The San Diego Reader reports cartoonist Batton Lash died on Saturday, January 12, 2019. He had been battling brain cancer for the past two years. His widow, Jackie Estrada, posted online that “He died in our home accompanied by friends, family, and caregivers. We have no plans for services yet, but at some point we will have celebrations of life in both San Diego and New York.”
Lash was born in Brooklyn on October 29, 1953. He attended Manhattan’s School of Visual Arts, studying cartooning and graphic arts under instructors like Will Eisner and Harvey Kurtzman. After graduating he took on various freelance art jobs, including working as Howard Chaykin’s first assistant. In 1979, Brooklyn Paper Publications asked him to create a comic strip, and Lash created “Wolff & Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre.” The strip, which was initially published in The Brooklyn Paper, starred Alanna Wolff and Jeff Byrd, two lawyers who specialized in cases involving monsters and other supernatural beings.
The comic ran in The Brooklyn Paper until 1996, and in The National Law Journal from 1983 to 1997. Lash also began publishing a “Wolff and Byrd” comic book under his company Exhibit A Press in 1994. The comic was renamed “Supernatural Law” with issue #24, partly to bring it in line with an (unrealized) film adaptation. Lash also wrote “Radioactive Man” for Bongo Comics, the 1994 one-shot crossover “Archie Meets the Punisher” (with art by Stan Goldberg, John Buscema, and Tom Palmer), and illustrated the controversial webcomic “Obama Nation” (written by James D. Hudnall) from 2009.
Many comic book creators have paid tribute to Lash on Twitter, including Steve Niles, Scott McCloud, Jeff Smith, Jimmy Palmiotti, Alex Segura, Tom Brevoort, Neil Gaiman, Terry Moore, and Tess Fowler. Estrada stated, “Bat was well-loved by all who knew him, and he appreciated all the messages he received from friends and family in all eras of his life, from childhood in Brooklyn to SVA to the Brooklyn Paper and then the comics industry over the past 25 years. I will do my best to make sure that his plans for ‘Supernatural Law/Wolff & Byrd’ are carried out. He left behind many projects, notes, ideas. His creativity knew no bounds.”