Tom Moore has died at the age of 86. The Archie Comics cartoonist passed away from lung cancer in El Paso, Texas, on Monday, July 20.
"He's a legend, in El Paso and, really, around the United States," All Star Comics & Games owner Brad Wilson told the El Paso Times newspaper. "A lot of people don't realize how much he influenced comic book art. He was still buying comics and a really nice guy, a fun guy."
Archie Comics' editor in chief, Victor Gorelick, added: "Tom was very funny and had a knack for putting together really great, hilarious gags and special pages when he worked at Archie. He was probably best known here for inking our Jughead relaunch decades ago. We're all sad to hear this news and wish his family the very best during this time."
Moore began cartooning when he served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. According to El Paso Times, he was reassigned as the staff cartoonist and later attended Cartoonist and Illustrator School in New York.
The Long Island native went on to team up with Bob Montana, who created the Archie character in 1941. In 1953, Moore jumped on board to illustrate the redhead, freckly-faced Riverdale High School teenager. He also drew Archie's pals Betty, Veronica, and Jughead until he retired in the late 1980s.
"Archie Comics is saddened to hear of the passing of artist Tom Moore," the company's official Facebook page wrote on Monday. "Our thoughts are with his family and fans." (Moore also drew for Underdog, Mighty Mouse, and Snuffy Smith.)
Although beloved by many, Moore appeared taken aback by Archie's success while he showcased some of his work at the El Paso Museum of Art in 1996. "I have enjoyed what I've done and I am pleased that others liked it, too," he told El Paso Times at the time. "I think it's such a kick that my stuff is going to be hanging at the museum. Who knew Archie would have such universal appeal?"
Moore is survived by his wife, Ruth, son Lito Bujanda-Moore, and daughter Holly Mathew.