Shawn McManus self-portrait
June 30, 1958 |
Shawn McManus (born June 30, 1958, Brookline, Massachusetts) is an American artist who has worked extensively over three decades for DC Comics and other companies, notably for DC's Vertigo imprint, including the current Fables.
McManus entered the comic book field in the early 1980s with work for Heavy Metal and DC Comics. He gained wider attention when he illustrated two 1980s issues of Swamp Thing written by Alan Moore. He received a nomination, with Alan Moore, for a 1985 Jack Kirby Award for "Pog" in Swamp Thing 32. The story, an inventive science fictional reinterpretation of Walt Kelly's Pogo, was written by Moore specifically for McManus, who rose to the challenge with an appropriate Kellyesque art style.
McManus and Todd Klein collaborated on Omega Men, creating Zirral and other characters for that series. He has also drawn issues of Batman, Doctor Fate and a pair of limited series about the witch Thessaly written by Bill Willingham.
Grains of Sandman
Randy Lander reviewed the debut issue of The Sandman Presents: The Thessaliad:
This is mostly an issue to set the stage, to establish the world as one that is full of hidden magic and very abnormal things existing alongside normal life. McManus does a terrific job in depicting this type of thing. The realism of city streets or university buildings contrast nicely with the ghostly war dogs being used to hunt Thessaly, and the gore and destructive behavior demonstrated later on serves more as dark humor than disturbing violence. I also quite enjoyed the very normal designs for Thessaly and Fetch, which contrasts with their not-at-all normal lives.
McManus also drew most of A Game of You for Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, and his other Sandman credits include The Sandman Presents: Taller Tales, The Sandman Presents: Thessaly, Witch for Hire, The Sandman: Fables & Reflections. Other Vertigo titles by McManus include Winter's Edge 3.
His work on the Tom Strong series (America's Best Comics) includes Tom Strong's Terrific Tales 2 and Tom Strong 3. His story "Jenny Panic & the Bible of Dreams", scripted by Steve Aylett, was collected in the hardback Tom Strong Collected Edition, Book Five, edited by Scott Dunbier.
For the June 1983 issue of Heavy Metal he collaborated with Bhob Stewart and John Coffey on "Zenobia". Six months later, McManus and Stewart teamed with Jim McDermott on "Symbiosis", also in Heavy Metal (December, 1983).
DC, Marvel and others
McManus' artwork for Marvel Comics includes Peter Parker Spider-Man Annual '97 (1997) and Daredevil #351. In an interview with Kuljit Mithra, John Rozum, who scripted that issue of Daredevil, recalled:
- I thought Shawn McManus's art was great. I'd like to work with him again sometime, though we didn't really work together here. At the time I wrote it, I had no idea who'd be drawing it. Shawn and I have never even met or spoken with each other. I always write full script though, and unlike some other artists, Shawn actually pays attention to the script. I think his artwork was a nice pairing with the story.
McManus has contributed to titles from a variety of other publishers, including Atomeka Press (A1), Dark Horse (Cheval Noir), Exhibit A Press (Wolff & Byrd: Counselors of the Macabre), First Comics (Grimjack), Image (Supreme), Malibu (The Man Called A-X) and DC's Paradox Press (The Big Book of Freaks). He worked on Leah Moore and John Reppion's Wild Girl (Wildstorm, 2004–2005) with J.H. Williams III, about 13-year-old Rosa Torez who discovers that she can communicate with animals. At least one issue was inked by Andrew Pepoy, but for some issues McManus did all the penciling and inking. In 2006, he did a seven-issue run on Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis, the end of which marked the cancellation of the Aquaman ongoing series. He also drew The Creeper for DC at the same time.
Writer-illustrator and lecturer Mark McKenna, creator of the Banana Tail children's book series, described his long association with McManus that led to their Banana Tail: The Early Years (2009) color print:
- I met Shawn McManus in the DC Comics offices back in late 1985. I was up at DC Comics to meet with an editor or show samples, I forget, the old brain is failing me here. But I do recall Shawn sitting in with the editor who I was about to have a meeting with. At the time, Shawn was drawing Swamp Thing, and I was delighted to see his lively, bouncy and very refreshing art style. Little did I know that within a year we would be an art team along with writer J. M. DeMatteis on DC's Doctor Fate series... We worked together for six months on Doctor Fate until the DC editor moved me to another book. I haven't had any creative contact with Shawn since that time in 1987. We really never spoke during the time we worked together. I was still very new to the business and didn't think to call and collaborate with Shawn to get his sensibilities about direction and vision for the book. No contact with Shawn until a few brief comic con "how ya doing's?", and an eventual reconnect through our mutual art rep, Bob Shaw... Bob had this idea that Shawn should work with me and create some ultra cool Banana Tail painting... Seeing Bob Shaw's excitement, Shawn then saw the potential in Banana Tail.
In 1987, McManus worked on the animated series Dinosaucers. For the TV series Tales from the Crypt, McManus and Mike Vosburg illustrated comic book covers designed to look like the original 1950s comics. The McManus Crypt cover is seen in the first episode ("The Man Who Was Death").
More recently, he illustrated Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love. This collection of the six-issue Vertigo mini-series was published in August 2010.
1985 Jack Kirby Award nomination (with Alan Moore) for Best Single Issue ("Pog" in Swamp Thing 32).
- Shawn McManus official site
- Comic Book Awards Almanac
- Creating "Go Freelance!"
- Spider-Man credits