Friday, August 25, 2006

Speaking of Michael William Kaluta, as I most certainly was in my last post, I see at the Comics Reporter where the illustrious Mr. K is celebrating his 59th birthday today. Here's a better-late-than-never Bacardi Show Birthday Greeting for ya, Mr. Kaluta!

The first time I saw Kaluta's artwork was in the pages of The Shadow #2, which was the first issue I had picked up of that still-new 1973 title. It was quite unlike anything I'd ever seen before, except perhaps in classic illustrated literature as a child: graceful figures, a not-always-precise but always-vibrant line, wonderful cinematic techniques, and a strong (although I didn't really know this at the time) pulp-magazine and Art Deco feel which galvanized my 13-year-old eye immediately. I have followed his career faithfully ever since; even though he disappointingly had to cut his Shadow run short due to deadline hassles, he continued to contribute scores of outstanding covers to several DC supernatural titles such as the Houses Mystery and Secrets; another sadly brief stint drawing the Spawn of Frankenstein, and I went back and discovered his Burroughs adaptation work which ran immdiately prior to his Shadow series. he did a lot of stellar work for other publishers as well, then in the mid-80's he hooked up with writer Elaine Lee and gave us one of the best series I've ever read, anyway, the elaborate, adventurous, and lighthearted Starstruck, which I'd love to devote a big-ass blog post (or even, dare I say a website) to someday but I'm afraid I'm not up to the task, it's such a comlplicated and gnarly narrative. Above is the cover to (if memory serves, I don't have my copies handy) the third issue of the short-lived Epic comics run, which elaborated on the prequel which started out in Heavy Metal and wound up as a Marvel Graphic Novel, a Kaluta-autographed copy of which is one of my most prized possessions.

He's pretty much done covers for the last decade or so; I'd love to see more interiors but those covers have been mighty sweet and I'm just happy that he's cared enough to make the effort. He'll always be at the top of my comics art pantheon.

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