It’s been a while since I featured a legend, so I’m doing it today. We’re going back in time, folks. I give you Spanish artist, Esteban Maroto. A comic book artist, illustrator, painter, writer, and well, a living legend.
Although he initially built his reputation outside the States, Maroto is best known for the short stories and covers he illustrated for Creepy, Vampirella and Eerie during the 70s and 80s and Marvel’s Conan, Red Sonja, and Dracula. His ‘Manly’ serial also found its way to the States under the title ‘Dax the Warrior.’
Other comic books he later worked on include Amethyst, Zatanna, Atlantis Chronicles, The Savage Sword of Conan, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, Dracula: Vlad the Impaler, and X-Men Unlimited, to name just a few.
Below is a small selection of his earlier work. Each image links back to the site of origin. Please sit back and enjoy.
Born in Madrid in 1942, Maroto began his art career under Manuel Lópezin’s guidance in the early 1960’s with the long-running series Cinco por infinito, published in English by Continuity Comics as “Zero Patrol.” Maroto later ventured into fantasy and science fiction with Buck John and Merlo the Magician. His reputation for drawing powerful yet voluptuous female figures grew quickly and he became a popular romance artist. Maroto would later contribute to the German magazine, Roy Tiger, and create his two best-known serials, Manly and Tomb of the Gods.
His real breakthrough came with the comic strip Five for Infinity (“Zero Patrol” above). It established him as an artist and writer and gave credence to his unique drawing style which would later become so easily recognizable. Maroto used decorative and ornate detail in his illustrations while his characters and settings appeared more barbaric. This marriage of lush and savagery made his art stand out and were particularly suited for the emerging heroic fantasy and sword-and-magic subgenres of the 70s. Elements in his art remind me of John Buscema’s style, maybe even a bit of Frank Frazetta, too.
It’s good to look back at the outliers of old. To revisit their work and appreciate the journeys they took us on and for the awesome memories they gave us. They were the ones who enticed us to pick up a book and read, who lured us with covers of barbarian warriors and scantily clad vixens and the promise of a good story. They piqued our interest for adventure and fantasy and so we give thanks by making sure they are never forgotten.
What did you think of today’s post? Let me know in the comments below. And if you’re interested in sci-fi art, you can see this week’s Art of Science Fiction here.