Alan Grant, the influential writer famed for his lengthy runs on Batman, Detective Comics and Judge Dredd, has passed away at age 73. His death was announced July 21 on Facebook by his wife, Susan, and then quickly spread on social media.
Although no cause of death was given, Grant reportedly had been ill “for some time.”
“He was a towering presence in comics & a force of nature in life,” artist and writer Liam Sharp wrote on Twitter. “Changes in circumstances meant I have not seen him for far too long & I had been meaning to put that right.”
Grant, whom the Scottish Book Trust called “a leading star of Scottish comics – and a great ambassador for them,” began his career as editor in the late 1960s, working first for Scottish publisher DC Thomson and, then, for London-based IPC Magazines. From 1978 to 1980, he served as editor of 2000 AD, and wrote Tharg’s Future Shocks, Judge Dredd, Stronium Dog, Robo-Hunter and Blackhawk. Grant also introduced his own comic-book alter ego, Aaln-1, the robotic assistant to Tharg the Mighty.
Grant was part of the so-called British Invasion of American comics in the 1980s that brought with it such creators as Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis, Dave Gibbons and Grant Morrison. He made his DC Comics debut in 1987 with the dystopian miniseries Outcasts, which — despite being unsuccessful — led to his famed run on Detective Comics, which kicked off the following year.
With artist Norm Breyfogle, his frequent Batman collaborator, Grant created such notable rogues as Anarky and the Ventriloquist (with co-writer John Wagner). Grant‘s lengthy tour of Gotham City also included a 24-issue run on Batman, a series of Batman/Judge Dredd crossovers, and a staggering 82 issues of Batman: Shadow of the Bat, in which he and Breyfogle introduced villains Victor Zsasz, Amygala and Jeremiah Arkham. He also reteamed with Breyfogle in the later 1990s for a pair of Anarky miniseries.
At DC, Grant became associated by the fan-favorite antihero Lobo, created in 1983 by Keith Giffen and Roger Slifer. Grant featured the intergalactic bounty hunter in L.E.G.I.O.N., a Legion of Super-Heroes spinoff, and collaborated with Giffen and artist Simon Bisley‘s on Lobo’s first miniseries. That was followed by multiple miniseries and specials — 64 issues in all — all of which were written, or co-written, by him.
While most closely associated with DC Comics and 2000 AD, Grant produced work for Marvel‘s Epic Comics imprint, BOOM! Studios and a handful of others. He also created The Bogie Man, with Wagner and artist Robin Smith.