Tuesday, June 15, 2010

R.I.P. Shunsuke Ikeda & Al Williamson

I haven't really written a lot of memorial posts here for famous people. It's not because of a lack of respect, but more because I feel like there are others out there who can do a much better job. However, this weekend saw two passings which I feel compelled to mention.

We learned on Friday of the loss of Japanese actor Shunsuke Ikeda, featured in such tokusatsu favorites as RETURN OF ULTRAMAN and KIKAIDA 01. As you might recall, I watched the entire KIKAIDA 01 series last year. The show has its share of problems, but Ikeda-san is never one of them. He always turned in great work, even though the series wasn't as focused on his character as the title would lead you to believe. If I could ask for one thing differently from KIKAIDA 01, it would be to give me more of Ichiro/Kikaida 01.

On Saturday, illustrator Al Williamson left us. I raved about the book collecting his Flash Gordon work in August. But Williamson's career was far more extensive than even that iconic spaceman. Many knew him for his work on STAR WARS comics and newspaper strips, or from the classic EC Comics from the 1950s, or from any number of other sources. Ironically, I recently reacquired a handful of Marvel books that feature him inking Steve Epting. I am proud to say that one of only two letters I've had printed in Marvel publications praises Al Williamson's work.

August Ragone has an essential and informative memorial to Shunsuke Ikeda on his blog. Flesk Publications' owner John Fleskes has posted the official announcement approved by the family for Al Williamson. I urge you to check them both out.

Two different men, on two different continents, with two different careers and lives. And yet, I'll feel their losses equally. Rest in peace, gentlemen. You both gave us your best.

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