Comic-book artist and 'Preacher' creator Steve Dillon dies at 54

Artist Steve Dillon, who co-created the comic-book series on which the AMC show Preacher is based, has died in New York at 54.

His brother and fellow cartoonist, Glyn, confirmed the news on Twitter but did not go into the details of his older brother's death.

The English-born Dillon got his start at age 16 by providing the artwork for Marvel UK's Hulk Weekly. While still in the U.K., he worked on Doctor Who Weekly, for which he created the character of Abslom Daak, Nick Fury and Warrior.

He left for the United States in the 1980s and began the next phase of his career at DC Comics, creating artwork for Skreemer, Animal Man and The Atom.  His first big success came in the early '90s as the result of his partnership with writer Garth Ennis on the Hellblazer series.

Dillon and Ennis reteamed in 1995 to create the acclaimed Preacher for Vertigo Comics, which is still revered as a classic work. It earned Dillon the Eisner award, the comic-book industry's equivalent of an Oscar, in 1996. USA TODAY's Brian Truitt described the series as "ultra-violent, often funny and slightly blasphemous."

AMC premiered its well-received TV adaptation of Preacher, starring Dominic Cooper and Ruth Negga, in May. The show, wrote Truitt, managed to "make the network's zombie hit The Walking Dead look like TheCare Bears." The show returns for its second season in 2017.

Along with Ennis, Dillon returned to Marvel in 2000 to work on The Punisher. His other creations include the Dogwelder character for Ennis' Hitman series.

Seth Rogen, who serves as an executive producer on the TV version of Preacher, called Dillon "my favorite comic artist who drew my favorite comics."

Brian Lynch, who wrote the animated film The Secret Life of Pets, wrote, "Thank you for Preacher and some of the greatest Punisher stories. I can't believe this, this stinks."

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