CBR reports cartoonist Jason Pearson passed away on December 19, 2022, aged just 52. Per a family statement shared on Facebook, Pearson died from “natural causes.” Pearson was best known for writing and drawing “Body Bags,” a Dark Horse series about a father-daughter pair of bounty hunters, and for co-founding the Atlanta-based comic book artist collective Gaijin Studios, whose members also included Dave Johnson, Adam Hughes, Brian Stelfreeze, Cully Hamner, and Tony Harris.
Jason Trent Pearson was born on August 27, 1970, and broke into comics penciling the final year of Keith Giffen’s “Legion of Super-Heroes” run from 1991 to 1992. He went on to draw 1993’s “Uncanny X-Men Annual,” and write and pencil the Savage Dragon miniseries “Dragon: Blood and Guts.” “Body Bags” launched Gaijin’s shortlived Blanc Noir imprint at Dark Horse in 1996. The series caused controversy with the sexualized depiction of protagonist Clownface’s 14-year old daughter Panda, causing the marketing department to promote it as “the most controversial comic of the 1990s.”
His other work included stories in “Grendel: Black, White, and Red” and “Batman: Gotham Knights,” and covers for “Robin” and “Amazing Spider-Man” in the late ’90s and early 2000s. In 2010, he collaborated with writer Duane Swierczynski on the Marvel miniseries “Deadpool: Wade Wilson’s War.” That same year, Gaijin shut down, and Pearson began to concentrate on cover work for Marvel and DC. In 2015, he successfully crowdfunded a new volume of “Body Bags,” but it never materialized. He posted frequently online about his struggles with his mental health. In 2022, he caused controversy with offensive comments about Afua Richardson and Devin Grayson, alienating many in the comics community.
Cully Hamner tweeted about Pearson, saying their friendship had become complicated over the past 12 years, but the news of his passing still “hit hard.” He writes, “To say he was a singular talent is, at best, an understatement. He always stood out as that, from the first time we met at the start of the ’90s, to the 7 years we spent as studiomates, to now. He was great *at everything*. He could draw like nobody’s business in a style that was unique to him. He was an excellent storyteller, draftsman, inker, colorist… you name it. Whatever angle you could come at comic art, he was formidable.”
Pearson is survived by his mother, family, and friends.