Prolific artist of classic Batman stories, like The Long Halloween and Dark Victory Tim Sale has died at age 66.
On June 13, fellow Batman artist Jim Lee posted on Twitter that Sale was admitted to the hospital. Lee referred to Sale as having “severe health issues” but neglected to elaborate further.
I regret to share the very sad news that the legendary artist Tim Sale has been admitted to the hospital with severe health issues. Tim, I am praying for you, buddy. Stay strong & know that your legions of fans around the world loves & cherishes you & your amazing talent 💙🖤 pic.twitter.com/aYMUmHQXbg
— Jim Lee (@JimLee) June 13, 2022
On June 16, the Twitter account “Remembering Tim Sale” confirmed that Sale had passed away.
It’s with a heavy sadness that I must announce that Tim Sale passed away today. He passed with the love of his life beside him, and loves all of you very much. Please share photos and stories under this post, as we hope to share them with the community.
— Remembering Tim Sale (@ArtBySale) June 16, 2022
The Career of Tim Sale
Sale was born in 1956 in New York. However he was raised in Seattle Washington. After graduating college, he moved back to New York to enroll in the School of Visual Arts. Once he graduated from art school, Sale’s art career struggled initially. However in the early 80’s he landed his first professional gig inking for WaRP Graphics’ Myth Adventures.
In 1988, Sale collaborated with Matt Wagner on his creator-owned comic Grendel. After Grendel, DC Comics hired sale and hooked him up with long-time collaborator Jeph Loeb for a Challengers of the Unknown mini-series. Soon, Sale began illustrating a string of successful Batman story arcs on the anthology series Legends of the Dark Knight and Shadow of the Bat. He collaborated with James Robinson on “Blades”, then with Alan Grant on “Misfits”. This led to Sale and Loeb teaming-up to produce the Batman Halloween one-shot specials.
The Success of ‘The Long Halloween’
The success of the Halloween specials led to the creative duo to make one of the most seminal Batman stories of all time: Batman: The Long Halloween. The runaway success of this maxi-series launched both Loeb and Sale into comic book superstardom. It also spawned two highly-successful follow-ups Dark Victory and Catwoman: When in Rome.
Sale went on to do a number of successful projects-with and without Loeb, including a return to Grendel: Black, White and Red. One of the stories from the anthology series won and Eisner for Best Short Story. With Jeph Loeb once again, he also drew Superman For All Seasons, which garnered him an Eisner Award for Best Penciler/ Inker.
Both Loeb and Sale then hopped over to Marvel, where they created the “color series” of stories that featured various characters: Daredevil: Yellow, Spider-Man: Blue, Hulk: Gray, and Captain America: White. After various other projects, including creating art for the superhero-themed television show Heroes and being the cover artist for Detective Comics, the creative duo returned to The Long Halloween. Most recently they produced The Long Halloween Special to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the seminal series. As it turns out, the Special was Sale’s last published work for DC Comics.
Tim Sale has left an artistic legacy on not just Batman, but the comic book medium in general. In a time when comic art is drifting towards hyper-realism, Sale’s art leans in a more impressionistic style. He elected to draw disproportionate figures or images that served the drama of a story. His Batman is always a huge swath of black and his Joker is grotesquely ugly with the hundred crooked long teeth in his mouth. It asks the readers to “feel” the art and visually connect the dots so to speak, instead of relying on the literal interpretation of what’s on the page.
On behalf of Dark Knight News, Sale’s unique style will be missed. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family.
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