Marvel Icon Tragically Passes Away, Tributes Pour in From Fans

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Illustration of two costumed characters: one muscular figure with a shaved head and a red circle emblem on their chest, holding firearms; another clad in a white, hooded, and caped outfit with glowing eyes and an elaborate chest symbol resembling a moon.

Credit: Inside the Magic

Tributes are pouring in after the death of Marvel icon Don Perlin.

According to a Facebook post by his daughter Elaine Perlin, the co-creator of iconic superheroes such as Moon Knight and Bloodshot sadly passed away at the age of 94 on May 14.

Oscar Isaac in his Mr. Moon Knight suit in the Disney+ 'Moon Knight' series
Credit: Marvel Studios

“I am devastated to report the death of an amazing man,” Perlin wrote. “My father, Don Perlin, passed away peacefully yesterday at the age of 94. He [was] an amazing father, husband, grandfather, and great-grandfather. We will all miss him terribly. He was an amazing artist and considered a legend in the comic world. To me, he was my best friend. I will miss him so much.”

Perlin’s stepson, Leslie Blumenfeld, confirmed that he died in his nursing home in Jacksonville, Florida.

A dark, monochromatic comic-style illustration of a masked superhero in a tattered, hooded cloak. The scene is dramatic with rain pouring down, creating a gritty, intense atmosphere. In this tribute to a Marvel Icon, the character's eyes are prominently visible, exuding determination and mystery.
Credit: Marvel

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While Perlin spent decades working in the industry, he found his greatest success in the 1970s, nearly 30 years after he first started professionally drawing comic books (and several years after he put his career on a temporary pause to serve in the military).

In 1974, he drew for “Werewolf by Night” (which was met with huge critical success when it was adapted for Disney+ in 2022) before co-creating the character Moon Knight – a former mercenary who gains powers after being revived by the god Khonshu – for the series with writer Doug Moench.

Marvel is saddened by the loss of Don Perlin, the co-creator of Moon Knight and iconic artist behind series like Werewolf by Night, Ghost Rider, Defenders, and more. Don’s legacy will be a creative aspiration for generations, and our hearts are with his family and loved ones.

Moon Knight was famously brought to life by Star Wars alumnus Oscar Isaac for a six-part Disney+ series in 2022. Another of Perlin’s stepsons, jazz journalist Larry Blumenfeld, noted that Perlin “appreciated the idea that these characters that he, his colleagues, and his friends had created so long ago endured.”

Sadly, Perlin co-created Moon Knight before Marvel introduced its royalty system. He later commented on this in a 2010 interview, where he explained that he only drew for Moon Knight in two issues of Marvel Spotlight. “Then we never heard about the character again,” he said. “Down the line, they revived him, but I never had a hand on it again. Never got anything out of it.”

Oscar Isaac as Marc Spector/Steven Grant/Jake Lockley in Moon Knight
Credit: Marvel Studios

During his time at Marvel Comics, Perlin also drew characters such as Ghost Rider (a character Kevin Feige reportedly wants Ryan Gosling to bring to life in the MCU ASAP) and spent six years drawing the Defenders, a team of superheroes whose ever-evolving lineup has included the likes of the Hulk, Doctor Strange, Valkyrie, and the Silver Surfer.

Beyond Marvel, Perlin also co-created the superhero Bloodshot for Valiant Comics (which itself was founded by former Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Jim Shooter) with writers Bob Layton and Kevin VanHook in the 1990s. The first issue sold nearly one million copies, and Vin Diesel later portrayed the character in the 2020 film of the same name.

Years after Bloodshot debuted, Perlin commented on his disappointment at what had become of the character.

A muscular character with short hair stands in front of a vivid red background featuring a church steeple and a flying helicopter. The figure, reminiscent of a Marvel icon, has a stern expression and wears a white tank top with a large red circle on the chest and shoulder straps.
Credit: Valiant Comics

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“He looked good until they made him look ugly,” he said. “I don’t think that character should have been ugly. He was supposed to be a ladies’ man; he should have been what we made him to be in the first place. But when the comic book sales started dropping they didn’t know what to do so they started screwing around with it and that’s what happened.”

Perlin later served as the creative director for Valiant Comics, where he was praised for being “a master storyteller” and “a stalwart, workhorse craftsman.” His last published comic came in 2000 when he drew for an issue of “Scooby-Doo.”

Tributes to Perlin have poured in on X (formerly known as Twitter). Fellow comic book artist Kelley Jones wrote: “This page of the Defenders was drawn by Don Perlin. I inked the first five pages of it. This little gig got me hired by Marvel as an inker albeit for the Micronauts.”

One fan (@bloodofkirby) referred to Perlin’s delayed success in the industry, writing: “Unsung for too long, but definitely never unappreciated.”

Meanwhile, comic book writer J.M. DeMatteis praised Perlin’s natural ability for storytelling. “was a great visual storyteller, passionate about the work, always willing to learn and grow,” he said. “More important, he was an incredibly nice man. Doing DEFENDERS with Don was a highlight of my early days at Marvel. Heartfelt condolences to Don‘s family.”

What’s your favorite character drawn by Perlin? Share your tribute to his work in the comments.

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