Oldest member of The Studio dies at 67
JEFFREY Catherine Jones passed away on Thursday May 19. She suffered from severe emphysema and bronchitis as well as hardening of the arteries around the heart, was weak from being severely under weight and had no reserves with which to fight.
Born Jeffrey Durwood Jones on January 10, 1944, she attended Georgia State College, where she met and later married fellow student Mary Louise Alexander (now Louise ‘Weezie’ Simonson) with whom she had a daughter. Her first comics work was for Warren Publishing, where she pencilled a
six-page story alongside Tex Blaisdell for 1965’s Blazing Combat #1.
Her next work came two years later when she illustrated a five-page story for M&H Publications’ Monsters & Heroes #2 while contributions to Warren’s Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella and various King, Gold Key and Charlton followed. However Jones – who also produced stories for Major Magazines’ Web of Horror and Skywald’s magazine line – is probably best known among comics fans for her DC work on sundry horror comics but notably for her covers to Wonder Woman #199 and 200.
Her most idiosyncratic comics work was Idyl, which ran in National Lampoon from 1972 to 1975, Spasm, a 1973 Last Gasp one-shot and I’m Age, which appeared in Heavy Metal from 1981 to 1984 . As her Idyl run was coming to an end, she got together with Bernie Wrightson, Barry Windsor-Smith, and Michael William Kaluta to form a Manhattan-based artist co-operative. Collectively known as The Studio, this highly influential quartet was the subject of an acclaimed Dragon’s Dream book of the same name. The Studio was published in 1979, the year the four artists went their own way.
As an adult, Jones recalled wanting to be a girl from her earliest memories. She confronted these issues in 1998 and began hormone replacement therapy. Setting out on a new life as a woman, changing her name to Jeffrey Catherine Jones and, in recent years, beginning to draw and paint again.
While Jones’ comics output is limited she was lauded beyond the industry for her painted covers to such fantasy novels as Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series and Andre Norton’s Postmarked the Stars, The Zero Stone and Uncharted Stars among many others. She was nominated for the Hugo Award for best fan artist in 1967 and for the best professional artist Hugo in 1970, 1971, and 1972. Jones was nominated for the World Fantasy Award for best artist in 1975, and won the award in 1986. Jones was nominated for the Chesley Award in 1999.
Jones is survived by her daughter Julianna Jones Muth, and three grandchildren.
Bill Blackbeard R.I.P.
COMICS historian Bill Blackbeard died on March 10 at a Country Villa nursing home in Watsonville, California. He was 84.
William Elsworth Blackbeard was born April 28, 1926, in Lawrence, Indiana. A newspaper strip afficionado from an early age, in 1968 he founded the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art, which he headquartered in the home near Golden Gate Park that he shared with his wife, Barbara. He was the author, editor or at the very least a mojor contributor to over 200 books foremost among them being the seminal Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics (1977), the two slip-cased volumes of The Comic Strip Century (1995), Richard Outcault’s Yellow Kid (1995), Eclipse/Fantagraphics’ Krazy Kat series and NBM’s 12-volume Terry and the Pirates (1984-87) and its18-volume Wash Tubbs and Captain Easy (1987-92).