Tim Sale, The Artist Who Inspired The Batman, Passes Away

Tim Sale passes away after entering the hospital with severe health issues.

We’re sad to report that Tim Sale, a veteran artist well-known for his work at DC Comics and Marvel Comics, has passed away. He died at the age of 66. The news was announced via the Art By Sale Twitter account, which handled all of Sale’s official art sales.

This follows Sale entering the hospital a few days ago with “severe health issues.” That news came from DC chief creative officer Jim Lee, who shared the news on his Twitter account. “I regret to share the very sad news that the legendary artist Tim Sale has been admitted to the hospital with severe health issues. Tim, I am praying for you, buddy,” Lee said in his tweet.

We do not know exactly what caused Sale’s passing, but he leaves behind his family and an impressive body of comic work. Many folks will know him for his several collaborations with writer Jeph Loeb. The first and most notable of those was Batman: The Long Halloween, a story of Batman’s early years.

The Long Halloween was a landmark mini-series, presenting a noir-inspired Batman up against a serial killer named Holiday. The 13-issue series spanned an entire year in Gotham as Batman tried to catch the killer. It became one of the major inspirations for The Batman, the 2022 film directed by Matt Reeves.

“I wanted to do a Batman story where he was already Batman, but he still was in early days, had to find a way to sort of really evolve. I wanted to do a story that the investigation of this particular mystery would lead him back to something very personal, and would rock him to his core,” Reeves told Collider about the film. “So knowing that I wanted to do that kind of thing, I started sort of, from Long Halloween, I was thinking about the sort of Calendar Man and the idea of the different sort of killings.”

The success of the Long Halloween led to its sequel series, Dark Victory, also drawn by Sale. Sale and Loeb would take the basic concept of The Long Halloween, featuring an iconic hero in their early years, to further DC heroes and even over to Marvel. At DC, they did Superman for All Seasons and Catwoman: When in Rome. At Marvel, they produced the “color” series: Daredevil: Yellow, Spider-Man: Blue, Hulk: Gray, and Captain America: White. His work continued beyond Loeb though, including Superman Confidential and Queen & Country.

The death of Sale follows the passing of other titanic comics artists in 2022, including Neal Adams and George Perez. Adams died on April 28, 2022, while Perez passed away due to complications from pancreatic cancer on May 6, 2022. It’s a shame to see such classic comic artists die all at once and the industry is lessened by their passing.