Rafael Kayanan

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Rafael Kayanan
Born Manila
Nationality American
Area(s) Penciller, Inker

Rafael Kayanan is a Filipino-born naturalised American comic book artist and Filipino Martial Arts master in the Sayoc Kali system.


Rafael Kayanan has illustrated for every major comic book publisher. His most notable work has been on Marvel Comics' Conan, Acclaim Comics' Turok and DC Comics' Firestorm. He also inked the Eisner-nominated series Chiaroscuro: The Life and Times of Leonardo Da Vinci for Vertigo Comics.

Kayanan has illustrated concept designs for comic book, film and game companies.[1] During the late 1990s, he was the creator and art director for Cross Plains Comics featuring the Pulp magazine characters created by Robert E. Howard. Kayanan developed concept designs for Nintendo's ground-breaking Turok: Dinosaur Hunter II video game. He currently continues to do work for Topps Cards on licenses such as Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings.

Other titles he has worked on include: Conan, Spider-Man, Elektra, Star Wars, R. A. Salvatore's Drizzt, Magic: The Gathering, Turok, Firestorm and Batman.[2]

Kayanan's art is known for its rapid tempo, storytelling pace and layered depth. Much thought is evident in the choreography of dynamic action on every page. His slick and precise usage of shadows to define anatomy and emotion is as proficient as any of the longtime masters of the craft.[3]

Kayanan is a Master-level edged weapons (knife, sword, tomahawk) expert and instructor in Sayoc Kali. This rare combination of a visual and martial artist, has led to projects which utilize both skills to illustrate fight storyboards for film and TV. Kayanan choreographed and trained the actors, in William Friedkin's The Hunted, starring Benicio del Toro and Tommy Lee Jones.[4] He also trained actor Sam Rockwell for director George Clooney's film, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Kayanan was a development artist, fight trainer and weapons consultant for Paramount Pictures adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars. His art was used for the hit CBS show NCIS: Los Angeles. Kayanan designed fights for the main cast of LL Cool J, Chris O' Donnell, Daniela Ruah and Eric Christian Olsen, as well as special guest stars Danny Trejo,[5] Ernie Reyes, Jr.[6] and Daniel Henney.[7] Kayanan was the technical advisor for the close quarter fights inside the airplane of the film Non-Stop starring Liam Neeson.

Additional comic book work can be found in issue 39 of Dark Horse Comics' Conan, Annihilation,[8] and fantasy novelist R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt, Worlds of Dungeons & Dragons from Devil's Due Publishing.

Rafael Kayanan was a set illustrator and story board artist for the Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark Broadway show, directed by Julie Taymor with music created by Bono and the Edge.

Kayanan worked on concept illustration for the films Immortals.[9][10] and Mirror, Mirror both directed by Tarsem Singh from Relativity Media, and the related graphic novel anthology Immortals: Gods and Heroes published by Archaia.

Rafael Kayanan also co-created the DC Comics character Felicity Smoak on The CW television series Arrow with writer Gerry Conway. Rafael and Gerry also co-created the DC Comics character Slipknot[11] who appears in the upcoming Suicide Squad film.

Recent projects include the Discovery TV show Lone Target, also known internationally as Manhunt, starring former Navy SEAL Joel Lambert where the Kayanan designed RnD Hawk, Bontoc and Madumi Sayoc Kali-Daniel Winkler knives were prominently featured.[12]



  • Turok (1998 as artist)
  • Turok: Tales of the Lost Land (1998 as artist)
  • Ice Age on the World of Magic: The Gathering (1995 as artist)

Archaia Entertainment[edit]

Cross Plains Comics[edit]

  • Robert E. Howard: A Short Biography (1999 artist)
  • Robert E. Howard: Myth Maker (1999 artist)

Dark Horse[edit]

  • Star Wars: Chewbacca (2000 artist)
  • Conan (2007 artist)

Devil's Due[edit]

  • Worlds of Dungeons and Dragons (2008 artist)

DC Comics[edit]

  • America vs. The Justice League (1985 as artist)
  • Babylon 5: In Valen's Name (1998 as cover artist)
  • Batman: Legends of The Dark Knight (1999 as artist)
  • Captain Atom (1989)
  • Fury of Firestorm (1982-1984 as artist)

First Comics[edit]

  • Michael Moorcock's Hawkmoon (1986-1988 as artist)

Marvel Comics[edit]

Smart Pop[edit]






External links[edit]


Preceded by
Joe Bennett
The Amazing Spider-Man artist
Succeeded by
John Byrne