Tuesday, March 17, 2009

RIP Jose Gonzalez

It has come to my attention that Jose Gonzalez, one of Warren's most well known artists has passed away within the last few days.

Gonzalez joined Warren in 1971, one of the first of the spanish artists from Selecciones Illustrada to work for the company. Jim Warren was amazed with his art the second he first saw it, and knew that Gonzalez was perfect for Vampirella. Starting with Vampirella 12, Gonzalez became the primary artist for Vampirella. Over the next few years Gonzalez drew the Vampirella story for every issue of Vampirella, winning awards for best art in a story for his work in both 1971 and 1974. Gonzalez also painted a poster of Vampi that became on of Vampirella's best known images, and it was used for the cover of issue 19.

By 1974 Gonzalez's work on Vampirella slowed, and multiple artists started filling in on the role of Vampirella. Around this time Gonzalez started contributing one page intros from Vampirella, which first appeared in issue 36. Gonzalez shared Vampirella duties with Gonzalo Mayo throughout most of the rest of the 1970s, and also contributed the occassional cover in collaboration with production artist Kim McQuaite. Gonzalez also had multiple stories for 1984, including the three part series Herma which was originally drawn in 1974 in Europe.

By 1979 Gonzalez ceased his regular work on Vampirella stories, providing only Vampirella drawings that would be used on the table of contents pages. He would return in 1982 however, and did stories for the final 6 non-reprint issues of the magazine.

In total, Gonzalez contributed 58 stories for Warren, putting him in the top 10 of their most prolific artists. He contributed 53 stories to Vampirella, all featuring that character, making him the most prolific interior artist for the magazine.

Gonzalez's art has always been quite memorable to me. While he isn't on the level of my faves, like Luis Garcia and Esteban Maroto, he was extremely talented and had a unique style that fit Vampirella perfectly. He will be missed.

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