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Lead, ink, and legacy: In conversation with artist Klaus Janson

"The bottom line is, it's always about storytelling"

Elektra and Daredevil reunite (art by Frank MIller and Klaus Janson)
Image credit: Marvel Comics

If there’s an award for Most Valuable All-Rounder in Comics, Klaus Janson would be a pretty sure bet to win. Janson - who’s worked as a penciler, inker, colorist, writer, and teacher across his decades-long career – broke into comics 40 years ago with an uncredited appearance in Marvel’s Jungle Action #6; soon afterwards, he became the ongoing inker on The Defenders, before beginning a long term association with Daredevil in 1975.

It’s his work on Daredevil – specifically the work finishing the pencils and layouts of Frank Miller during the his career-making run in the early '80s – that many still go to as a prime example of what Janson is capable of, but that’s underselling his talents significantly. Outside of being an accomplished an inker and finisher (something he’s also done on titles including Fantastic Four, The Avengers, Spider-Man, Superman, and Detective Comics, where he famously worked wonders over Gene Colan’s pencils), he’s also an extremely accomplished penciller in his own right, having illustrated projects as diverse as The Punisher, Batman/Spawn: War Devil, and the short lived Epic superhero series, St. George.

But that’s not all! If that wasn’t impressive enough, Janson has also been shaping the next generation of comic book artists since the '90s, when he started teaching at the School of Visual Arts in New York City; something of a second career to him since then, with his offering additional courses at Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art and even holding storytelling seminars for new creators and editors at Marvel on an irregular basis. He’s even written How-To books The DC Comics Guide to Pencilling Comics and The DC Comics Guide to Inking Comics.

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Chloe Maveal avatar
Chloe Maveal: Chloe Maveal is the Editor-In-Chief of the guerilla website The Gutter Review, and is a freelance essayist who specializes in British comics, pop culture history, and the subversive qualities of “trashy” media. Their work has been featured all over the internet with bylines in 2000 AD, The Treasury of British Comics, Publishers Weekly, Polygon, Comics Beat, and many others.
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