Batton Lash, the famed comic book creator of Wolff & Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre (later titled Supernatural Law), passed away yesterday morning at the age of 65 after a two-year battle with brain cancer.
Lash's passing was confirmed by his wife, Jackie Estrada, who wrote that her husband was surrounded by "friends, family, and caregivers" when he died. While no details for a funeral have been locked down, Estrada did confirm that services would be held in both San Diego and New York.
Lash was also known for writing: Simpsons stories based around Radioactive Man for Bongo Comics, the famous Archie Meets The Punisher crossover series in 1994, and The First Gentleman Of The Apocalypse for Aces Weekly.
He was remembered by his friend and fellow comic book creator, Mark Wheatley, on Facebook, who wrote:
"Tonight I lost a friend and the Frankenstein Mobster lost his Lawyers. Batton Lash and I have been creating comics for about the same time, and since we have both been self-publishing, we have been fighting the same battles and finding many of the same rewards. In that time Batton has always been clever, creative, resourceful, resilient and fun to hang out with. He should have been turning out more great comics for years to come. My love and sincere condolences go out to Jackie Estrada who has been the perfect match for Batton. He will be remembered. He will be missed."
Born in Brooklyn in October of 1953, Lash attended New York's School of Visual Arts, learning visual arts under the tutelage of cartoonist icons like Will Eisner. In 1979, he debuted Wolff & Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre in The Brooklyn Paper.
The comic strip revolved around Alanna Wolff and Jeff Byrd, two lawyers that aid monsters (e.g. vampires, werewolves, ghosts, etc.) in strange legal binds. Between 1983 and 1997, The National Law Journal picked up the strip, but a fully-fledged comic book series was launched for Wolff & Byrd (now titled Supernatural Law) in 1994.
That same year, Lash and Estrada established Exhibit A Press, which has published all comics and graphic novels about the two supernatural attorneys for over 20 years. Before getting their very own series, however, Wolff and Byrd made occasional cameos in other books like Mr. Monster, Munden’s Bar Special, and Satan’s Six.
"I have always tried to make Supernatural Law as accessible as possible to the new reader," Lash once remarked in a 2014 interview. "As for reaching out, I promote the series at conventions, on podcasts, and through Q&As, such as this one! Wolff & Byrd have been around for 35 years, but people are discovering and hearing about them for the first time all the time. I always say, 'one reader at a time!' And I think going to color has helped pique the interest of new readers."
Lash is survived by his wife, Jackie, a veteran of the comics industry herself, as she is an administrator of the annual Eisner Awards held at San Diego Comic Con. She is also the chair of the con's guest and awards committee.