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Bleeding Cool is reporting that Barry Blair, the founder of Aircel Comics and one of the more prominent figures in the black and white boom of the 1980s, died Sunday after suffering from a brain aneurysm.
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’s Web site has a rather brief eulogy up for now.
A rather prolific cartoonist, the Canadian-born Blair produced a number of manga-influenced comics (at a time when manga was barely causing a ripple) under the Aircel imprint, such as Elflord and Samurai. The line is probably, however, for publishing the Men in Black comics, which, of course, eventually became a popular movie. He later worked extensively on Richard and Wendy Pini’s ElfQuest series. He also worked in animation and for Malibu Comics (which bought Aircel during the b&w implosion).
Blair is perhaps best known for the number of erotic comics he produced, which include titles like Leather and Lace and Sapphire (published by NBM — last link NSFW). These books frequently came under controversy and criticism due to the fact that the main characters in these comics frequently appeared to be childlike and/or under age of consent.