British comics artist Ron Smith has passed away at the age of 94/95, according to 2000AD.
“We’re very sorry to hear that Judge Dredd artist Ron Smith has passed away,” tweeted 2000AD. “From co-creating Chopper to the weird Otto Sump and the wonderful Mayor Dave, he was an incredible artist with a career spanning decades. Our deepest sympathies to his family.”
Ron Smith was born in Bournemouth, England in 1924. After going to school for engineering (like his father before him), the onset of World War II led him to enlisting in England’s Empire Flying Training Programme. He went on to be a Royal Air Force airman, piloting a Supermarine Spitfire.
After the war, Smith began an illustration career – first with the animation studio Gaumont, but then segued into comic books with D.C. Thompson. Smith served as a staff artist at the company from 1952 to 1972, working on titles such as Warlord, Hotspur, Bunty, and Judy.
In the mid-1970s, Smith segued into a freelance career; while he continued to do work for D.C. Thompson, he also began working with 2000 AD on what would become his most popular franchise: Judge Dredd. Smith worked on the memorable “The Day the Law Died,” “The Judge Child,” and “The Hot-Dog Run” serials, and also drew a long-running Judge Dredd newspaper strip for The Daily Star. During his time with 2000AD, Smith co-created the characters Otto Sump and Chopper.
“Sad news. Ron was one of the iconic Dredd artists and a great character,” tweeted Dave Gibbons. “I was lucky enough to ghost a few of his characters for DC Thomson, early in my career, and learnt such a lot from studying his work.”