Sara Pezzini needed the Witchblade to come into otherworldly powers. Witchblade, the comic turned TV series, needed Michael Turner to come to life.

Turner was the artist who helped spawn the supernatural franchise. In comicdom, he was also known for creating Fathom, launching Aspen Comics, named for Fathom's heroine, and lending his pen line to the likes of Superman, Batman and Wolverine.

Online, his company produced—and still does—NBC.com's series of Heroes graphic novels—he provided the art for the very first chapter.

Still, you didn't need to be a comic reader to know of Turner's work. Witchblade, starring Yancy Butler as the power-infused police detective first drawn by Turner, ran for two seasons on TNT, from 2001 to 2002. The comic later spawned an anime series.

Turner died June 27. The news worked its way from comic circles to the mainstream press last weekend. Turner's story was remarkable not only in that he died young—he was 37—but in that he produced so much of his work while battling the cancer that would eventually claim his life.

"Mike had been sick with cancer for almost eight years and the only way one would have known is if someone else told them," artist-publisher Marc Silvestri, another of Witchblade's fathers, wrote on his MySpace blog. "He never mentioned it, he never showed it. Ever…[B]ecause it was HIS life and he was going to fight for it and live it to its fullest. All the way to the end."

Other notable passings:

  • In the 1939 classic Gone With the Wind, Evelyn Keyes, 91, was Scarlett O'Hara's younger sister Suellen—the one who loses her man, Frank Kennedy, to her win-at-all-cost sibling. Keyes was an actress, a writer and a Texas-born bon vivant whose four husbands included directors John Huston and Charles Vidor, and bandleader Artie Shaw. Still, as far as most knew, her life came down to four words: Scarlett O'Hara's Younger Sister, the title of her 1977 memoir. Of Gone With the Wind's three O'Hara sisters, Ann Rutherford, who played Carreen, the youngest, is now the lone survivor.
  • Eric Lieber, 71, was a producer who helped chronicle social mores of the 1980s and 1990s, not to mention the evolution of Chuck Woolery's hair, via his most successful creation, the long-running dating show, The Love Connection.
  • Lilyan Chauvin, 82, was an actress with one of those faces—you knew her when you saw her, whether it was as Joey's Old World grandmother on Friends ("The One Where Ross Can't Flirt"), Mother Superior in Silent Night, Deadly Night or as a ultraprincipled Bajoran on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine ("Rocks and Shoals").
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