Marvel Spotlight #28 1976 featured News 

Don Perlin, Co-Creator of Moon Knight and Bloodshot, Dead at 94

By | May 16th, 2024
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Featured art by Perlin from the cover of “Marvel Spotlight” #28 (1976).

Don Perlin, circa 2015

CBR reports comic book artist, and former Valiant editor Don Perlin passed away on Tuesday, May 14. He was 94. Perlin was best known for creating Moon Knight with writer Doug Moench during their “Werewolf by Night” run from 1974 to 1977, and Valiant’s Bloodshot with Kevin VanHook and Bob Layton in 1992. He was also best known for drawing Marvel’s “The Defenders” from 1980 to 1986, making him the longest-serving artist on the series, and his 1986-1987 run on “The Transformers,” where he became the second most prolific artist on the Marvel run after José Delbo.

Donald Perlin was born in New York City on August 27, 1929, and grew up in Canarsie, Brooklyn. He studied art under legendary “Tarzan” cartoonist Burne Hogarth, and broke into comics in the late 1940s, penciling crime, sci-fi and horror series for various publishers, including Marvel’s predecessor Atlas. He recalled one of his early, uncredited assignments as being a penciler on Jules Feiffer’s layouts for Will Eisner’s “The Spirit.” He was drafted into the US Army in 1953, but returned to comics soon after, now armed (no pun intended) with the skill set for war stories at Charlton Comics.

After 1958, he began primarily working on technical and packaging art (eg. machine parts catalogs for Boeing), although he would continue to draw comics in the evenings, including non-superhero titles for Charlton, the “Hogan’s Heroes” comic for Dell, and biographies of Thurgood Marshall and Martin Luther King for Fitzgerald Publications. In 1972, Perlin began freelancing for Marvel and DC, drawing for some of the latter’s horror anthologies, which led Roy Thomas to offer him “Werewolf by Night” or ‘Morbius the Living Vampire’ — Perlin took the former after learning it was a monthly assignment, meaning he could earn more money.

Perlin's rendering of Moon Knight in 'Werewolf by Night' #32

Perlin introduced Moon Knight in 1975’s issue #32, as well as Tigra in a Werewolf by Night story (written by Tony Isabella) for “Giant-Size Creatures” #1 in 1974. After “Werewolf by Night” ended in 1977, Perlin went on to pencil “Ghost Rider” for the next three years, and to ink “Captain America” from 1978 to 1980. He took on “Man-Thing” in 1980, seeing the title through to its conclusion in 1981, as well as “The Defenders.” Perlin’s run on that series came to an end after a 13-issue rebrand, “The New Defenders.” He exited “The Transformers” when editor-in-chief Jim Shooter appointed him the publisher’s art director, a role he carried out until 1991, when he left to join Shooter at his new company, Valiant.

At Valiant, Perlin drew “Solar, Man of the Atom,” “Bloodshot,” “Timewalker,” and “Bad Eggs,” and edited “Solar,” “Shadowman,” and “Magnus Robot Fighter.” After Valiant was sold to Acclaim Entertainment in 1994, Perlin went into semi-retirement. Some of his last credits included an issue of “Scooby-Doo” for DC in 1999, a variant cover for IDW’s “All Hail Megatron” #9 in 2009 (originally intended for “Spotlight: Optimus Prime”), and a new Bloodshot story for 2012’s hardcover release “Bloodshoot: Blood of the Machine,” which reunited him with writer Kevin VanHook and inker Bob Wiacek. Some of his other work included “Inhumans,” “Spider-Man,” and Ann Nocenti’s 1984 series “Beauty and the Beast,” starring Beast and Dazzler.

Detail of Perlin's linework for the cover to 'Bloodshot' #25

Perlin was recognized during his lifetime with the National Cartoonists Society’s Comic Books Award in 1997. He was married to Becky Perlin, and had two daughters and three sons, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren. J.M. DeMatteis was among those who paid tribute to Perlin, saying, “Don was a great visual storyteller, passionate about the work, always willing to learn and grow. More important, he was an incredibly nice man. Doing ‘Defenders’ with Don was a highlight of my early days at Marvel. Heartfelt condolences to Don’s family.” Artist Casey Coller said, “He drew some of my favorite ‘Transformers’ issues of all time. Made a huge impression on me during my formative years. One of my early inspirations to pick up a pencil. His impact on the franchise is still being felt today. Condolences to his friends & family.”

//TAGS | obit

Christopher Chiu-Tabet

Chris was the news manager of Multiversity Comics. A writer from London on the autistic spectrum, he enjoys talking about his favourite films, TV shows, books, music, and games, plus history and religion. He is Lebanese/Chinese, although he can't speak Cantonese or Arabic. Give him a visit (and a tip if you like) on Ko-fi.


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