Animator, artist Al Rio dies in apparent suicide

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Al Rio

Al Rio

Brazil-based ani­ma­tor and “good girl artist” Al Rio died Tues­day morn­ing. He was 49.

The cause was appar­ent sui­cide by hang­ing, said comics-centric inter­na­tional art agency Glass House Graph­ics, which Rio joined in the mid-1990s.

After work­ing as an ani­ma­tion direc­tor, Rio became an ani­ma­tor in Brazil for Dis­ney, work­ing on such prop­er­ties as the syn­di­cated Disney’s Aladdin: The Series.

Born Alvaro Araújo Lourenço do Rio on May 19, 1962, he was raised in For­t­aleza, in the north­east­ern Brazil. Rio began his career in Rio de Janeiro as an artist in the early 1990s, illus­trat­ing books for a local Eng­lish school.

Upon join­ing Glass House Graph­ics, Rio began work­ing for DC Comics, though his “big break” came from suc­ceed­ing J. Scott Camp­bell on Wildstorm’s Gen 13. From there, Rio, best known for his ver­sa­til­ity and his abil­ity of draw­ing some of the sex­i­est women in comics, went on to draw for Mar­vel, Ver­tigo Press, Dark Horse, Chaos! Comics, Avatar Press, Cross­gen, Zenescope, Image, and more — draw­ing titles such as his own series, Expo­sure, as well as Cap­tain Amer­ica, Pur­ga­tori, Lady Death, X-Men, New Mutants, Spider-Man, Vam­pirella and Star Wars, among many others.

At the time of his death, Al Rio was near­ing com­ple­tion of Fever Moon, a graphic novel for Ran­dom House (Del Rey), writ­ten by best-selling authors Karen Marie Mon­ing and David Lawrence, for release this summer.

His Expo­sure prop­erty, which Rio proudly claimed was “the sex­i­est super­nat­ural story ever,” recently has been seri­al­ized on exposure.keenspot.com, and a hard­cover col­lec­tion of Expo­sure was launched days ago on www.kickstarter.com/projects/323292623/exposure-volume-one?ref=live. (Con­tri­bu­tions beyond printing/production costs will be donated to Rio’s family.)

A major fan of sci­ence fic­tion, he was work­ing on a book col­lect­ing all the aliens, space­ships, alien worlds and all sci-fi mate­r­ial he had cre­ated over the years; he was also in the midst of cre­at­ing two more books: Al Rio’s How To Draw Girls and the defin­i­tive cof­fee table book of his paint­ings, illus­tra­tions and sketches, The Sexy Art of Al Rio.

A great artist, Al Rio was also a great per­son, tutor­ing art stu­dents and donat­ing art to wor­thy causes,” Glass House Graph­ics said.

Few could draw as well, adapt­ing to so many styles so effort­lessly, as Al Rio,” said David Campiti, his agent of many years. “We’d got­ten together sev­eral weeks ago and were work­ing hard on his projects, so news of his death came as quite a shock.

He was a long­time friend whose art was a great joy to me and even inspired my wife’s draw­ing career. Gen­er­ous and hum­ble, he’ll be deeply missed.”

Al Rio is sur­vived by his wife Zilda and chil­dren Rene, Adrielle and Isabel. His funeral was held Wednes­day at Cemitério São João Batista in Fortaleza.

Con­tri­bu­tions may be made to his fam­ily on his behalf through Kick­starter. Con­do­lences may be sent to his fam­ily through terry(at)alrioart.com and David(at)glasshousegraphics.com.

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