The illustrator who made his bones illustrating classic titles like Creepy and Eerie before continuing Alex Raymond's genre-defining work on Flash Gordon and bringing Star Wars to comics has died at 79, leaving a vibrant legacy.

It's easy, looking at stunning work like the pieces in this gallery, to understand why Williamson enjoyed a rich and varied 40 years in the illustration business — his sense of scale, of the otherworldly, was unparalleled. And his shift from straight cartoonist to inker spoke to his generosity of craft: Williamson made other people better, both on the page, and by fostering new talents like Bernie Wrightson and Mike Kaluta.

Personally, I never got the chance to meet Williamson, and feel that generosity first-hand. But comics writer and artist Jimmy Palmiotti did — you should read his eulogy to get a feel for the man we lost.