Canadian comic book writer, artist, editor and publisher Barry Blair, passed away January 3, 2010 from a brain aneurysm. Rich Johnston reports that “he complained to friends of an ear ache previously and was on medication as a result. However he felt so ill, he was eventually taken to hospital, but it was too late.”
Blair played a very large role in the independent B&W comic scene, running Aircel Comics out of Ottawa, ON, which published many recognizable titles (for comic readers who are now 33 and older) including:
- Demon Hunter
- Dragonforce Chronicles
- Leather & Lace
- Samurai vol. 2
- Samurai vol. 3
- Warlock 5
After some financial troubles, Aircel merged with Eternity Comics, which was eventually folded into Adventure Comics/Malibu Graphics (later known as Malibu Comics), the original publisher of the Image Comics imprint.
Aircel helped introduce creators Dale Keown (on Dragon Force, Keown later went on to work on Marvel’s Incredible Hulk and his creator-owned character Pitt for Image Comics) and Denis Beauvais (Warlock 5, went on to fame with Dark Horse Comics Aliens series), and also published the comic series Men In Black, which gained fame as a movie franchise starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.
Barry went on to work for Wendy and Richard Pini, illustrating a number of Elfquest titles (New Blood, Fire Eye, and Blood of Ten Chiefs ), and helped encourage independent creator/self-publisher Drew Hayes, creator ofPoison Elves.