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While some creators spend their entire career in comics, others come and go. Some find greater success outside the field, while others just realize comics just aren’t for them. I recently re-read a brief post I wrote in early 2011 about some of the most sorely missed creators while thinking about artist Jamie Hewlett. He met with early success with Tank Girl (with Alan Martin) but dropped out of comics in the mid-1990s following the cancellation of the comics magazine Deadline and the poor performance of Tank Girl as a motion picture and as a Vertigo series. By an odd set of circumstances he ended up being roommates with Damon Albarn, lead singer of the band Blur, and they dreamed up the virtual band Gorillaz.
In a 2005 interview on Jonathan Ross’s talk show, Hewlett was pretty down on the idea of returning to comics, instead focusing on Gorillaz and animated projects. I’ve enjoyed Gorillaz for its music and the frequent use of Hewlett’s art on covers and in music videos and other parts of the promotional machine, but I’m still
patiently waiting for him to reclaim his place in comics. But it got me to thinking: Is there a place for Hewlett in comics today?
Drawing comics is grueling work with long hours, and I could easily see his current career being more alluring than that solitary life. Plus, the comics industry has changed a lot since the early ’90s. The U.K .comics scene is far different, and the “big money” these days seems to lie in either finding success on your own, a la The Walking Dead, or working for the Big Two. Despite my wishful thinking, I don’t imagine we’d ever see Hewlett drawing an issue of Avengers Vs. X-Men. Tank Girl returned with Hewlett’s blessing in 2007, with Martin and other artists, but not seeing even a cover or pin-up by Hewlett really diminishes any hopes he might return.
But I look forward to the artist proving me wrong.