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CSBG Archive

Month of Art Stars: Artist’s Choice – Jon J. Muth

Every day this month I’m going to feature the work of a great artist, only instead of me picking the artist to feature, they will be picked by their peers, fellow professional comic book artists who are picking out artists (from the past and present) who they think deserve special attention. Do note that most artists I asked about this gave me multiple answers and I picked out one choice out of a number of suggestions, so these are not definitive answers, like “Artist X likes Artist Y and he thinks all other Artists are terrible!” Here is an archive of the artists featured so far!

Today, we have the pick of Dustin Nguyen, an awesome artist whose work you can currently see in the pages of Batman: Streets of Gotham. Here‘s his website.

Dustin’s pick is Jon J. Muth.

Jon J. Muth’s first major comic book work was the epic (in more than one way) series Moonshadow, alongside writer J.M. Dematteis.

Here are all the covers Muth did for the series, to give you an idea of how gorgeous his work was on it (the first 13 images are the original 12 issues plus the trade collection of those issues – the next 14 images are reprints by Vertigo of the original 12 issues with new Muth covers, a “Farewell, Moonshadow” book and “The Compleat Moonshadow”)….

Muth was chosen to draw the second to last issue of Sandman!! That’s quite cool. Here are some interior pages from that…

Muth also drew an issue of Global Frequency…

More recently, Muth has become one of the most acclaimed children’s book illustrator (and even more recently, illustrator AND writer).

Here is some of his absolutely brilliant work on the book Why I Will Never Ever Ever Ever Have Enough Time to Read This Book, written by Remy Charlip and illustrated by Muth…

Simply stunning.

See more of Muth’s work at his website here.

Thanks to Dustin for the pick!


Muth’s always been a favorite.

One minor nit–didn’t Kent Williams paint the cover of the original Moonshadow #6? Not to take away from Muth’s accomplishments…

Muth is awesome. He illustrated one of my favorite comics (The Mystery Play) and wrote and drew one of my new favorite children’s books, Zen Shorts.

Good call, Tim! My bad – changed it!

Tom Fitzpatrick

June 30, 2009 at 2:39 pm

I could never understand why Ellis didn’t continue GLOBAL FREQUENCY, that was SUCH a terrific series.

It seems like it’s only once per decade, or era that you see two amazing talents like Jon J. Muth and Kent Williams interact so seamlessly. I still treasure my Wolverine / Havoks and my Williams / Muth art books.

Two artistic giants. Nice choice featuring Muth.

Muth’s art is beautiful, no doubt. But Moonshadow left me absolutely cold, as a story – I remember very little about it except that it bored me to no end.

I love Muth’s work. That Sandman issue he did is amazing. I’m also glad you posted the original Moonshadow covers, I’ve never seen them before.

Bill, can you please tell me what happened at the end of The Mystery Play?

Which part? The crucifixion? The bit with the coats? No, not really. I can’t explain any of it. I think that’s why I like it so much…

Great artist, but if Swamp Thing: Roots is anything to go by, terrible writer.

Wow, never realised this before, but he managed to take a property from Marvel to DC! Epic to Vertigo..

Didn’t he also do Havoc/Wolverine: Meltdown?

Ok, sorry, De Matteis and him took Moonshadow to Vertgo… I take it one or both of them owned the title?

@ Blackjak

Yeah, they got a pretty nifty creator-owned deal from Archie Goodwin at EPIC, as most (if not all) of the artists there did, too. Funny how MARVEL was actually the first “mainstream” company to do the VERTIGO thing. JMDM had a few projects there that eventually saw republication in VERTIGO. Muth even had his DRACULA book published by HEAVY METAL (NBM, I think). Veitch serialised his ABRAXAS there, and Dave Sim even did a few CEREBUS shorts for them. EPIC was Goodwin’s baby, and he treated people right, so they were happy to give stuff to EPIC. Maybe CBSBG should do a Goodwin retrospective? Quite the career, when you think about it, from EC to EPIC to DC.

Forgot to mention that Muth’s DRACULA was first published as an EPIC GRAPHIC NOVEL before it was published by HEAVY METAL, as EPIC issued out quite a lot of very very good graphic novels (= more or less square-bound novel-length “mature” work) back when they were still doing stuff, and some of them were even maturish takes on MARVEL superheroes, like Spider-Man fighting off Lovecraftian monsters, with art by Bernie Wrightson. Even De Matteis had a DR STRANGE book with Muth (I think it was Muth. It could’ve been Sweetman or Williams, though). I think the Lee-Moebius SILVER SURFER was part of that line, and they also did the coloured reprints of AKIRA, and the then-complete set of Moebius’ books. Ah, EPIC.

About the end of The Mystery Play…


The coats symbolize guilt. Carpenter was identified by the police because of his raincoat, which symbolizes his guilt for what he did. And in the end, when he is absolved, he leaves his coat behind at the cross. Annie, however, has to wear her coat even 10 years after what happened, because she’s the Judas of the story.

As for the actual murder mystery, like Carpenter keeps saying, the answer is in the big picture, not in the details. You got to look at the whole story, the whole community of Townely. I think Morrison leaves it kinda open, though, whether Satan is right, or whether Carpenter ends up redeeming the whole town.

Muth is awesome. He did some great work on the Silver Surfer. But alas, ’twas cancelled.

[…] Jon J Muth was another inspiration artist I followed, he often used watercolour in his books which was quite refreshing. I’ve no idea what these comics are about because I never read them. I bought them purely as art books. […]

Moonshadow is one of my favourite works of fiction – up there to me with Don Quixote, Gulliver’s Travel’s, UBIK, Ender’s Game – a potentially life changing piece of work

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