Seth Fisher

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Seth Fisher
File:Seth Fisher.JPG
Born Seth Steven Fisher
(1972-07-22)July 22, 1972
Seattle, Washington
Died January 30, 2006(2006-01-30) (aged 33)
Osaka, Japan
Nationality American
Area(s) Penciller, Inker, Colourist
Notable works
Green Lantern: Willworld
Flash: Time Flies
Vertigo Pop! Tokyo

Seth Fisher (July 22, 1972 – January 30, 2006) was an American comic book artist.


Seth Fisher was born in Seattle in 1972, and lived in Coronado with his mother from age 5 to 10, until his mother remarried and the family moved to the East Coast with the Navy. In junior high school Fisher went to live with his father in Custer, South Dakota; his mother and stepfather soon moved back to Coronado, and he came every summer to visit.[1]

Fisher decided he wanted to be a comic book artist after attending his first Comic Con in San Diego when he was a freshman in college, around 1991 or so.[2] After that, he started attending every year, bringing a portfolio of his work and standing in line for an editor at DC or Marvel Comics to look through the work and offer a real life critique. By the time he was 23 or so, Fisher's work had improved enough to receive some real attention from professionals, though so far nothing that turned into a paycheck.[1][2]

After graduating from Colorado College in 1994[3] (with a degree in mathematics),[4] Fisher went to Japan with the JET Programme, to teach English in a rural Japanese high school on the small Oki Islands. His initial attraction to Japan was its comic book culture. Comics in Japan are very much part of mainstream society, and there are stories designed to appeal to every subset of the population, from small children to white-collar working men to stay-at-home mothers to radical political thinkers.[3] Fisher studied the intricacies of manga, and wanted to go to a country where an adult could read a comic book in public without feeling the need to hide it behind a copy of Newsweek.[1]

Fisher spent four years in Japan, and sometime around that period started looking for a writer to do a comic with.[5]


Fisher first gained mainstream recognition for his and Andrew Dabb's Vertigo series Happydale: Devils in the Desert.[6] Fisher met Dabb online in 1996, and they did an 8-page mini-comic that gave a feel for the story to pitch to a publisher.[1][5] None of the contacted publishers accepted the story as, at the time, Fisher's style was considered too risky to publish.

Eventually, Happydale was picked up by Jim Valentino for his Non-Line imprint, which folded when the book was half-done.[1][5] After that, Fisher decided to finish the story to have it ready to be published, and took six months off work.[2] In the meantime, he was contacted by Heavy Metal and Cricket magazines and did a few short stories for the first and illustrated a few prose stories for the latter.[8]

Upon completing the project, Fisher took it to SDCC '98, where he was immediately recognized by Andy Helfer.[2][5] Helfer liked the presented work, agreed to pass it to Karen Berger, then-Vertigo editor, and in the meantime assigned Fisher to do some work for his Paradox Press imprint.

In 1999, Fisher was hired by Presto Studios as one of the designers for Myst III: Exile, and took a year off of comics to work on it.[1][3] After the game was completed, Fisher came back to DC with art samples and a story idea he pitched to editor Joey Cavalieri. However, after a brainstorming session, the idea was shelved and it was decided to have the presented art style as a starting point for a Hal Jordan story.[8] Cavalieri assigned J. M. DeMatteis, then-writer of Jordan (in the Spectre incarnation) to script the project.

At SDCC '00, Shelly Bond, Fisher's editor at Vertigo, introduced him to writer Jonathan Vankin and asked them to come up with a story set in Japan as she knew both of them had experience living there.[9] After completing Green Lantern: Willworld, Fisher was eager to do more, so he was given a year-old Flash script by John Rozum. The Flash story had no deadline,[10] so Fisher was able to work on both that and what would eventually become Vertigo Pop! Tokyo as well as a Batman story with Dan Curtis Johnson and J. H. Williams III (that wouldn't be released until three years later as "Snow" arc of Legends of the Dark Knight series).[11] After finishing those projects, he contributed two fill-in issues to his then-favorite ongoing,[2][10] John Arcudi and Tan Eng Huat's Doom Patrol.

In 2003, Fisher was nominated for an Eisner Award in "Best Penciller/Inker" category for Flash: Time Flies and Vertigo Pop! Tokyo.[2][12]

After the expiration of his two-year exclusive contract with DC (signed in 2000),[11] Fisher took another break from comics to focus on his marriage and, later, the birth of son.[13] In the meantime, he produced album covers in Finland and his adopted home of Japan,[14][15] as well as some work for QuickJapan magazine and Dentsu ad agency.

Fisher returned to comics once again in 2005, wanting to do a Fantastic Four or Iron Man project. Zeb Wells, writer of the eventual mini-series, recalled in an October 2005 interview,

In a 1999 interview, Andrew Dabb stated he and Fisher had a sequel for Happydale planned sometime in the future;[5] Zeb Wells planned to reunite with Fisher on an Ant-Man story;[4] unfortunately, neither of these nor any other possible future Fisher projects ever came to be.


J. H. Williams III first broke the news of Fisher's passing in a post at Barbelith Underground:

The news was confirmed later that day by most major comics websites.[18][19] Seth Fisher died in late January 2006 as a result of injuries suffered in a fall from a seventh story roof off an Osaka, Japan club he went to celebrate the completion of the last issue of Big in Japan.[1]

Three works have been released posthumously: a project titled Build Your Own Backpack Alarm, written by Shar Levine and Leslie Johnstone – a do-it-yourself guide to building a personal backpack security system – for Scholastic, a short story titled "Freddy Wertham Goes to Hell" for Joe Hill's series Locke & Key, and Bob's Amazing Life, a children's book written and illustrated by Fisher for his son.[20]

Personal life

In 1998, Fisher married his college girlfriend, April Brody, and they moved from Japan to Florence, Italy for a year so that April could study Italian.[3] When Fisher was hired by Presto, he and April moved back to the United States to San Diego.[5]

Some years later, they divorced,[3][4] and in 2002 Fisher moved back to Japan for six weeks of photographic research for Vertigo Pop! Tokyo.[10] Acquiring an artist's visa to remain in Japan, Fisher reconnected with an old friend named Hisako Sugiyama, who would become his second wife.[4]

On May 5, 2004, the couple's son Toufuu Go Fisher was born.[3][13]


Interior comic work includes:

Covers only

Other work


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Sheridan, Vicki. "Memories of Seth". Flowering Nose: The Art of Seth Fisher. Archived from the original on July 21, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Singh, Arune (April 22, 2002). "A Beautiful Mind: talking with artist Seth Fisher". Comic Book Resources.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 "Seth Steven Fisher". Coronado Eagle & Journal. March 9, 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Morse, Ben (August 23, 2006). "The Life and Strange Death of Seth Fisher". Wizard. Archived from the original on June 26, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Johnston, Antony (February 11, 2000). "HAPPYDALE, HAPPY GUYS". PopImage.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Welcome to Happydale". Flowering Nose.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Leong, Tim (June 21, 2005). "Learn From the Fisher King". Comic Foundry.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Jozic, Mike (June 2, 2001). "Seth Fisher: Head Case". Comics Bulletin.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Arnold, Adam (October 4, 2002). "Vertigo Pop! Tokyo - An Interview with Jonathan Vankin". Animefringe.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Jozic, Mike (January 17, 2003). "Seth Fisher: The Talented Mr. Fisher". Comics Bulletin.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 Jozic, Mike (August 13, 2005). "MEANWHILE Interviews... Seth Fisher". MEANWHILE. Archived from the original on July 9, 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Weiland, Jonah (April 10, 2003). "2003 Eisner Comic Industry Awards announced". Animefringe.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Toufuu: Welcome to Planet Earth". Flowering Nose.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Bank$ – Tomorrow". Discogs. February 11, 2004.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Squaremeat – Astronomical Coffee Break". Discogs. December 19, 2005.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Tramountanas, George (October 5, 2005). "Going Back to the Wells: Zeb Wells talks Fantastic Four/Iron Man: Big in Japan". Comic Foundry.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "The passing of a great artist". Barbelith Underground. Archived from the original on February 19, 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Weiland, Jonah (February 2, 2006). "Artist Seth Fisher Passes Away". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on October 12, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Spurgeon, Tom (February 2, 2006). "Collective Memory: Seth Fisher, RIP". The Comics Journal. Archived from the original on March 12, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Sheridan, Vicki (August 27, 2007). "Bob's Life". Flowering Nose.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links