Paul Neary, legendary artist, inker, and Marvel UK editor, has died at 74

Art from Captain America #299
(Image credit: Marvel)

Paul Neary, the two-time Marvel UK editor-in-chief, as well as an acclaimed artist and inker for both Marvel and DC, has passed away at the age of 74.

Neary was born in Bournemouth, UK, in December 1949. A passionate fan of comics, he turned professional in the early '70s, initially working as an artist at Warren Publishing, where he drew horror titles Eerie, Creepy, and Vampirella. 

He moved over to Marvel UK in the late '70s and began drawing for Hulk Comic, which was eventually relaunched as Incredible Hulk Weekly to tie into the success of the Bill Bixby- and Lou Ferrigno-starring TV show. When Skinn launched Doctor Who Weekly (the predominantly comic-based predecessor to the still running Doctor Who Magazine) in 1979, Neary was hired first as his assistant editor before moving up to become the title's editor in 1980.

Paul Neary's cover for Captain America #307

(Image credit: Marvel)

Dez Skinn left Marvel UK in 1980 and Neary was promoted to editor-in-chief. In a decision that would mark the beginning of one of his most fruitful collaborations, he hired artist Alan Davis and writer Dave Thorpe to reinvent Captain Britain. Thorpe departed after just a few issues, but Davis remained, leading Neary to hire a young Alan Moore to write the strip. Around this time Neary himself also collaborated with Moore, drawing a pair of Tharg's Future Shocks - one off stories, usually with a sting in the tale - that Moore had scripted for the venerable sci-fi anthology 2000 AD.

Neary moved on from editorial after a few years at Marvel UK and returned to his roots as an artist, working on Ka-Zar the Savage and then Captain America for Marvel US. 

Meanwhile, Alan Davis was now working at DC on Batman and the Outsiders and asked Neary to ink the book. This was the start of a long period of collaboration with Davis that also included a run on Detective Comics for DC and Excalibur for Marvel, the latter of which bagged Davis and Neary the 1989 Eisner Award for Best Art Team.

The cover of Excalibur #1

(Image credit: Marvel)

Neary was hired as Marvel UK editor-in-chief for a second time in 1990, a move that led to initially spectacular success both in the UK and the US. He relaunched cult favorite Death's Head, and hired now big name creators like Bryan Hitch, Dan Abnett, Salvador Larroca, and Liam Sharp. This was a period of huge superhero comic book sales figures and, for much of Neary's time there, Marvel UK was riding a profitable wave. 

Of course this sales boom could not last forever, and Marvel UK eventually merged with Panini in 1995. Neary departed and resumed his career as an inker, once more alongside Davis, but also Bryan Hitch and Warren Ellis on The Authority, and later Hitch and Mark Millar on The Ultimates. Illness impacted his later years, but he continued to work, including inking an Authority story in the 2022 Wildstorm 30th Anniversary Special.

In a heartfelt tribute to his longtime friend and collaborator, Alan Davis described Neary as, "A mentor, colleague and friend," before going on to say that he was, "an intensely private man who had no interest in fame or public acclaim. Paul loved the creative process and fostering that creativity in others."

Check out our list of the 10 best Captain America villains of all time.

Will Salmon
Comics Editor

Will Salmon is the Comics Editor for GamesRadar/Newsarama. He has been writing about comics, film, TV, and music for more than 15 years, which is quite a long time if you stop and think about it. At Future he has previously launched scary movie magazine Horrorville, relaunched Comic Heroes, and has written for every issue of SFX magazine for over a decade. He sometimes feels very old, like Guy Pearce in Prometheus. His music writing has appeared in The Quietus, MOJO, Electronic Sound, Clash, and loads of other places and he runs the micro-label Modern Aviation, which puts out experimental music on cassette tape.