Comic Book Industry Remembers a Lost Superstar

Michael Turner Tribute Set for Release

When artist Michael Turner passed away in June, the comic book industry reacted with an outpouring of emotions that proved what a lasting effect he had on those whose lives he touched.

Next week, the company he founded, Aspen MLT, is releasing a collection of artwork and stories by comic book creators in A Tribute to Michael Turner, an 80-page softcover book that will benefit Turner's favorite charities. As Aspen's Editor-in-Chief Vince Hernandez told Newsarama in September, Turner's friends and colleagues wanted "to do something to remember his name and his legacy," something that "fans could have forever.

As Hernandez shared some of the pieces that will be in the book, Newsarama talked to him about what fans can expect to see in A Tribute to Michael Turner and how the response from creators surprised even him.

Newsarama: First, Vince, how did the book turn out? [Aspen President] Frank [Mastromauro] told Newsarama in Baltimore that you guys were getting a lot more stuff than you expected for this collection.

Vince Hernandez: Yeah! It worked out that way because when we first started, we had a list of people we knew we wanted to include and people who had mentioned it to us beforehand that they wanted to participate, so we had that basic list to go off. And by the time we went to print on it, there was about 50 percent more people than we anticipated. It's huge!

NRAMA: How many pages is it?

VH: It's 80 pages. That was what we were hoping to have, but originally we had a group of about 40 or 50 artists. Now we've filled just about every one of the 80 pages with a creator's submission. People we didn't even anticipate wanting to be involved surprised us by wanting to be a part of it.

NRAMA: And it's not just artwork, right?

VH: No, it's a combination of artwork, text, some people did poems, and there are written stories of experiences that different creators had with Mike. For us, it was the first time we heard about some of these stories. That always adds to the mythos of how great Mike was, and what he did for comics that he could touch all these lives.

NRAMA: This is a little different size book, isn't it?

VH: Yeah. It's similar to our Aspen Extended Edition, which was a trade-type softcover. And it's $8.99 for 80 pages, and it will be out on Nov. 5. It's kind of like a trade because we have an introduction from Mike's mom, kind of like a forward or intro. And then we go into our Aspen staff. Frank did a nice opening. Most of the staff, we just did our own tributes to him and they're sprinkled throughout the book.

NRAMA: Who are some of the creators that contributed to the book?

VH: There's an incredible cover by Alex Ross. And of course we have all of our Aspen artists, like Micah Gunnell, Marcus To, Francisco Herrera, Ale Garza, and Sana Takeda. And we also have writers who've worked with Aspen, like Geoff Johns and Jeph Loeb. There's Joe Benitez, who worked with Mike at Top Cow and will be finishing the volume of Soulfire for Mike. There are some new guys in here we've never really worked with, like Marc Andreyko and Brad Meltzer, who we've worked with, but never on an Aspen story. Greg Pak had a touching story about an experience he had with Mike at a con. And all the big name artists that you can think of, like J. Scott Campbell, Joe Mad [Madureira], Humberto Ramos. And there's a piece by Joe Quesada and a tribute by Dan DiDio. We also have Jim Lee in there. Anybody you can think of. Gary Frank is in there, and Marc Silvestri did a piece. Even people who are newcomers wanted to participate.

NRAMA: And all the money you make from this goes toward charity, right?

VH: Yep. All the proceeds from this go to the American Cancer Society and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Those are Mike's two favorite charities, so we definitely wanted to honor that and make sure proceeds from the book would benefit that. So all the creators and fans are doing something in his name that helps these causes.

NRAMA: Anything else you want to tell fans about the book?

VH: Just that it's really for them. Once they see all these stories and all the ways that Mike touched so many lives, I think people will get a real good idea of the legacy he's leaving behind. And helping charities by purchasing the book is something they can do in Mike's memory, and they'll have something that they can always keep to remember him.

The full list of creators who are contributing to A Tribute to Michael Turner: Agnes Garbowska, Ale Garza, Alex Garner, Alex Konat, Alex Ross, Alex Sinclair, Andy Smith, Beth Sotelo, Billy Tan, Brad Meltzer, Billy Tucci, Brandon Peterson, Buzz, CB Cebulski, Chris Moreno, Christina Strain, Dan Didio, David Finch, Dan Fraga, David Wohl, Dene Mason, Don Ho, Eddie Berganza, Eddie Nunez, Eduardo Francisco, Eric Basaldua, Francisco Herrera, Francis Manapul, Frank Mastromauro, Gary Frank, Geoff Johns, Grace Crick, Greg Pak, Humberto Ramos, Jason Eden, Jason Rubin, Jeph Loeb, J. Scott Campbell, Jim Lee, Jim McLauchlin, Joe Benitez, Joe Madureira, Joe Quesada, Joel Gomez, John Starr, Josh Reed, JD Smith, JJ Kirby, J.T. Krul, Leonardo Olea, Lori Hanson, Marc Andreyko, Marc Silvestri, Marcus To, Mark Gould, Mark Roslan, Megan Fox, Micah Gunnell, Michael Birkhofer, Michael Gaydos, Oliver Nome, Paul Jenkins, Peter Steigerwald, Randy Green, Richard Isanove, Richard Starkings, Rob Liefeld, Ron Garney, Ryan Tumaliuan, Sal Regla, Sam Campos, Sana Takeda, Simone Bianchi, Simone Peruzzi, Stephen Platt, Siya Oum, Talent Caldwell, Tim Townsend, Vince Hernandez.


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