His death was reported on his Facebook account by his son, Matthew:
“This is Matthew Lightle, Steve Lightle’s son. This morning my father passed away from Cardiac Arrest. I wished to thank you all for your friendship to my father, and also to ask that if you are a Patreon follower, please cancel your account as we are just beginning to take care of his affairs.”
Born November 19th 1959 in Kansas, his first professional comics work was a story in Americomics’ Black Diamond #4. That same year, he illustrated the story ‘Ekko’ for DC’s New Talent Showcase, after which he briefly drew World’s Finest Comics before succeeding Keith Giffen as the illustrator on the Baxter format Legion of Super-Heroes; his idealised and heroic illustrative style providing a considerable contrast to the increasingly exaggerated and cartoonish Giffen art.
One ‘first’ during his tenure was that he and writer Paul Levitz co-created new Legionnaires Tellus and Quislet, the first members of the interplanetary team to have non-humanoid physiologies – prior to that, it had often been noted that for a team made up of the inhabitants of multiple worlds, the Legion was uniformly human in composition, with only a handful of variations in skin colour.
Leaving the LSH as interior artist after two years, he departed the book to relaunch the Doom Patrol series in 1987, though he continued to be the regular cover artist on LSH until 1988.
Despite his relatively short stay on the Legion, he always described it as his ‘dream assignment’, and revisited the group – then being published under the title The Legion – for a couple of issues in the early part of this century. He continued to draw many Legion-related pieces, either as commission works or for his own enjoyment, over the ensuing decades.
His artwork also appeared in numerous other series from DC and Marvel, including Flash, Outsiders, Marvel Comics Presents, Classic X-Men and Quasar.
As Legion of Super-Heroes fans ourselves, he will always have a place in our hearts.