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Friday, May 29, 2009

This Week's Suspended Animation - Professional Comics Artist Val Mayerik

Val Mayerik started his professional comics career in 1972. Fresh out of college, he became an assistant to comic book artist Dan Adkins (who mostly inked for Marvel), and began his own penciling career soon after.

As a preteen, I discovered his work while thumbing through a garage sale copy of Marvel Comics’ Supernatural Thrillers #11. The striking realism and drama he brought to that particular Living Mummy story leaves an impression on me to this day. With a style that is anything but simple, and nowhere near “cartoony”, Mayerik’s work lent itself to the darker, more suspenseful and more horrific corners of comicdom. His monsters were as frightening as anything on the big screen at the time, his settings were foreboding and unsettling, his women were beautiful and his men were heroic, barbaric, demonic or whatever else they had to be. The level of talent he achieved in such a short time is unusual, even to this day.

His art has appeared primarily in the genres of fantasy and horror. Throughout the 70's, his work was featured in Marvel’s Chamber of Chills, Conan The Barbarian, Supernatural Thrillers, Creatures on The Loose, Adventures Into Fear, Man-Thing, The Frankenstein Monster, Kazar, and black and white magazines Marvel Premiere and The Hulk.

In the 80's, Mayerik produced more work for Marvel, such as Void Indigo, and for Heavy Metal magazine and Warren Publishing’s black and white line of magazines.

Mayerik’s most well-known contribution to comics is probably Howard the Duck, which he co-created with writer Steve Gerber, in Adventures Into Fear #13 in 1973. In 1977, he was also the artist on the Howard the Duck newspaper strip.

Today, Mayerik enjoys a successful career creating art for advertising agencies, role-playing games, story boards and more.

The work of Val Mayerik is highly recommended for comic art lovers, and fine art lovers, alike. Due to the subject matter of much of his work, however, it is not recommended for the youngest of readers.

Review by Mark Allen