Phil Gascoine, one of the nicest guys I've ever met, and a great strip artist, who worked on any book that came his way with the utmost professionalism and craftsmanship, passed away a few days ago.
I'd known him from the very first time I became a member of the the Society of Strip Illustration - the British association of strip artists and writers. He was one of a bunch of old-school comics guys who formed the backbone of the industry I had just entered at that time. He was of a generation of strip artists who weren't graduate fans - as most of my generation were - but of illustrators who drew strips because they could make a living at it and had a flair for it.
During that period of the 80's when strips were attracting a whole new bunch of people into the industry and on it's fringes, Phil was supportive of the changes that were happening and didn't adopt the attitude of some veterans of the time who thought that standards in the industry were going to be lowered through these changes.
He had no detectable ego, and was one of the friendliest people I've ever met. He lived near where I grew up, and every time I met him over the years, it was like a having a bit of my home town pay me a visit to say hi.
He'll be sorely missed by his family and friends, and everyone who had the privilege of knowing him.
Go to http://www.downthetubes.net/features/interviews/phil_gascoine.html for more.