Tim Sale, the comic book artist whose singular illustrations graced the pages of many landmark DC and Marvel titles over the years, has died after battling an unknown illness. He was 66 years old.
News of Sale’s ill health previously made the rounds earlier this week, when DC Publisher Jim Lee announced on social media that the artist had just been admitted to the hospital with “severe” issues. Lee declined to share specifics about Sale’s condition. Representatives for Sale confirmed his passing via his official Twitter account earlier today. They also invited fans to share their favorite memories of his work. You can read the full statement below.
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
Sale was born in Ithaca, New York on May 1, 1956. He began honing his artistic talent during his college years, originally enrolling at the University of Washington for two years before moving back to New York and attending the School of Visual Arts. Around the same time, Sale also attended an NYC-based comics workshop taught by legendary Marvel artist John Buscema. Sale never actually completed his formal education. But it wasn’t long before he landed jobs inking Phil Foglio’s artwork on Warp Graphics’ MythAdventures in 1983. He also contributed pencils to Donning/Starblaze’s Thieves’ World in 1985.
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After cutting his teeth on the indie circuit, Sale teamed up with writer Jeph Loeb on DC’s Challengers of the Unknown in 1991. This eight-issue limited series marked the first of several collaborations between the two creators. It also paved the way for them to tackle several Batman one-shots released under the Legends of the Dark Knight banner. However, it wasn’t until DC began publishing Batman: The Long Halloween in 1996 that both Sale and Loeb became household names among comic book readers. That book is still considered one of the most definitive Batman stories ever told. It later spawned two direct sequels: 1999’s Batman: Dark Victory and 2004’s Catwoman: When in Rome.
In the early 2000s, Sale and Loeb crossed over to the Marvel Universe for the first in their series of “color” books. 2001’s Daredevil: Yellow wound the clock back to Matt Murdock’s early days as the Man Without Fear, when he still wore his original costume. The series also explored the beginnings of Matt’s romance with Karen Page. Sale and Loeb would go on to create three similar titles over the next decade, including Spider-Man: Blue, Hulk: Gray, and Captain America: White. Their final collaboration, DC’s Batman: The Long Halloween Special, hit comic shops last fall.
Superhero Hype extends its condolences to Sale’s family, friends, colleagues, and fans all over the world. Please feel free to share your favorite memories of Tim Sale in the comment section below.