Barry Blair, a leading figure of the late ’80s black and white comics explosion, has died of a brain aneurysm, Bleeding Cool reports, and Blair’s website backs it up. He was about 56. According to Rich Johnston, “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 was a prolific writer and artist on B&W titles such as ELFLORD, SAMURAI, and later, ELFQUEST. He was the publisher of Aircel Comics, a briefly successful indie of the 80s which was later absorbed by Malibu Comics; Aircel was the original publisher of MEN IN BLACK, the basis for the movie. Blair had moved mainly into erotica for quite a while, and his work was often criticized for featuring very young looking characters.
Although his passing has been little noted outside of the BC item, Blair was a very well known figure in the growth period of the direct market, and leaves behind a large body of work.