In the comics and illustration field, Wenzel is best known for his richly painted graphic novel adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic novel The Hobbit with fellow A/P/AVP-contributor writer Chuck Dixon.
Born in 1950, Wenzel's early career was as a penciler in the mainstream comic book industry. From the mid-1970s to the early 1980s he worked on such Marvel Comics titles as Avengers and Savage Sword of Conan. He penciled part of the The Avengers story arc which won a 1979 Eagle Award for Best Continued Story.
Segueing from comics to children's literature in the 1980s, Wenzel illustrated Robb Walsh's Kingdom of the Dwarfs for Centaur Books, and then illustrated a series of books about American colonial life for Troll Associates.
Wenzel's next major project was the fully painted graphic novel The Hobbit: An Illustrated Edition of the Fantasy Classic. This three-part adaptation of The Hobbit with writers writers Chuck Dixon and Sean Deming was originally published by Eclipse Comics in 1989. Published in a collected edition by Ballantine in 1990, The Hobbit: An Illustrated Edition of the Fantasy Classic is one of the most successful graphic format adaptations of a piece of classic literature. In 2001, it was updated by Del Ray Books with a new cover, larger format, and 32 new pages of artwork.
Another graphic novel project in a similar vein was Wenzel and writer Douglas Wheeler's adaptation of some of the Brothers Grimm's fairytales for NBM in 1995. In 1998 Wenzel teamed with acclaimed comics writer Kurt Busiek on The Wizard’s Tale, the story of Evernight, a land ruled by a consortium of evil wizards who discover that one of their kind harbors a "dangerous" glimmer of good. The Wizard’s Tale was designed to be a crossover book that blended children’s book elements with the format and readability of a graphic novel.
Other notable projects Wenzel has done include Robert L. May's Christmas bestseller Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (Grosset and Dunlap, 2001); Max Lucado's A Hat For Ivan (Crossway Books, 2004); and several books in the Little Bear series which were art-directed by Maurice Sendak (HarperFestival, 2003–2004).
Wenzel's non-book related projects include puzzles, greeting cards, and two entire miniature kingdoms of collectible figurines.
Wenzel cites illustrators like Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, N.C. Wyeth, and Howard Pyle as influences; as well as the Dutch painters Pieter Bruegel and Jan Steen.
Wenzel lives in Connecticut with his wife Janice, an artist and high school art teacher; their sons Brendan and Christopher are both artists; and Wenzel's brother Greg is a book writer and illustrator.
David Wenzel's official website
- David Wenzel at the Comic Book DataBase