Monday, June 2, 2014


I've highly enjoyed Howard Chaykin's inconic work on comic books and paperback covers.

I was so glad when Dynamite came out with The Art of Howard Chaykin in a deluxe hardcover at around 250 pages!!! A must have for fans of his work. 
Early on in his career he apprenticed under Gil Kane! Wow! How can you go wrong starting out like this. He even ghosted Gray Morrow work (such as in Man Thing!)

Chaykin's work has spanned numerous publishers such as: DC (Batman, Blackhawk, Shadow, Weird Worlds,) Atlas (Scorpion,) Marvel (Dominic Fortune, Conan, James Bond, Nick Fury with Jim Starlin,) First (American Flagg,) Vortex (Black Kiss,) Star*Reach (Cody Starbuck,) Heavy Metal (Stars my Destination, Empire) Boom! (Die Hard,) Hermes (Buck Rogers,) Image (Satellite Sam) and Warren (Creepy, Vampirella!) And that's not even covering some of the various covers he's done for other publishers.

Believe my, I'm only touching the surface of his tremendous body of writing (he's done many comic book series in which he did the writing and not the artwork) and artwork (not only comic books and graphic novels, but covers to paperback novels, TV, Portfolios, Prints, Albums, Commercial and Games.)

For Malibu, his work on Firearm #1 was even published with a VHS video to go along with the story in that first issue.

I was fortunate enough to find Empire, a signed (by Samuel Delany & Howard Chaykin!) hardcover edition, in a Canadian bookstore. Score!!

I was already reading the Shadow before Howard came out with his DC comic book of the famous pulp hero. Now he really came to life in his material. Additionally DC had the Blackhawk series that he worked on a lot, bringing notoriety to the series. His cover to Superman #400 is one of my very favorites of his.

Along with Jim Starlin writing, his was the artwork on an important back story of Nick Fury in Marvel Spotlight #31. It's an important part of Nick Fury history, if you're into that sort of thing.

One of my favorite Robert E. Howard characters is Solomon Kane. I was first exposed to him when the paperbacks came out (with Jeff Jones covers!) Chaykin brought this to life in Marvel Premiere #33 & #34. 

Where do you begin with his influence in Star Wars? He drew the original poster for the movie and worked on the very first adaptation of the movie in the Marvel Comics series. Not only did that comic out in regular comic book format, but Treasury edition and skinny black and white paperback as well.

I loved it when he came out with Cody Starbuck for Star*Reach in a stand alone title and in their first issue. I miss their terrific line of comics with Jim Starlin, Len Wein, Ken Steacy, Barry Windsor-Smith, Gray Morrow and Lee Marrs. Some of the stories were reprinted by Eclipse Comics.

You can't mention Howard without bringing up American Flagg and Black Kiss. He pushed the boundaries of comic books with these titles. Especially Black Kiss (way outside the Comics Code) of course, which went on to be printed into the Big Black Kiss and more recently by Dynamite. He also went on to producing a Black Kiss 2 series. Howard Chaykin has said his American Flagg Time2 was his favorite work.

He continues to dazzle these days not only with GI Joe (with Max Brooks of World War Z fame,) but with Satellite Sam for Image Comics and Buck Rogers for Hermes Comics (the same company which has reprinted Gold Key classics such as Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Time Tunnel, Land of the Giants and the forthcoming I Spy!)  

I hope you've enjoyed this reminiscing of some of his work, just touching on some of my favorites. The art book definitely covers a greater span of his work.

Thank you. 

Have a wonderful day.

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