Paul Kirchner (born January 29, 1952) is an American writer and illustrator who has worked in diverse areas, from comic strips and toy design to advertising and editorial art.
Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Kirchner attended Cooper Union School of Art but left in his third year, when, with the help of Larry Hama and Neal Adams, he began to get work in the comic book industry. He penciled stories for DC’s horror line and assisted on Little Orphan Annie for Tex Blaisdell, who took over the strip after the death of Harold Gray. In December 1973, Ralph Reese introduced Kirchner to Wally Wood, for whom he worked as assistant for several years.
In the mid-1970s, Kirchner wrote and illustrated the surrealistic comic strip Dope Rider for High Times. For Heavy Metal he did an equally surrealistic monthly strip, The Bus (1978-85), in addition to writing and illustrating occasional short features. He regularly illustrated for The New York Times and other publications. In 1980-1981, he created a line of military action figures, the Eagle Force, for Mego Corp.
In 1981, through his brother Thomas Kirchner, a Zen Buddhist monk, he met the Zen practitioner and author Janwillem van de Wetering. Together they produced a graphic detective novel, Murder by Remote Control (Ballantine, 1986).
In 1983-84, Kirchner did the licensing art and in-pack comic books for the RoboForce robot toy line from CBS Toys. From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, he wrote and drew comics features for He-Man, GoBots, ThunderCats, G.I. Joe and Power Rangers magazines, published by Telepictures (later Welsh Publications). He freelanced regularly for Tyco Toys, working on the Dino-Riders, Crash Dummies and Spy-Tech toy lines, for which he wrote the back stories, did design work, wrote and drew in-pack comics and scripted for animation. He illustrated the long-running “Jack B. Quick” feature in Sports Illustrated for Kids. He illustrated Col. Jeff Cooper’s To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth, as well as seven subsequent books for the noted firearms authority and big game hunter. He wrote three pop-culture books for Rhino Entertainment. The first, Forgotten Fads and Fabulous Flops, inspired an episode of The History Channel's Modern Marvels, "Failed Inventions", in which Kirchner is featured. He has published four books with Paladin Press: The Deadliest Men, Dueling With the Sword and Pistol, Jim Cirillo's Tales of the Stakeout Squad, and More of the Deadliest Men Who Ever Lived.
From 1996 to 2002, he held the post of senior art director at Jordan, McGrath, Case & Taylor (later Arnold New York). Kirchner and his creative partner, writer Andrew Cahill, created a campaign for Zest Body Wash featuring football's Craig "Ironhead" Heyward. In 2002, Kirchner returned to freelance illustration, working primarily in advertising. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, Sandy Rabinowitz, an illustrator specializing in equine art, and their three children.
- Murder by Remote Control with Janwillem van de Wetering (Ballantine, 1986)
- Realms (Catalan Communications, 1987)
- The Bus (Ballantine, 1987; Tanibis, 2012 (reissue ed.))
- Forgotten Fads and Fabulous Flops: An Amazing Collection of Goofy Stuff That Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time (Rhino, 1995)
- Everything You Know is Wrong (Rhino, 1995)
- Oops!: A Stupefying Survey of Goofs, Blunders, and Botches, Great and Small (Rhino, 1996)
- The Big Book of Losers: Pathetic but True Tales of the World’s Most Titanic Failures (DC Comics, 1997)
- Deadliest Men: The World's Deadliest Combatants Throughout the Ages (Paladin Press, 2001)
- “Trajectories", in Against the Grain: Mad Artist Wallace Wood (TwoMorrows, 2003)
- Dueling With The Sword and Pistol: 400 Years of One-on-One Combat (Paladin Press, 2004)
- Jim Cirillo's Tales of the Stakeout Squad (Paladin Press, 2008)
- More of the Deadliest Men Who Ever Lived (Paladin Press, 2009)
- Bowie Knife Fights, Fighters, and Fighting Techniques (Paladin Press, 2010)
- Toyland: The High-Stakes Game of the Toy Industry by Sydney Ladensohn Stern and Ted Schoenhaus (Contemporary Books, 1991)
- Creating the Eagle Force
- Recollections of Dino Riders
- Kirchner at the Great Comic Database
- Paladin Press Author of the Month
- Get 'er, Robo!: Toys
- Paul Kirchner Storyboard Artist
- The Bus