your are at Comic Art & Graffix Gallery Your source for comic books, comic art, pulps, auctions and more History of Comics | Artist Biographies | Collecting How To
Museum of Comic Art | Search this Site | Web Links
About | Art For Sale | Comics For Sale
Comics On CDRom | Movie Posters | Pulps For Sale
We Buy Collections | Contact Us |Home Page

Biographies of the Stars

James Steranko

In 1966, readers of Marvel Comics' "Strange Tales" #151 found a new artist pencilling the "Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD" strip. They could not have realized that they were seeing the work of a graphic artist soon to be viewed as the most innovative comics creator of the period, and one of the most influential artists in the history of the comics.

James Steranko was born November 5, 1938 in Reading, PA. His early interest was in magic, and while in his teens spent summers with circuses and carnivals working as a sideshow magician and escape artist. Many years later Jack Kirby created a comics series titled "Mr. Miracle" based on his exploits. Steranko also wrote several books about sleight-of-hand techniques he developed. He abandoned his career as a magician at age 21 in an attempt to become a professional musician.

Throughout this period Steranko worked as a freelance newspaper artist, eventually getting a position in the art department of a printing firm and learning commercial printing techniques. Eventually he became an art director at an advertising firm, practicing commercial design and copywriting by day while moonlighting as a musician.

In 1965 a meeting with "Captain America" co-creator Joe Simon ispired him to try drawing for the comics. Initially he worked for Harvey Publications, creating three series, "Spyman", "Magicmaster" and "The Gladiator", but the line folded after a few issues. However this brought him to the attention of Marvel Comics editor Stan Lee who hired him as a penciller for the "Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D." series.

This strip was half of the comic book "Strange Tales", which also featured the popular "Dr. Strange" series. "Nick Fury" was an attempt to cash in on the super-spy craze of the '60's. It had had a series of artists including Jack Kirby, Johnny Severin and John Buscema.

Initially Steranko filled in layouts created by Marvel workhorse Kirby, but soon took over the series and began to play with his new medium in surprising and innovative ways. Steranko emphasized the series' sci-fi aspects, employing an amazing variety of graphic tricks including unusual points of view, moire screens and Benday dots, and completely reorganizing the composition of frames on the page. The Fury strip turned into a tour de force of graphic effects that had never been so thoroughly explored in the comics. His work became a major influence on contemporary comics artists.

Steranko's reputation was built on less than 30 comics stories; his Nick Fury work, a couple of issues of "Captain America" and "X-Men", and a short story in "Tower of Shadows" among others.

In 1969 he started his own publishing venture, "Supergraphics", which published the popular entertainment magazine "mediascene" (retitled "Prevue" in 1980) and Steranko's acclaimed two volume "History of Comics" in 1970. Although he continued to contribute cover art to Marvel until 1973 his last comics story for the company was a single issue of "Our Love Story" which appeared in 1970.

Although he produced the graphic novel "Chandler: Red Tide" in 1976 his graphic output turned to the numerous book covers, calendars, prints, and posters produced for "Supergraphics", as well as original movie production illustrations for films including "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Bram Stoker's Dracula". In the '80's he illustrated "Outland" as a strip for Heavy Metal, and a reworked version of the "Chandler" graphic novel is due to be published shortly.

He also became the cover artists for a paperback series of Walter Gibson's Uber-Crime Fighter, "the Shadow". Always a fan of the pulps, and a student of Walter Gibson who was also an accomplshed magician, Steranko was the perfect choice to take the job. His dynamic paintings for the paperback covers are some of the most admired

Steranko has won numerous awards for his work both in America and Europe. He frequently lectures on pop culture, and has shown his work in international venues from the Sydney Opera House in Australia to the Louvre.

Downlaod-able golden age comics for Adobe acrobat. Get them now!!! Movie Poster Auctions,  comic book auctions, pulp auctions, art auctions and more...

This site created & maintained by Graffix Multimedia ©1992-2006
This is the HTML Web Counterth page view on this website since 1994.