Comic book artist, writer, and editor Don Perlin passed away on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, his daughter, Elaine, announced. He was 94 years old.

Perlin had a long career in comics, he was known for co-creating Moon Knight and Bloodshot, and for his work on titles like Werewolf by Night, The Defenders, and Ghost Rider.

He was born on August 27, 1929, in New York City, and began studying art while in his early teens under Burne Hogarth. Perlin started working in comics in the late 1940s, first at Fox Features, then he worked with Youthful, Ziff-Davis, Hillman Periodicals, and Stanley Morse. Following a stint in the US Army in the early ‘50s, Perlin spent several years working with Charlton Comics on a variety of genres, including horror, war, romance, and hot rod books. Outside of Charlton, he worked on the Hogan’s Heroes TV tie-in at Dell Comics, and biographical comics on Thurgood Marshall and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Fitzgerald Publications.

For much of the ‘70s and ‘80s, Perlin was a full-time penciler at Marvel, starting with a Dr. Strange story in Marvel Premiere and a few issues of Thor. He drew Werewolf by Night, introducing Moon Knight, who he co-created with writer Doug Moench. Perlin’s next move was a run on Ghost Rider, and titles featuring Spider-Man, Sub-Mariner, and Inhumans.

While working on Captain America, he and Roger McKenzie developed the idea of Cap being the president, and though Marvel initially shot down the storyline, it was later used by John Byrne and Roger Stern. In ’80, Perlin started his run on Man-Thing, and stayed on the title until the second to last issue a year later. Around this time, he also spent six years as the main artist on The Defenders, then he spent nearly two years on Transformers, before transitioning to managing art director.

His next move was to join Valiant Comics in 1991, penciling Solar, Man of the Atom and Bloodshot, and editing Shadowman, Magnus Robot Fighter, and Solar. Perlin semi-retired in the mid-1990s, with a few later contributions that included penciling and inking a Scooby-Doo comic at DC, and in 2012, he penciled a new Bloodshot story in Bloodshot: Blood of the Machine.

“Don combined the best of Oscar the Grouch and The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” said writer-editor-designer Janet “JayJay” Jackson, who worked with Perlin at both Marvel and Valiant. “He was a consummate professional and so serious that his occasional bouts of humor would slay absolutely everyone in the place. At Valiant we often referred to him as Unca Donald and he bore that and all our craziness with magnanimous forbearance. What a gentleman.”

“Bidding a sad farewell to longtime comics artist Don Perlin, who worked for many mainstream houses including DC back when I was an assistant editor,” former DC Comics President and Publisher Paul Levitz posted on Facebook. “Our most notable connection was Don recommending me as a good catch to my future wife, who was a childhood friend of his daughter Mindy, later one of our bridesmaids. For most of his career Don was, like so many others: an uncredited yeoman, turning out clear storytelling on scripts by writers he never met. But there were years at Valiant when that changed, and he was working closely with Jim Shooter and others, helping create the characters of the Valiant universe, and working in true, happy collaboration.”

“Don Perlin was truly a pleasure to work with. He had been around comics for a long time and was a solid storyteller. I like to think that some of the success we had with Bloodshot was because he saw what was happening in comics with other companies like Image and he was surrounded by young artists in our own office on a daily basis,” writer, editor, artist, and Bloodshot co-creator Kevin VanHook said. “While he didn’t want to change his style and go for flashiness, he brought more of an edge to his work that hadn’t been there before. There’s a particularly memorable and admittedly violent double page spread in the first issue that set the tone. When the book blew up, he and I travelled and did a lot of signings, and I loved the fact that fans were just as excited for his autograph as they were for any of the young, hot artists of the time. He was 63 when the book came out and while he had worked on major titles like Ghost Rider, Werewolf by Night, and even co-created Moon Knight, I was able to watch him become an overnight success that was forty years in the making. More than that, he was my friend.”