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Paul Neary, Former Marvel UK Editor-in-Chief, Dead at 74

By | February 19th, 2024
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Paul Neary

According to a Facebook post by his longtime friend and colleague Alan Davis, former Marvel UK editor-in-chief Paul Neary passed away on Saturday, February 10, 2024, following a long illness. He was 74. In addition to his editorial work, Neary was an accomplished writer, artist, and inker, who worked for both Marvel and DC. His work would also appear in multiple anthologies, including “2000 AD” and “Warrior.” Neary was an Eisner winner (taking the award for Best Art Team with Davis for “Excalibur”) and two-time Eagle Award winner. He is survived by his wife, Bernie Jaye, a retired comic creator who served as Marvel UK editor-in-chief herself from 1980-1983.

Neary was born in Bournemouth, England on December 19, 1949. He studied at Leeds University, pursing a degree in metallurgy. During his summer break, Neary gained his first comics work. After he, according to Davis, “bluffed his way into Jim Warren’s office,” his work would be featured in Warren Publishing’s black-and-white horror anthology Eerie. He would contribute stories from 1972-1976, with “Hunter,” which he created with writers Rich Margopoulos, Budd Lewis, and Bill DuBay, being the most notable. From there, Neary would work on Hammer Film adaptations and contribute to “2000 AD,” the latter of which saw him drawing “Future Shocks” written by the then up-and-coming Alan Moore.

In 1979, then Marvel UK editor-in-chief Dez Skinn brought Neary in as an artist and editor, immediately putting him on the weekly “Hulk Comic” series, meant to tie into the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno show. It was here that Neary would meet his future wife, Bernie. Skinn would leave the company by early 1980, allowing Neary to begin his first stint as EiC. Continuing the work Skinn had begun in reconstructing Marvel UK into its own unique entity, Neary would make his mark by reinventing “Captain Britain,” tapping Alan Davis and later Alan Moore. Neary would continue to draw “Doctor Who” strips, and provide cover art for the first issue of “The Daredevils,” an anthology featuring “Captain Britain” stories and reprints of comics popular in the States, such as “Amazing Spider-Man,” and Frank Miller’s “Daredevil” stories.


After frustrations with “office politics” (as Davis puts it in his post), Neary left the EiC position to make the leap to Marvel US. Paul Levitz notes that he would be “one of the first Brits to cross the pond to bring his talents to America.” After short runs on “Nick Fury” and “Ka-Zar the Savage,” Paul would become the regular artist on “Captain America.” Then writer J.M. DeMatteis would refer to Neary as a “top notch penciler,” adding that “although we never met, he took over art on my ‘Captain America’ run after Mike Zeck left and did beautiful work, continuing on for a good part of Mark Gruenwald’s classic run.” During this time, Neary had a hand in creating characters such as Diamondback of the Serpent Society, and Flagsmasher.

He wasn’t bound exclusively to Marvel though: his original creation “Madman” would appear in the pages of Skinn’s “Warrior” magazine. Davis would lure to him to DC, where Neary would ink his work on “The Outsiders” and later “Detective Comics,” both written by Mike W. Barr. Davis and Neary’s creative partnership would arguably hit its peak when they returned to Marvel, joining writer Chris Claremont to launch the newest addition to the “X-Men” line, “Excalibur.” In 1990, Neary began his second act as Marvel UK EiC, overseeing “Death’s Head II” with writer Dan Abnett and artist Liam Sharp, and “Dark Angel” (originally “Hell’s Angel”) by Bernie Jaye and Geoff Senior. Neary would also give creators such as Gary Frank, Salvador Larroca, and Carlos Pacheco their first mainstream superhero work.

Marvel UK would shut down in 1994. Afterwards, Neary would form another iconic creative partnership with a recent Marvel UK hire: Bryan Hitch. Neary would ink Hitch’s work on Wildstorm’s “Authority” series in 1999, and on “JLA: Heaven’s Ladder” for DC in 2000. His most iconic work from this partnership was in 2002 for Marvel’s Ultimate line, where he inked “The Ultimates” volumes 1 (starting with issue #8) and 2. This run on “The Ultimates” would earn Neary two Eagle Awards in 2005 and 2006. This partnership continued up until 2022, when he inked an Authority story for “The Wildstorm 30th Anniversary Special.”

On social media, former DC publisher Paul Levitz said Neary “had a very personal style and distinct taste for the worlds he built and the characters that roamed them.” Gary Erskine recalled Neary standing behind him at the 1992 Glasgow GLASCAC, commenting that characters he drew for the convention booklet could possibly be turned into their own series. “Six months later,” he says, “that idea turned into ‘Warheads.’ He helped so many artists find their true potential.” In his tribute on Facebook, Davis commented that Neary acquired his wide range of skills by “studying the medium with an academic zeal.” He adds he was “always professional, enthusiastic and polite but just below the surface, Paul’s anarchic sense of humour was poised to mock the mighty and expose the injustices of life. The greatest injustice being he went too soon.”

//TAGS | obit

Chris Cole

Chris Cole lives in a tiny village built around a haunted prison. He is a writer, letterer, and occasional charity Dungeon Master. Follow his ramblings about comics and his TTRPG adventures on Twitter @CcoleWritings.


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