Michael Turner to my mind is a comic book God, creator of the most stunning comic series ever, Fathom. I have my mother to thank for getting me into this series. After months of admiring this Graphic Novel cover my mom said I had to buy it, it looks right up my alley. Well WOOF, scantily clad people who live under the ocean and manipulate water. So pretty. Fathom was created by Michael Turner in 1998 for Image Comics after his successful run on his first co-created comic series Witchblade. (also very pretty). After plus minus 20 issues, Michael Turner left Image Comics to start Aspen Comics with his signature series Fathom as its main title. After a couple of years of tedious waiting, in 2003 Fathom Series Volume 2 was released along with two new series; Soulfire and Shrugged.
Fathom follows Aspen Mathews, a Marine Biologist, who after a traumatic experience can’t remember anything before the age of 10. Years later she joins a group of scientists studying a strange vehicle found on the ocean floor. A freak accident destroys the underwater facility she is working at but Aspen manages to be one of the few survivors. The question is, how? Soon Aspen meets Killian, a freedom fighter for an underwater society called The Blue, Aspens people, who needs her help. But is Killian who he claims to be?
The original run at Image Comics was illustrated by Turner. The later Fathom runs released by Turners new company, Aspen Comics, were illustrated by new artists, Koi Turnbull on volume 2 and Ale Garza on Volume 3. While Koi Turnbull and Ale Garza did not have similar styles to Turner, they were able to instill the beauty of the world of Fathom created by Turner, which is what made the series so appealing. The overall story was still controlled by Turner, and was just as exciting as the original, with lots of romance, intrigue and epic watery action, with hot guys n girls. While Turner no longer worked on the title he did create variant covers for each and every issue up until his death.
Michael Turner also found a protégé in Talent Caldwell who had worked on Turners backgrounds when he was still working at Top Cow. It was Caldwell who illustrated the first Fathom mini-series, Dawn of War, which Aspen comics released. /Caldwell is my other favorite artis,t and the one who’s style most suits Turners imagination. Stupidly, I think the two had a falling out, because Caldwell left Aspen and never really successfully broke out.
While running Aspen Comics, Turner focused his time on producing issues for Soulfire, which took him forever because his cancer came out of remission. Turner had been battling cancer since 2002. This unfortunately brought a halt to the production of Soulfire, which was eventually taken up by Joe Benitez. While unable to continue with the hectic schedule required for producing a comic, Turner started doing more covers for other companies. I’m not saying he hadn’t done covers before, he just did more. In his lifetime he illustrated the Supergirl re-launch mini-series, which was absolutely stunning; covers for the Superman Gofall mini-series illustrated by Talent Caldwell, also breathtaking. He produced covers for Image, DC and Marvel, making variant covers for their epic event mini-series like Marvel’s Civil War and DC’s Identity Crisis (plus covers for their other series.)
Michael Turner died on June 27, 2008 due to complications from bone cancer. I was completely shocked and heartbroken when I found out. Michael Turner was a rock star, who’s portfolio, although impressive already, was still very small. I wasn’t done with him yet, and the bastard died!!!
Aspen Comics is my only Fantasy fix after Crossgen Comics went under. (I really must write about Crossgen one day). I will always try to support their comics, even though they’re a bit sporadic and take forever to be released in Graphic Novels.