Chicago comic book artist Doug Klauba resurrects Golden Age comic heroes

by Jeff

mar100867 Chicago comic book artist Doug Klauba resurrects Golden Age comic heroesMedia Release — With the Wizard World Chicago Comic Con convention taking place August 19 to 22 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, local fan boys and girls are prepping their costumes and laser swords for a few days of escapist fun, including the opportunity to meet some of their favorite celebrities, artists and illustrators.

Among the artists participating in the Wizard World Chicago Comic Con convention is comic book artist Doug Klauba. He will be meeting fans, signing autographs, and showing and selling his work in the Artists’ Alley at the show, booths 3110-3112.

His latest project is working with fellow American Academy of Art graduate and famed comic book artist Alex Ross on Project Superpowers for Dynamite Entertainment. The two are teaming to resurrect Golden Age (pre-Superman) superheroes like The Death Defying Daredevil (Daredevil), The Green Lama and The Fighting Yank. Ross, widely considered one of the best comic book artists working today, asked Klauba to join him for the project.

KLAUBA’S BEGINNING BRUSH STROKES:

Klauba always dreamed of becoming a comic book artist. “Like many kids, I had an appreciation for comic books and comic book characters; and that spurred my interest in going to art school,” said Klauba. “Living in Chicago at the time, there was no better school than the American Academy of Art for what I wanted to do,” he added.

The Academy has continued to maintain a reputation educating and graduating top-rate talent, especially illustrators and painters.

Klauba graduated from the Academy in 1985. After gaining valuable professional experience working at several downtown illustration studios, Klauba moved to California to study illustration in the masters program at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

Upon returning to Chicago, Doug established his own studio where his illustrations have been commissioned for posters, advertising, book covers, magazines, corporate communications, calendars and collector plates by various national and international agencies and design firms. His work has been recognized for its heroic-deco style that includes influences of WPA murals and Art Nouveau design.

FOCUS ON COMIC BOOK ART:

His first major comic book assignments came from Moonstone Books, a Chicago-based comic book and graphic novel publisher that featured classic characters like The Phantom and Doc Savage, among others. Although not as familiar as many D.C. and Marvel characters, Golden Age costumed heroes entered the public domain, giving publishers and artists more latitude and flexibility in telling their stories.

Doing cover art for Moonstone characters like “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” and The Phantom helped bring Klauba even more attention, and not just in the U.S.

“One thing I learned quickly was that The Phantom was extremely popular in Australia,” said Klauba. “As a costumed character, he actually pre-dates Superman.”

After establishing a name for himself at Moonstone, Klauba began receiving more plum assignments – including his current work with fellow Academy alumnus Ross.

PROJECT SUPERPOWERS:

Ross is the co-creator and art director of Project Superpowers and thought it would be a good fit for Klauba. For the past 18 months, the two have been collaborating on the series which re-introduces characters from early pulp magazines and comics. Specifically, Klauba has been creating the two-page origins of the main characters, with Ross responsible for plot lines and cover art.

According to Klauba, working with Ross has been a dream come true.

“Alex is extremely talented, both as a writer and artist,” Klauba explained. “We have similar creative styles that are a lot more realistic than the expressionistic style used by earlier comic book artists like Jack Kirby. Alex has definitely been one of my primary influences.”

With most of the characters in the 18-issue Project Superpowers series culled from ’30s and ’40s fame, Klauba and Ross hope to foster a renewed interest in these long-forgotten costumed crime fighters. If Klauba and Ross are lucky, maybe one of their resurrected characters will prove the next big thing.

“You never know when a certain character is going to strike a chord with the public. For instance, Mike Mignola, the artist that created HellBoy, first sketched the character at one of these Comic Con events,” Klauba said. “I’m sure he had no idea at the time how popular that character would become both in terms of the comic books and film franchises.”

In terms of his artistic influences, Klauba credits artists ranging from Renaissance masters like Michelangelo to illustrators like Alphonse Mucha and Thomas Blackshear to comic book artists like Jack Kirby, Ross and Mignola.

Klauba resides in Evergreen Park, on the South Side of the Chicago area, with his wife – a ballet and modern dance instructor – and their two children, ages five and nine. His works are featured in galleries around the world, including in Montreal and Paris.

For more on the work of Doug Klauba, visit http://www.douglasklauba.com.

ABOUT THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF ART

The American Academy of Art (www.aaart.edu) has trained and educated some of the nation’s most prominent and prolific fine artists and illustrators since its founding in 1923. Alumni include comic book and graphic novel artist Alex Ross; movie poster illustrator and cowboy artist Howard Terpning; Haddon Sundblom, who gave us the American version of Santa Claus for Coca Cola; and numerous other well- and lesser-known artists. Most recently, artist T. Allen Lawson, yet another Academy alumnus, received a commission from Laura Bush to paint the Administration’s final holiday card.

The American Academy of Art (www.aart.edu) offers four-year, accredited Bachelor of Fine Arts degree programs in the following disciplines: Photography, Illustration, Design, Multimedia / Web Design, 3-D Modeling / Animation, Illustration (Digital Illustration specialization) Life Drawing, Painting (oil painting specialization), and Painting (watercolor painting specialization). It emphasizes the classical tradition, reinforced by real-world projects taught by distinguished instructors – all of whom are working artists as well as full-time teachers. The Academy not only guides and trains students to be exemplary artists, it also connects students to valuable resources to help with their transition to real-world careers upon graduation. The Academy is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association and the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

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