Walt Simonson Explained

Walter Simonson
Birthname:Walter Simonson
Born:2 September 1946
Died:-
Nationality:American
Area:Writer, Artist
Alias:Walt Simonson
Notable Works:Manhunter (Paul Kirk)
Thor
Star Slammers
Star Wars
Fantastic Four
X Factor
Orion
Awards:Shazam Award:
  • Outstanding New Talent (1973)
  • Best Individual Short Story (Dramatic) (1973, with Archie Goodwin)
  • Best Individual Short Story (Dramatic) (1974, with Archie Goodwin)
  • Best Individual Story (Dramatic) (1974)

Walter "Walt" Simonson (born September 2, 1946) is an American comic book writer and artist. After studying geology at Amherst College,[1] [2] he 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). Some years later, he produced another version of the story in graphic novel form for Epic Comics, the Marvel Comics imprint that was a response to creator-owned lines of the early eighties. 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.

Career

1970s

Simonson's first professional comic book work was producing war stories for DC Comics and other publishers. He also did a number of illustrations for the Harry N. Abrams, Inc. edition of The Hobbit, including the title page drawing for Chapter 3, "A Short Rest." The book was largely illustrated using stills from the Rankin-Bass television special adaptation, which featured character designs by his friend Lester Abrams. Gray Morrow also did illustrations for that edition, as did Charles Vess. Simonson's breakthrough illustration job was "Manhunter," a backup feature in DC's Detective Comics written by Archie Goodwin. Simonson was the first artist of the 1970s revival of Metal Men, and in 1979 drew an adaptation of the movie Alien, also in collaboration with Goodwin. He collaborated again with Goodwin when the latter, who was editing Star Wars for Marvel Comics, asked Simonson to take over art duties from Al Williamson and Carmine Infantino.

In the late 1970s, 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 changed over time: Mayerik left to move back to Ohio, and Jim Sherman took his place. Jim Starlin subsequently moved upstate, and Frank Miller replaced him.[3]

1980s

He is best known for his work on Marvel Comics titles in the 1980s and 1990s such as 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.[4] [5] He started as writer & artist with issue #337 (Nov. 1983). Simonson's run as writer-artist lasted until #367 (May 1986), although he continued to write – and occasionally draw – the book until issue #382 (Aug. 1987).

Frank Miller left Upstart Associates in the early 80s.[3] During this period, Dean Haspiel, while still in high school, served as Chaykin's assistant on American Flagg!, occasionally helping Simonson on Thor as well. Chaykin moved out to the West Coast in c. 1986, leaving Simonson to close Upstart Associates a few years later.

1990s

Simonson also took over as writer and artist on the Fantastic Four series for the next year-and-a-half from 1990-1991. He started as writer 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). With brief inking exceptions, and one fill-in issue, he remained in all three positions through issue #354 (July 1991).

2000s

From 2000 to 2002, he wrote and illustrated Orion for DC. He also wrote Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #189-194 in 2003, with artist Jerry Ordway providing art. 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 , written by Elric's creator, Michael Moorcock. The four issues were published 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 Arlum.

Recent work includes cover artwork for the six issue mini-series Bat Lash as well as a comic book adaptation of the online role-playing game World of Warcraft for Wildstorm.[6] [7]

Awards

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.

Signature

Simonson's distinctive signature consists of his last name, distorted to resemble a Brontosaurus.

Bibliography

Thor Visionaries Vol. 1-5, MarvelFantastic Four Visionaries Vol. 1-2, Marvel

External links

Notes and References

  1. http://www.amherst.edu/~geology/alumni/majors/ AC Geology Alumni: Past Majors
  2. http://www.slushfactory.com/features/interviews/walts.shtml The Slush Factory: The World’s Coolest Comics Magazine
  3. Brady, Matt. Return of the Upstarts: Simonson and Chaykin Talk History and Hawkgirl, Newsarama, Nov. 23, 2005. Retrieved July 23, 2008.
  4. http://www.popimage.com/reviews/071001thorsimonsonrev.html Review of a trade paperback collecting some of Simonson's run at PopImage.com
  5. http://www.silverbulletcomics.com/news/story.php?a=2189 Essay on what makes certain stories definitive at Silver bullet Comics.
  6. http://www.dccomics.com/dcunlimited/wow/?action=the_comic DC Comics World of Warcraft page
  7. http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=134207 Walter Simonson: Into The World Of Warcraft