|Died||January 3, 2010|
|Area(s)||Writer, Penciller, Inker, Colourist|
Barry Blair (1954 – January 3, 2010) was a Canadian artist and writer, known for launching Aircel Comics (publisher of titles such as Samurai, Elflord, Dragonforce, and Men in Black) in the 1980s.
Blair was born in Ottawa, Ontario, but spent his childhood from age 9 onward moving back and forth between Canada and Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, and Viet Nam. He attended Carleton University in Ottawa but was expelled. Some of Blair's first professional work was animation for the children's television series You Can't Do That on Television and the science show Let Me Prove It.
In 1985, when the insulation company he worked for lost its contract with the government, he persuaded the owner to revamp the corporation as Aircel Comics under his editorial direction. Aircel became a successful independent comics publisher during the industry expansion which followed. Blair wrote and illustrated several of his own series during the early years of Aircel, including Elflord (begun as a self-published series before Aircel became a publisher), Samurai, and Dragonring. In the late 1980s he took over the series Warlock 5 and began his own series Team Nippon, adults-only Leather and Lace, Gun Fury (inked by Dave Cooper), and other series. In 1990–1992 he illustrated comics adaptations of the novels Logan's Run and Logan's World for Malibu Comics (which had acquired Aircel).
Blair left Aircel and beginning in 1992 he wrote and illustrated runs of the ElfQuest series New Blood and Blood of Ten Chiefs and did other art and writing work for the then-expanding ElfQuest line, published by WaRP Graphics. His series Elflord and Samurai were briefly revived. . In the early 2000s Blair and Colin Walbridge produced the short erotic series Sapphire for NBM Publishing, and focused on work for online gaming and private commissions. They collaborated on Nymphettes, an art series featuring erotic illustrations. They joined with Santos Aleman to form Studio RealmWalkers in 2009.
From his early work, Blair's style showed a definite influence from manga at at time when Asian comics were largely unknown in North America. His art – including the erotica which became his main focus later in his career – was typically characterized by childlike figures with sexual attributes, which was a common criticism of his work.