I found out today that Dave Simons, Conan art gallery contributor, artist extraordinaire, and all around nice guy, passed away last night due to complications from pnemonia… of course a relatively recent resurgence of his fight against cancer didn’t help matters either. He was 54.
I never met Dave personally, but can attest to other people’s claims of him being a genuinely nice guy just from the few emails we exchanged. I received two commissions from him last year for my Images of the Hyborian Age project, and Dave approached them both with wild enthusiasm. He went far above and beyond on his pieces than the commission rate warranted. In addition to the quality of work he yielded, he made numerous observations and suggestions to refine the project and his pieces to keep with the original spirit of the project, which is honoring Robert E. Howard and his Hyborian Age. We had plans to do a third, and had the economy not taken a dive, certainly would have.
When I was a kid, I wasn’t much of a collector of numerous comic titles like my friends were. The only titles I had any interest in where the Savage Sword of Conan, and Conan Saga. I didn’t care about Spider Man, Hulk, or Batman, I just wanted to see who the Cimmerian was going to kick the hell out of that month. Guys like Roy Thomas, John Buscema, Tony De Zuniga, Alfredo Alcala, Armando Gil, Barry Smith, Earl Norem, Joe Jusko, Ernie Chan, and of course Dave Simons (among countless others, too many to mention here), were the rock stars of my 8-year-old imagination, taking me to creative places I didn’t know could even exist. I laugh at it now, but I was even naive enough at that age to think that ol’ Roy might actually kill Conan off… every issue could be the last one!
Here’s to Dave Simons, friend to imagination and creativity, all around good guy, and inherently notable (at least in my world), for the last 20+ years.