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Kevin Nowlan

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Kevin Nowlan
Nowlan seated at a table, with paper and drawing instruments
Nowlan at Special Edition NYC
BornFebruary 7, 1958 (1958-02-07) (age 66)
Area(s)Writer, Penciller, Inker
Notable works
Tomorrow Stories
AwardsInkwell Award for Favorite Finisher/Embellisher (2008)
Inkwell Award for The Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award (2011)
Inkpot Award (2015)

Kevin Nowlan (born 1958)[1] is an American comics artist who works as a penciler, inker, colorist, and letterer. He has been called "one of the few artists who can be called 'artists's artist'", a master of the various disciplines of comic production, from "design to draftsmanship to dramatics".[2]

Early life[edit]

Nowlan was born in 1958 in Nebraska.[3] He has four older brothers and sisters. His brother read comic books, particularly DC Comics titles, and Nowlan has had comics around him since he can remember.[4] As an illustrator, Nowlan is mostly self-taught, but did attend a trade school for approximately a year and a half to learn design and layout.[5]


Nowlan at the 2023 Phoenix Fan Fusion.

Nowlan first came to the industry's attention in the early 1980s via illustrations in the fan press, most notably The Comics Journal and Amazing Heroes.[1][5]

Nowlan's first published work for Marvel Comics was Doctor Strange #57 (Feb. 1983).[3][6] He has worked for DC Comics and other comics publishers. He contributed to the adult Penthouse Comix. In 1992, he inked the Batman: Sword of Azrael miniseries which introduced the character Azrael.[7] He drew the short story "The Castle" in Vertigo Jam #1 (Aug. 1993) which featured the Sandman and was part of "The Kindly Ones" story arc.[8] One of Nowlan's prominent contribution to comics is the creation of Jack B. Quick with writer Alan Moore. This character appeared several times in Tomorrow Stories under the America's Best Comics imprint.[6]

Although the majority of his work is as an inker, he has provided both pencils and lettering for various comics. He is a noted cover illustrator. Nowlan contributed character designs to Batman: The Animated Series, most notably The Penguin, The Mad Hatter and the Man-Bat.

Nowlan has described himself as a "finisher" rather than an inker, although only in specific reference to work "where you see too much of me", and has expressed an ambivalence towards this role, saying "it's not the right way to ink someone else's pencils".[5]

His style gives a strong emphasis towards both facial expression and posture, and in neither case is he constrained by the conventions of the comic-book hero, and his protagonists are often depicted with awkward expressions or body postures. [citation needed]

Steve Gerber's posthumous Man-Thing story The Screenplay of the Living Dead Man, with art by Nowlan, originally planned as a 1980s graphic novel before being left uncompleted by the artist,[9] was revived in the 2010s and appeared as a three-issue miniseries cover-titled The Infernal Man-Thing (Early Sept.-Oct. 2012).[10] The story was a sequel to Gerber's “Song-Cry of the Living Dead Man” in Man-Thing #12 (Dec. 1974).[9]

Nowlan inked the 1990s variant cover penciled by Dan Jurgens for Action Comics #1000 (June 2018)[11] and inked the "Actionland!" chapter drawn by José Luis García-López in that same issue.[6]



Interior work[edit]

Covers only[edit]

As an inker[edit]

As a letterer[edit]


  1. ^ Per Bob Schreck commentary in the "Contents" page, this story was originally intended for publication in Secret Origins vol. 2 but was not printed at that time as it had mysteriously vanished. After some pressure from Mike Mignola and a few phone calls, Schreck was able to track it down.


  1. ^ a b "Kevin Nowlan". Lambiek Comiclopedia. May 15, 2009. Archived from the original on July 16, 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  2. ^ Peterson, Scott (1996). Chiarello, Mark (ed.). Batman: Black & White, Vol. 1. DC Comics. ISBN 978-1401215897.
  3. ^ a b Solinas, Antonio (2006). "The thin black line: a Kevin Nowlan interview". De-code.net. Archived from the original on February 7, 2012.
  4. ^ Nolen-Weathington, Eric (2004). Modern Masters Volume Four: Kevin Nowlan. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. ISBN 978-1893905382.
  5. ^ a b c Irving, Christopher (n.d.). "More Than Just an Inker: An Interview with Kevin Nowlan". Richmondcomix.com. Archived from the original on January 8, 2008.
  6. ^ a b c Kevin Nowlan at the Grand Comics Database
  7. ^ Manning, Matthew K. (2010). "1990s". In Dolan, Hannah (ed.). DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 255. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. Azrael, one of the most important characters of the modern Batman mythos, was dropped right under the noses of an unsuspecting reading populace in the debut issue of Batman: Sword of Azrael by esteemed bat-scribe Denny O'Neil, talented young penciler Joe Quesada, and inker extraordinaire Kevin Nowlan.
  8. ^ Bender, Hy (1999). The Sandman Companion. New York, New York: DC Comics. p. 270. ISBN 978-1563894657.
  9. ^ a b Arrant, Chris (September 21, 2011). "The Next Big-Wait Project Emerges: Man-Thing by Gerber and Nowlan". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on January 1, 2012. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  10. ^ Infernal Man-Thing at the Grand Comics Database
  11. ^ "DC Unveils Final Variant For Action Comics #1000". Previews. Diamond Comic Distributors. March 7, 2018. Archived from the original on August 9, 2018.
  12. ^ Almond, Bob (November 2, 2011). "Inkwell Awards 2011 Winners". Inkwell Awards. Archived from the original on March 19, 2016.
  13. ^ YouTube – Kevin Nowlan – Heroes Convention 2011
  14. ^ "Inkpot Award". San Diego Comic-Con. 2016. Archived from the original on January 29, 2017.
  15. ^ Nowlan, Kevin (January 2, 2010). "Gil Kane's WildC.A.T.S./Aliens cover". Kevinnowlan.blogspot.com. Archived from the original on October 13, 2016.
  16. ^ Nowlan, Kevin (July 6, 2010). "Hellboy logo rough". Kevinnowlan.blogspot.com. Archived from the original on October 13, 2016.

External links[edit]