About Val Semeiks

I've been working in comics since 1986. I'm mainly a penciller, although I do occasionally ink my own stuff. My first pro work was drawing King Kull back-up stories for the The Savage Sword of Conan. That led to a monthly gig on Conan the Barbarian and working in comics full time. I left my day job and have been in comics ever since.

After Conan, I had long runs on The Demon and Lobo for DC Comics. Alan Grant was the primary writer on both series. Alan has always been one of my favorite writers. His stories have tight, propulsive plots with laugh-out loud funny dialogue. Working on Lobo was about as much fun as anyone can have drawing comics. Lobo was sort of a hard-core Three Stooges - brutally funny slapstick with one character more stupid than the next. My favorite Lobo project was the graphic novel Lobo/Judge Dredd: Psycho-Bikers vs. The Mutants from Hell (Alan writing with John Wagner). I've always really liked the Judge Dredd characters and Mega-City One. My inker for all the Lobo stuff was John Dell - one of the best in the business.

Next came Marvel and the X-Men. Lots of artists have worked on this industry leading franchise and I had my small part. I drew a number of different books highlighted with a run on Wolverine. Larry Hama was the writer. He also happened to be my very first editor and the guy who gave me my break into comics. Thanks Larry!

I returned to DC and did a bunch of JLA work. This included the DC One Million mini-series. DC 1M was a company-wide crossover event and saw the current JLA roster meet their counterparts from the far distant future. The series was written by Grant Morrison and inked by Prentis Rollins. Prentis is another really fine inker and worked with me on most of my JLA projects. Grant is one of the biggest names in comics. His stories barrel along with a wild kinetic energy. We also worked together on the prestige book JLA/WildC.A.T.s. The inker was Kevin Conrad. Another one of my favorites. I followed this with the monthly JLA: Incarnations - a look at the different groups that made up the JLA over the years.

Since then, I've worked on a number of books for different publishers. These include The Flash, Spider-Man and She-Hulk. Among my favorites are the two story arcs for Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight about the blind character Blink – the man who can see through the eyes of others. These stories are set in Batman Year One continuity and are gritty back-to-basics crime drama. Dwayne McDuffie wrote them and really achieved a grim edginess that so suits Batman. Dan Green was the inker and he gave my pencils a different style. It’s a looser, but artistic, approach that I like. Different inking styles can really change how pencils look.

I've drawn Jonah Hex and returned to fantasy with a couple of turns at The Legend of Drizzt series. It's a lot of fun to get a chance to draw other genres besides superheroes.

I've done a lot of work for Disney Publishing Worldwide. Disney is now the parent company of Marvel Comics and has been publishing a line early-reader books adapting the Marvel characters' origins. So far I've worked on Captain America, Hulk and Wolverine with much more to come. The books are very different from regular comics in that my pencils are digitally painted to bring them into a Disney style. I like the idea that my work will be the first exposure that a lot of kids will get to the iconic Marvel superheroes.

Over my career I've worked on lots of projects and these are just a few of the highlights. I'm a versatile artist and have done cartoon work for MAD Magazine and the Big Book series from Paradox Press as well as all the superhero stuff. I've done video game and toy design work too. I'm lucky to have worked with some of the best talent in comics and would like to thank them all. There's plenty more to come!

Before comics, I worked in advertising. I was an art director for a regional ad agency. I graduated college with degrees in chemistry and math. So I come to comics from an unusual background. But like pretty much every other artist, I've always loved to draw and have always wanted to draw comics. I'm a big fan of science fiction, fantasy and sword and sorcery. Comic books are a field without any boundaries for the kinds of stories that can be told.

How is Semeiks pronounced?

My full name is Valdis Semeiks. I was born in the U.S. from Latvian parents. Semeiks is pronounced as if it ends in an "ix". So it's Val "Semmix".