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A Month of Art Stars – Charles Adlard

Every day this month I’m going to feature a current comic book art “star,” someone whose work I absolutely love.

I’m mostly going to try to keep from the biggest names as much as possible, because, really, do I need to talk more about the awesomeness of JH Williams, Frank Quitely and Darwyn Cooke? Here‘s the archive of the artists mentioned so far!

Here’s a nice story about an artist who did a lot of different stuff over the years before finding a book that fully demonstrated his abilities.


Charles Adlard broke into comics in England in the late 80s/early 90s after first pursuing a career in music.

His dark, moody artwork in British comics soon gained him access to the world of American comics, where he did his most notable work (at the time) on Topps Comics’ X-Files comic.

He worked on a number of titles for a number of different companies over the next six or so years, including this Batman story…

until getting the assignment that has fit him like a glove, taking over Walking Dead from Tony Moore.

Walking Dead is about a group of humans surviving in a world filled with zombies – while there is plenty of darkness (and zombies, of course), the book is really more of a character study – seeing what people will do to survive and HOW they will go about surviving.

The book is a perfect showcase for Adlard’s style, as he tells stories effectively, and he has a generally darker style to begin with (also, black and white looks good on his pencils).

Here are some pages from an issue of Walking Dead, sans dialogue, and yet Adlard’s art alone (he inks his pencils, by the way) tells the story perfectly (granted, it’s not exactly a highly complex story, but still!)…

Adlard eventually took over cover duties on Walking Dead from Tony Moore, and did a great job there – for an artist whose skill set is typically one of a storyteller, Adlard is quite adept at designing striking covers, as well.

Here’s a particularly strong series of covers from Walking Dead #44-47…

So yeah, Charles Adlard has found a place that’s perfect for him, but he’s not stopping here – he has a new book coming out from Soleil called Breath Of The Wendigo – I bet it will rock.

Here is Charles’ brand-spanking-new personal website!


I’m still surprised that you didn’t show any pages from Rock Bottom in which Adlard has shown a different style of his usual brand of art.

Not to toot his horn, but Adlard has staying power. Nearly 30 issues of the X-files, almost 50 issues of The Walking Dead.

I first saw his work on Topps 1st Mars Attacks mini series years ago. I’ve been a fan ever since. In fact I didn’t really get hip to the Walking Dead until he started drawing it.

I first saw his work when he was in the X-Files book, and I liked it enough. However, when after a few years I saw his art in Walking Dead I was amazed!! He has evolved a lot, an I like putting him as an example of artist improvent whenever possible. He is really good!

No mention of Astronauts in Trouble?

Or Nobody?

Or The Establishment?

Or Codeflesh?

Or White Death?

Or Nikolai Dante?

Or Warlock?

Or Rock Bottom?


I can understand skipping over, say, X-Men: The Hellfire Club or the Green Arrow/Green Lantern crossover that Winick and Raab wrote, but at least throw a nod out to his days as a lynchpin at IDW, man!

That said, I had no idea he drew a Mr. Freeze-centric issue of Gotham Knights. I’m gonna have to track that down.

When he first started (to my knowledge) doing Armitage for Judge Dredd the Megazine, I really didn’t like his art. He came off like a second rate Sean Philips wannabe. His work improved dramatically with X-Files though and it’s only improved since. Definitely a good artist – and still a bit reminiscent of Sean Philips.

What story are those Walking Dead panels supposed to tell?
Because unless it’s a Broke Back kinda thing, I may need some dialogue.

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