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The comics world reacts to the sudden passing of acclaimed Aquaman artist Robson Rocha

By Matthew Jackson
Aquaman 65 cover

Over the weekend, the comics world lost one of its brightest rising stars. Robson Rocha, an artist best known for his time on DC Comics titles like Aquaman and Green Lanterns, died Sunday after a struggle with COVID-19. The news came just two weeks after friend and fellow artist Fabi Marques announced that Rocha was hospitalized in Brazil, and was requesting blood donations to aid in his treatment. On Sunday, Marques was one of the first to break the news via Twitter.

"I’m really sorry to inform that we lost Robson," Marques wrote. "One of the greatest artists of our generation. Rest in power."

In the hours that followed, numerous collaborators and colleagues began paying tribute to Rocha across social media, sharing memories and appreciation for his work and his spirit as both an artist and a person, including an official statement mourning Rocha from DC Comics that featured his original line art of Arthur Curry and his daughter, Andy.

DC Comics writer Joshua Williamson, who worked with Rocha on titles including this year's Future State: Justice League, also responded with personal stories of their collaboration and friendship.

Throughout Sunday and Monday, other DC Comics collaborators also took to social media to mourn Rocha.

"An incredibly talented young artist from Brazil — Robson started at DC just 11 years ago and always impressed me with the amazing energy and fluidity of his figurework, the grace of his lines and the power of his compositions," DC Comics publisher Jim Lee wrote on Instagram. "My condolences first and foremost to his widowed wife and daughter, his many peers who admired and respected his talent, and the countless fans around the world who loved and cherished his art."

"Robson Rocha had the incredible talent of using his art to express ideas that were trapped between script & words," DC Comics Editor Jessica Chen wrote. "We both loved horror & snuck that in our projects. My heart is broken & still refuses to believe he is gone now. Comics has lost a great artist & even better friend."

I don't really know what to say except that Robson Rocha was a brilliant artist, a kind man, and a loving husband and father," DC Comics Associate Editor Andrea Shea said. "He was so incredibly loved and will be deeply missed."

After breaking through in superhero comics in 2010, Robson began making a name for himself at DC during the New 52 era, before signing an exclusive deal with the publisher in 2016. After successes like Green Lanterns, Lobo, and an acclaimed run on Aquaman alongside writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, he seemed primed to reach even greater heights. His most recent work included the high-profile series Future State: Justice League. Five years ago, when he signed his DC exclusive deal, Rocha had this to say about his work in superhero comics:

“I’ve been a fan of comic books since I was a child. To have the opportunity to work with the DC characters I admire and love so much is a dream come true. These heroes have helped me believe in a better and much more fantastic world. I hope that my contributions to these characters will help to inspire others.”

Our thoughts are with Rocha's family, friends, and colleagues.