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Walt Simonson

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Walter "Walt" Simonson is an award-winning, veteran American comic book artist and writer who has worked on Alien and Predator cross-over comic book projects for Heavy Metal and Dark Horse Comics.

Simonson was the artist of the original, critically acclaimed comics adaptation of the Ridley Scott film Alien, and as such the first A/P/AVP comics artist in history. He afterward worked a number of Predator cross-over projects for Dark Horse, including a pin-up illustration for the first Batman versus Predator miniseries and as writer of Tarzan versus Predator: At the Earth's Core.

A near-legendary figure in the modern comic book field, Simonson is best known in the field for his work with Marvel Comics's The Mighty Thor in the 1980s, on he served as both writer and artist becoming one of the quintessential creators on the title. He has also had noted runs on Marvel's X-Factor and Fantastic Four.

Simonson has worked variously with virtisually every major titles for leading comics companies Marvel, DC, and with Wildstorm and others, including his well-received Terminator versus Robocop series for Dark Horse in the 1990s, which he created in collaboration with famed comics writer Frank Miller.

Born in 1946, Simonson studied geology at Amherst College, and then transferred to the Rhode Island School of Design, graduating in 1972. His thesis project there was The Star Slammers, which was published as a black and white promotional comic book for the 1974 World Science Fiction Convention in Washington, D.C.(DisCon II). In 1983, he produced another version of the story in graphic novel form for Marvel Comics. Simonson continued the adventures of the Star Slammers in a limited series in the mid-1990s as one of the founders of Malibu Comics' short-lived Bravura label.

Simonson's first professional published comic book work was Weird War Tales #10 (Jan. 1973) for DC Comics. He also did a number of illustrations for the Harry N. Abrams, Inc. edition of The Hobbit, and at least one unrelated print (a Samurai warrior) was purchased by Harvard University's Fogg Museum and included in its annual undergraduate-use loan program. Simonson's breakthrough illustration job was Manhunter, a backup feature in DC's Detective Comics written by Archie Goodwin. In a 2000 interview, Simonson recalled that "What Manhunter did was to establish me professionally. Before Manhunter, I was one more guy doing comics; after Manhunter, people in the field knew who I was. It'd won a bunch of awards the year that it ran, and after that, I really had no trouble finding work." Simonson went on to draw other DC series such as Metal Men and Hercules Unbound. In 1979 Simonson and Goodwin collaborated on an adaptation of the movie Alien, published by Heavy Metal. It was on Alien that Simonson's long working relationship with letterer John Workman began. Workman has lettered most of Simonson's work since.

Simonson met his future wife Louise Jones in 1973. The couple started dating in August 1974 and were married in 1980.

In Fall 1978, Simonson, Howard Chaykin, Val Mayerik, and Jim Starlin formed Upstart Associates, a shared studio space on West 29th Street in New York City. The membership of the studio changed over time.

As stated, Simonson is best known for his work on Marvel Comics' The Mighty Thor and X-Factor (the latter being a collaboration with his wife Louise Simonson). Simonson took nearly complete control of Thor, during which he transformed Thor into a frog for three issues and introduced the supporting character Beta Ray Bill, an alien warrior who unexpectedly proved worthy to wield Thor's hammer, Mjolnir. He started as writer & artist with issue #337 (Nov. 1983) and continued until #367 (May 1986). Sal Buscema became the artist on the title with #368 but Simonson continued to write the book until issue #382 (Aug. 1987).

Simonson left Upstart Associates in late 1986.

Simonson became writer of the Fantastic Four with issue #334 (Dec. 1989), and three issues later began penciling and inking as well (#337, coincidentally the same issue number he started as writer & artist of Thor). He had a popular three issue collaboration with Arthur Adams. Simonson left the Fantastic Four with issue #354 (July 1991). His other Marvel credits in the decade included co-plotting/writing the Iron Man 2020 one-shot (June 1994) and writing the Heroes Reborn version of the Avengers.

In recent years, Simonson has mostly worked for DC Comics. From 2000 to 2002 he wrote and illustrated Orion. After that series ended, he wrote six issues of Wonder Woman (vol. 2) drawn by Jerry Ordway. In 2002, he contributed an interview to Panel Discussions, a nonfiction book about the developing movement in sequential art and narrative literature, along with Durwin Talon, Will Eisner, Mike Mignola and Mark Schultz.

From 2003 to 2006, he drew the four issue prestige mini-series Elric: The Making of a Sorcerer, written by Elric's creator, Michael Moorcook. This series was collected as a 192 page graphic novel in 2007 by DC. He continued to work for DC in 2006 writing Hawkgirl, with pencillers Howard Chaykin, Joe Bennett, and Renato Arlem.

More recent work for Simonson has included cover artwork for a Bat Lash mini-series and the ongoing series Vigilante for DC. Most recently, Simonson also became the writer of the comic book adaptation of the online role-playing game World of Warcraft for Wildstorm. The series ran 25 issues and was co-written with his wife, Louise.

Simonson's awards include Shazam Awards for Outstanding New Talent in 1973, for Best Individual Short Story (Dramatic) in 1973 for "The Himalayan Incident" in Detective Comics #437 (with Archie Goodwin), and the same award in 1974 for "Cathedral Perilous" in Detective Comics #441 (again with Archie Goodwin). Simonson and Goodwin also won the Shazam Award for Best Individual Story (Dramatic) in 1974 for "Götterdämmerung" in Detective Comics #443. All three winning stories were a part of the Manhunter saga.

At the 2010 Harvey Awards, which were held at the Baltimore Comic-Con on August 28, 2010, Simonson received the 2010 Hero Initiative Lifetime Achievement Award. It was presented to him by his wife, Louise.

Simonson's distinctive signature consists of his last name, distorted to resemble a Brontosaurus. Simonson's reason for this was explained in a 2006 interview. "My mom suggested a dinosaur since I was a big dinosaur fan.

CreditsEdit

Heavy Metal Presents Alien: The Illustrated Story

Batman versus Predator

Tarzan versus Predator: At the Earth's Core

GalleryEdit

See alsoEdit

Comics

Dark Horse Comics

External linksEdit

Walt Simonson's Official Facebook Page (featuring art and commentary): http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Official-Walter-Simonson-Page/349242380253?v=wall#!/pages/The-Official-Walter-Simonson-Page/349242380253

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