'Global Frequency' #1 (2002).

Garry Leach was a British comic artist, working for the British sci-fi comic book wave of the 1980s. Starting out at IPC's 2000 AD magazine, he was among the artists of features like 'Judge Dredd', 'The V.C.'s' and 'M.A.C.H. 1'. He later joined the rival title Warrior, published by Quality Communications, notably working with writer Alan Moore on 'Warpsmith' and 'Marvelman'. A laborious and perfectionist artist, Garry Leach was known for his intense action scenes and detailed imaginative designs. Together with Dave Elliot, he was additionally co-founder of the A1 anthology, as well as its publishing company Atomeka Press. He should not be confused with U.S. Disney comic writer Gary Leach (b. 1957).


'Attack of the 50 ft. Woman' (2000 AD #492, 1986).

2000 AD
Born in 1954 in London, Garry Leach attended Central St. Martins College. During the second half of the 1970s, Leach's meticulous art style first came to notice in the fanzine Kidz Stuff, published by Hunter Tremayne and Andrew Johnson. In 1978, he was hired by the London publishing group IPC to work for the sci-fi comic anthology 2000 AD (at the time appearing as "2000 AD and Starlord" and then "2000 AD and Tornado"). One of his first jobs was inking Trevor Goring's 'Dan Dare' story 'The Doomsday Machine' (1978). He was later assigned to pencil science fiction features such as 'M.A.C.H. 1' (1977) - originally created by Pat Mills and Enio - and the magazine's flagship series 'Judge Dredd' (1977), created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra. 'Judge Dredd' serials penciled by Leach were 'The Day The Law Died part 15' (1979), 'Night of the Blood Beast' (1979), 'Attack of the 50 ft. Woman' (1986), 'The Comeback' (1987) and 'Ten Years On' (1987). Together with Will Simpson and Dave Elliott he contributed to the longer 'Judge Dredd' narrative 'Oz', under the pseudonym K. Edward.

Leach's most prominent 2000 AD contributions were done for Gerry Finley-Day's science fiction series 'The V.C.'s' (1979-1980), in which a space crew, The V.C.'s (short for the "Vacuum Cleaners"), fights against extraterrestrial aliens called "The Geeks". Succeeding the original artist Mike McMahon, Leach and Cam Kennedy became the most prominent artists to draw and ink 'The V.C.'s'. Leach also illustrated episodes of 'Tharg's Future Shocks'. Between 2004 and 2008, Leach was back at 2000 AD, this time as an inker and cover illustrator.


'The V.C.'s', from 2000 AD #168 (1980).

Marvelman
In 1982, Leach became an art director at Quality Communications, a new publishing company founded by former Marvel UK editor Dez Skinn. In March 1982, Alan Moore launched a reboot of the British superhero comic 'Marvelman', created in 1954 by Mick Anglo. In his original incarnation. Marvelman was more or less a rip-off of the American superhero 'Captain Marvel', created by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck. Since 1963, no new episodes had been made. Moore's version debuted in Quality's brand new comic magazine Warrior (March 1982). After some initial troubles finding an artist for the series - Dave Gibbons and Brian Bolland both declined - Garry Leach showed interest and got the job. The new Marvelman is a tortured individual, plagued by recurring nightmares and migraine attacks, who decides to find out the truth about his mysterious past. As the perfectionist Leach had difficulties meeting his deadlines, the feature was handed to Alan Davis from Warrior's sixth issue on. He moved on to create Warpsmith (1983) with Alan Moore, a character who first starred in his own feature before becoming a secondary character in 'Marvelman'.

When in 1985 Marvelman began appearing in the USA through Eclipse Comics, both the series and the protagonist were renamed to Miracleman to avoid legal issues with Marvel Comics. Later artists of the series were Chuck Beckham (AKA Chuck Austen), Rick VeitchJohn TotlebenMark BuckinghamJoe Quesada and Mike Allred.

  
'Marvelman' in Warrior #5 (1982).

Atomeka Press/A1
In the late 1980s, Leach ventured into publishing. Together with Dave Elliot, he co-founded Atomeka Press, an imprint dedicated to offering authors complete freedom and full rights to their creations. Their first release was the comic anthology A1, which ran between October 1989 and April 1992. It was an anthology of various comics by British creators - including Ted McKeever, Alan Moore, Glenn Fabry and Simon Bisley - but also running translations of foreign material by Serge ClercJean Giraud, Jean-Marc & Randy Lofficier and Alejandro Jodorowsky. The original incarnation of Atomeka folded in 1992, when Elliot began using Atomeka as a sub-imprint of his own company Tundra UK. In 2004, Leach and Elliot teamed up with Ross Richie to relaunch Atomeka Press, realeasing an 'A1 Big Issue Zero', a 'A1 Sketchbook' and a couple of new titles. By 2005, Richie established his own L.A.-based firm Boom! Studios, taking with him several of the new Atomeka titles.

U.S. comic book work
Between 1992 and 1998, Leach worked in the advertising industry. Among his limited comic book work during this period were a handful of stories for Penthouse Comix in 1994. Later that decade, he returned to comic book work, mostly doing inking work for DC Comics in the USA. From issue #23 (January 1998) until the sixtieth and final issue (April 2001), he was the inker of Garth Ennis and John McCrea's 'Hitman' series. After that, he drew the first issue of the science fiction comic book series 'Global Frequency' (2002-2004), written by Garth Ennis. Each of the series' twelve issues had a different artist, but Garry Leach is credited with creating the main cast members. In addition, Leach inked other DC series such as 'Legion of Superheroes' and 'Monarchy' (created by Doselle Young and John McCrea). For Marvel Comics, he was the inker of J. Michael Straczynski and Chris Weston's 'The Twelve' (2007).


'Bethlehem Steele' (Penthouse Comix #1, 1994).

Illustrator
During the 1980s, Leach illustrated cards for the card game 'Magic: The Gathering' and the 1986 solo role-playing game 'You Are Sláine' in 1986. Leach also provided cover designs for the late 1980s Titan Publishing compilations of the 2000 AD comic 'Judge Anderson', created by John Wagner and Brian Bolland.

Recognition
In 1983, Leach and Alan Moore's work on 'Marvelman' won the Eagle Award for "Favourite Single or Continued Story". The 34th issue of 'Hitman', created by Garth Ennis, John McCrea and Garry Leach, won the 1999 Eisner Award for "Best Single Issue/Single Story".

Final years and death
One of Garry Leach's final projects was working with Anthony E. and Michelle Zuiker on founding the Zuiker Press Company, a publishing imprint specializing in graphic novels based on the personal experiences of young people. Garry Leach died in March 2022 at age 67. He has been cited as an influence by the UK comic artist Jerry Paris.


'Warpsmith' pin-up (Atomeka Press).

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