The Indian comics industry lost a giant on June 7th, when Dheeraj Verma passed away at the age of 53 from pulmonary fibrosis and COVID-19. Verma tested positive for COVID-19 in April, and had spent over a month in the intensive care unit at Max Hospital Saket in Delhi.
Verma is widely regarded as the first Indian artist to make the leap to American comics, doing work for Avatar, IDW, Dark Horse, and Dynamite. Some of his most well-known American work includes “Transformers: Fall Of Cybertron” for IDW, “The Complete Dracula” for Dynamite, and “Conan The Slayer” for Dark Horse.
At the time of his death, Verma was working on a title called “Black Knife” with writer/actor Kevin Grevioux (Underworld, “New Warriors”). It is unclear how far along the work was, or if it will see release.
Verma broke onto the Indian comics scene in 1991, making the move to Raj Comics in 1993, which at the time was the largest publisher in India. It was at Raj that Verma created his most iconic character, the werewolf Bheriya. Verma worked for Raj for seven years before moving into the gaming field as a senior visualizer at Escosoft Tech from 2000-2003.
In 2004, Verma made his debut in American comics. He would work steadily in the US until returning to Raj and Indian comics in 2013.
A piece from AnimationXpress does a nice job not only recounting Verma’s career, but also collecting recollections from some of his peers.
Verma is survived by his wife Malti and his two daughters. Our condolences to his family, friends, collaborators, and fans.