Steve Lightle Longtime Illustrator of ‘Legion of Super Heroes’ Has Died Due To COVID-19 Complications

Long time Legion of Superheroes artist Steve Lightle died Friday. He was 61. The cause was cardiac arrest due to COVID-19. Lightle was best known for his iconic runs as an artist on DC’s Legion  and Doom Patrol.

In terms of Legion, Lightle who collaborated with writer Paul Levitz, essentially created the vision of the DC Universe in the 30th century.

In 1984, Lightle followed Keith Giffen as the penciller of Legion of Super-Heroes for a run that spanned over a decade.

Matthew Lightle, Steve Lightle’s son, made the announcement on his father’s Facebook account. “This is Matthew Lightle, Steve lightle’s son. This morning my father passed away from Cardiac Arrest,” Matthew Lightle said. “I wished to thank you all for your friendship to my father, and also to ask that if you are a patreon follower, please cancel your account as we are just beginning to take care of his affairs.”

CBR said of Lightle: After beginning his comics career with a story in AC Comics’ Black Diamond #4 in 1984, Lightle transitioned to DC Comics, illustrating a 10-page story in New Talent Showcase #4. Later that year, Lightle became the new artist on Legion of Super-Heroes, replacing Keith Giffen. He drew interiors for Legion of Super-Heroes for two years, between 1984-1988, while also doing covers. During his time on Legion of Super-Heroes, Lightle co-created Legionnaires Tellus and Quislet, and he was a part of the creative team behind the death of Legionnaire Karate Kid.

“One of the greatest things about the Legion is the diversity of its cast,” Lightle told CBRduring a 2002 interview. “I like different characters for their unique qualities. There is an awkwardness about Brainiac 5 that makes him an endearing character, despite his vastly superior intellect. Timber Wolf has a vitality, and a potential for ferocity, that makes him interesting. Umbra has a dignity that she carries with her, and a seriousness that masks some intriguing insecurities. Livewire is a confident, and sometimes brash powerhouse. There is an untapped complexity to Valor that I only touched on in the story, ‘Back Home In Hell.’ I’d like to have the chance to develop the submerged contradictions that lie deep beneath his noble exterior. And then there’s Quislet … (laughter)”

DC Entertainment president and creative director Jim Lee wrote on Twitter:

Saddened to hear of the passing of long time DC Comics artist Steve Lightle. I was a huge fan of his work on Legion of Superheroes growing up and was fortunate to meet him years later as a pro at a comic con in Kansas City.

He instilled love and care into each of his takes of the seemingly endless number of Legionnaires, not only capturing their inherent majesty and power but also a sense of innocence and naïveté like few others.

He made the team feel like a clubhouse of wonderful characters you wanted to be a part of. Here is one of my favorites Legion of SuperHeroes covers by him.

This particular take on Colossal Boy served as my inspiration many years later when I drew Gim for a WildStorm jam piece as a gift for Paul Levitz when he retired from his post as DC President. #RIPstevelightle