wasn’t enough for full time employment. Paul accepted an art/editorial role at Marvel UK where he met his partner (now wife) of over forty years, Bernie Jaye. On becoming Editor in Chief Paul wanted to do more than repackage reprints of US comics so set out to originate home-grown strips. Most notably reinventing Captain Britain.
Office politics ended Paul’s time at Marvel UK so he moved on to Marvel US where he pencilled a successful three year run on Captain America, a short run on Ka-Zar and a Nick Fury mini-series. Paul was a perfectionist so struggled with the treadmill deadlines of monthly titles and the limitations of house styles. Paul had a passion for Sci-fi based comics like Mystery in Space and the more eclectic art published in European magazines and albums. This was evident in Paul’s own creations Madman, Tales from the Rim and Wildweed.
Paul transitioned from pencilling to inking on Batman and the Outsiders, Detective and Excalibur then was invited to return to Marvel UK as Art Director where he helmed the creation and evolution of such titles as Dark Angel, Motor Mouth, Dark Guard, Deaths Head, Knights of Pendragon and The Clandestine. While the list of titles is impressive, Paul’s greatest achievement was the environment he established to help new creators learn and develop skills that would propel them onto success in the US Comic market after Marvel UK fell victim to industry decline.
Paul resumed inking and finishing on such titles as the Authority, Ultimates and JLA where his outstanding work was acknowledged and awarded. Then sadly, illness struck.
Those lucky enough to have known Paul will remember him as an intensely private man who had no interest in fame or public acclaim. Paul loved the creative process and fostering that creativity in others. Always professional, enthusiastic and polite but just below the surface Paul’s anarchic sense of humour was poised to mock the mighty and expose the injustices of life. The greatest injustice being he went too soon.
Condolences, thoughts and prayers to Bernie.”
Bleeding Cool ran an article collecting tributes on social media from around the comic book community. The Inkwell Family sends condolences to his widow Bernie and all those he held dear from family, loved ones, friends & associates and the fans.