Colorist Justin Ponsor, whose work has graced the pages of titles from Image, DC, and Marvel, among others, has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 42 years old. Ponsor’s passing on Saturday, May 18th, was made public this evening in a post to his Facebook fan page:
“After a long and well documented battle with cancer, Justin passed away in his home early on the morning of May 18th surrounded by loved ones,” the post, accompanied by a photo of a smiling Ponsor, reads. “It has been a time of mourning, reminiscing, and, above all else, celebration. Because. C’mon. This guy.”
Ponsor’s cancer diagnosis was revealed on the artist’s blog back in 2017, and a GoFundMe was set up to help cover the costs of his treatments in early 2018. Ponsor posted sporadic updates to the blog on his treatment and prognosis, with the most recent update having been posted on March 1st of this year.
Ponsor’s career began in 1995, though he rose to prominence in 1998 as a colorist for Image Comics on titles like Danger Girl and Wildcats. His most recent work has been for Marvel on Defenders and Avengers.
As news spread of Ponsor’s passing, fellow creators, both who’d worked with him and who were fans of his work, shared tributes to the colorist on social media. Here’s just a small sampling:
I just learned that my friend and long-time artistic partner Justin Ponsor passed away this weekend. I can't express just how much working with him has meant to me over the past 8 years.
The world is lesser place for his loss but all of us are made better for having known him.
— David Marquez (@DaveMarquez) May 20, 2019
I'm truly heartbroken to hear that Justin Ponsor has passed away after a long battle with cancer. He'd been doing his usual amazing work on the Avengers whenever he could, including from his hospital bed. I got nothing but respect for that man. Love and condolences to his family.
— Jason Aaron (@jasonaaron) May 20, 2019
As anyone who ever met Justin Ponsor knew, he was never just a colleague or colorist or creative partner… he was family. He embraced life with the biggest of hearts, the widest of smiles & the deepest of laughs. He made comics a better place. JPo’s loss will be felt forever.
— C.B. Cebulski (@CBCebulski) May 20, 2019
Goddamn it. Justin Ponsor was one of my favorite colorists, and one of the nicest guys I've met in comics. He'll be greatly missed.
— Matt Wilson (@COLORnMATT) May 20, 2019
Sad to hear that Justin Ponsor has passed away. He was far too young. I was lucky enough to have worked with him on a number of books. His coloring was always phenomenal, best in the industry. More importantly, he was a genuinely nice person. My love to his friends and family.
— Dan Slott (@DanSlott) May 20, 2019
Justin Ponsor was one of the most talented artists in comics and one of the nicest people you would ever meet. It’s heartbreaking to hear of his passing, and is a huge loss to everyone who knew him personally and the medium as a whole.
— Jordan D. White (@cracksh0t) May 21, 2019
so sad to hear about the passing of comics colorist Justin Ponsor. I only had the honor of being colored by him once, but it was easily one of the best coloring jobs I've ever had on my work. RIP sir and thank you pic.twitter.com/bnmOVX4Zwz
— Oeming (@Oeming) May 20, 2019
My friend and brilliant collaborator Justin Ponsor passed away this weekend. Here is a picture of the last time @DaveMarquez Justin and I got together. This was here in Portland last July. He had come to visit after… https://t.co/DmrQ6Tz5tp
— BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (@BRIANMBENDIS) May 21, 2019
So sad to hear the news about Justin Ponsor. He was one of my favorite colorists. So when I was first trying to break in to comics I reached out to him and he was so kind and helpful to a total stranger full of dumb questions.
— Matthew Rosenberg (@AshcanPress) May 21, 2019
Anytime you got to work with Justin Ponsor, you knew the book would look amazing. Great guy and phenomenal colorist. RIP. pic.twitter.com/z4mEYW3Tzl
— Mark Morales (@mark_morales11) May 21, 2019
Ponsor was a talented artist, and by all accounts one of the good ones. He will be missed.
Joe Grunenwald is a writer and editor living in the Pacific Northwest. He’s taller than a lot of people but not as tall as some people.