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updated 7/6/2008 2:36:22 PM ET 2008-07-06T18:36:22

Michael Turner, a comic book artist who drew covers for major titles such as "Superman/Batman," "The Flash" and "Civil War,'" has died. He was 37.

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Turner died June 27 at a Santa Monica hospital of complications related to cancer, said Vince Hernandez, editor in chief of Aspen MLT, the Santa Monica publishing company Turner founded in 2003. Turner had battled bone cancer for eight years.

Through his company, Turner created online comic adaptations for the NBC series "Heroes" and published his own titles, including the best-selling "Fathom," a deep-sea story about a female superhero.

He also drew covers for large projects such as DC Comics' "Justice League" and Marvel's "Civil War" and was a regular cover artist for "Superman/Batman" and "The Flash."

"He was definitely one of the most popular and influential comic-book artists working right now," said Andrew Farago, curator of San Francisco's Cartoon Art Museum. "He was very, very much in demand as a cover artist on high-profile projects."

Ryan Liebowitz, general manager of the Golden Apple Comics store in Los Angeles, said Turner's name was synonymous with special-edition covers that often became collectibles. The milestone 500th issue of "Uncanny X-Men," due out next week, will feature a special-edition cover by Turner.

Turner was also known for drawing female comic book characters that evoked both innocence and sex appeal and exuded energy.

In 1994, the budding artist was hired by Century City-based Top Cow Productions after an editor saw his work at the Comic-Con convention in San Diego.

At Top Cow, Turner co-created "Witchblade," a comic about a voluptuous female detective who fights evil after discovering a mystical glove. The comic went on to make Top Cow's name and set the standard for Turner's future work.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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