A tribute to John Garcia: illustrator and kind friend

"Gee, too bad the article isn't as good as the illustration." Illustrators have heard this from editors since the first stick scratched in the dirt. Boston-area commercial artist and graphic-novel illustrator John Garcia routinely equaled or out shown his collaborators.

He died a few days ago. He was a phenomenal talent, and he shouldn't pass simply like the lone Pony Express rider galloping away into the dark night from one of his drawings.

John loved 'Cowboys and Injuns' (Native Americans now), owl-hoots and varmints, the whole Western genre. He knew the number of buttons on a cavalryman's tunic. He told stories with pictures. He also had to bring home the bacon, so he drew TV storyboards, scripts for ads. His work was brilliant. See for yourself at His art will be bright in your mind forever.

Most important, he was as generous as a soul could be; it's near impossible to find a person with such a giving spirit. He was the phone call that rang in my darkness, the man whose characters always seemed to smile even as the arrows and bullets flew. At the end of the film To Kill a Mockingbird, as Gregory Peck walked out of the courtroom after failing to dowse an injustice, a wise man, segregated in the Southern courtroom, told Gregory's child that a great man just passed. John Garcia passed. An exceptional man who was more than an exceptional illustrator has passed into that dark night.

_Roger Jones

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