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CSBG Archive

Bill Sienkiewicz’s Back Pages

Every day this month I will share with you the first (at least as far as I know) U.S. professional work by a notable comic book creator. Here is an archive of the creators who have been featured so far.

Today’s featured creator is Bill Sienkiewicz!


Sienkiewicz is not only one of the greatest and most acclaimed comic book artists of the past 30 years, but he is also one of the most in-demand pop culture designers period, doing tremendous work on music albums, DVD covers, posters, magazine features, you name it, he’s dominated it.

What’s interesting is that the characters Sienkiewicz first came to everyone’s attention drawing, Moon Knight (in the Moon Knight ongoing series with Doug Moench), was also the very first character Sienkiewicz ever drew professionally! After getting his start working for Neal Adams’ Continuity Studios, Sienkiewicz showed his portfolio to Marvel and he was quickly hired.

The not-yet 21-year-old made his professional comic book debut in February 1979’s Hulk magazine #13, on a Moon Knight story!

The next month, Sienkiewicz did a cover for an issue of Black Panther…

The next month, he did a story in Marvel Preview #18…

Sienkiewicz continued to work with Moench on the Moon Knight back-up until he went with Moench to the Fantastic Four and then the Moon Knight ongoing. By the time he was finished on that book, he was a star.

The amusing aspect of Sienkiewicz’s first comic book work is that TWICE in the issue, the editors rave about what a find he was. TWICE they tell the story of how he came to them with his art portfolio and how they gave him an assignment right away. Twice they told us how he was soon to be a star. That’s pretty neat for your first comic book assignment! It’s even neater that he lived up to the hype (and then some, as they were praising him for his early Neal Adams-inspired work – later on he became more original and more AMAZING)!


Did Steve Oliff also work for Continuity? His coloring style, as shown in those Moon Knight pages, looks quite a bit like that studio’s coloring style. Curious what the genesis of that might be.

I’ve heard this story, I think more than one place. I know I heard, right from Jim Shooter himself, about how Neal Adams promoted Bill as the best “aper” of the Neal Adams style, and he talked to Shooter about Bill, and Shooter said something to the effect, you’ve got a guy who does a great Neal Adams, and he’s endorsed BY Neal Adams? Yeah, I THINK we can find something for him.

I also think I read Neal Adams’s take on Bill, either in an old Comics Journal that I have, or in the Following Cerebus issue (9, I think) where Dave Sim talks with Neal. I believe that it’s in FC, and Dave wanted to get on the record that Neal wasn’t resentful of Bill aping his style, but actually was an early booster.

Dave, of course, loved the Sienk. does Adams style, and aped it for the Moon Roach character (one of whose personalities, it seems, was “Kevitch”). What’s funny is how the Roach took on whatever outward appearance/attributes of superheroes (Captain America, Moon Knight, Wolverine, etc), and now the new Moon Knight book is going to have him take on the attributes of other superheroes. Roach Fodder!

Man, I went on for awhile, huh?

Its cool to see just how drastically Sienkiewicz’s style changed over the years. I think his best work was Stray Toasters. No one else draws like that dude (well except maybe Dave McKane)

Pete Woodhouse

March 22, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Travis: The Shooter story, or a link to it at least, is on Bill’s Wiki entry. P.

Actually, that first Moon Knight story looks more like Brent Anderson artwork than Neal Adams. It has a real “God Loves, Man Kills” feel to me than a real “Adams” flavor.

Yeah, his other stuff was really, really Adamsesque, but those pages above just come across as more Anderson to my eye.


Hey Brian,

This is a great feature. If I may be so bold as to suggest a possible related feature. Since most of these artist first work is completely different than the styles they are famous for, it would be great to also see their earliest work ***in their distinct style*** and the works leading right up to it. To see whose styles changed gradually, whose turned on a dime. For Bill I guess that started on New Mutants.

I have all of Bill’s Moon Knight stuff, but I’d never seen that Starlord work. That splash page, apparently just a month into his pro career, is better than most seasoned vet’s best stuff. Sienkiewicz is such a true artistic prodigy that it’s easy to understand why comics couldn’t contain him for long.

Wow – Very impressive right from the start – and he only got better!

Its cool to see just how drastically Sienkiewicz’s style changed over the years. I think his best work was Stray Toasters. No one else draws like that dude (well except maybe Dave McKane)

Ashley Wood’s making a good go of it these days.

I like his early art, and his later art, but his New Mutants art (especially #50) almost made me give up reading that series. At least he wasn’t as bad as what the team devolved to in X-Force.

@Basara, Sienkiewicz wasn’t on NM by issue number 50 – that was Jackson Guice.

Wow. Looks nothing like the Sienkiewicz stuff of today. I didn’t like his NEW MUTANTS stuff as a kid, but now, looking back at it, it’s GORGEOUS!

Wow, thats awesome. I saw some old story about a Jimi Hendrix book he was illustrating and that was about the time the whole clone saga thing was begginning and he was doing the inks over Sal Buscema’s pencils. How varied can you get?

Bring back Ben Reilly!:)

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