|(Co-Creator - Howard the Duck, Artist - Conan the Barbarian; Man-Thing; Ka-Zar; American Splendor; Magic: The Gathering)|
|Val Mayerik was born on March 29, 1950 in Youngstown, Ohio. He majored in art and philosophy at Youngstown State University, which he attended from 1968 to 1972. In spring of his graduating year, he met and began working as an assistant to Ohio-based comic-book artist Dan Adkins, alongside fellow assistant P. Craig Russell. Through Adkins, who was primarily an inker for Marvel Comics, Mayerik broke into comics that summer as penciler, over Adkins layouts, of the eight-page story “Spell of the Dragon,” starring author John Jakes’ sword-and-sorcery hero Brak the Barbarian. Published in the horror-fantasy anthology Chamber of Chills # 2 (Jan. 1973), it appeared a month after his first published comics work, the full-length “The Monster of the Monoliths” in Marvel’s Conan the Barbarian # 21, which Mayerik and Russell penciled over Barry Windsor-Smith layouts.|
Mayerik quickly found more assignments, penciling Marvel’s adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man, over Adkins layouts, in Supernatural Thrillers # 2 (Feb. 1973); and doing his first full penciling, with writer George Alec Effinger’s adaptation of Lin Carter’s “Thongor! Warrior of Lost Lemuria” story “Thieves of Zangabal,” in Creatures on the Loose # 22 (March 1973).
Mayerik became the regular artist of the swamp-monster feature “Man-Thing” in Fear #13 (April 1973). Six issues later, he and writer Steve Gerber introduced Howard the Duck. Initially a minor supporting character intended only for an issue or two, the anthropomorphic waterfowl — bedecked in suit and tie as a parody of funny animal ducks, except for his cigar-smoking and his angry, ascerbic wit — Howard eventually became a star character with his own satiric series, penciled first by Frank Brunner and then Gene Colan. The character shortly afterward became a mainstream pop-culture figure.
Mayerick continued to pencil both the “Man-Thing” and “Thongor” series until the former received his own title, for which Mayerik drew the premiere issue (Jan. 1974). While also doing scattered horror/fantasy/science-fiction anthology stories, Mayerik teamed with Gerber on a second series, the Living Mummy, in Supernatural Thrillers, and took over the art on The Frankenstein Monster. With writer Doug Moench, he did a monumental adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes novel The Hound of the Baskervilles in the black-and-white magazine Marvel Preview # 5-6 (April & Spring 1976). He also penciled the final six issues of the 20-issue jungle-lord series Ka-Zar (1974-1977 series)
Also interested in acting, Mayerik appears in The Demon Lover (1977),a low-budget horror film shot in and around Detroit, Michigan.
In early 1977, Mayerik moved to New York City, where he acted off-off-Broadway and found work with artist Neal Adams’ Continuity Associates studio, sharing space with fellow fledglings Howard Chaykin, Walt Simonson, and Jim Starlin.
During this time, he drew the first Howard the Duck Annual (May 1977) and Howard the Duck #22-23 (March-April 1978). He was also an artist on the Howard the Duck newspaper comic strip in 1977. He co-plotted and co-scripted, in addition to drawing, Howard the Duck #33 (Sept. 1986), the second and last issue of a short-lived series revival coinciding with the release of the movie Howard the Duck. He expanded beyond his prolific Marvel work to draw for Heavy Metal magazine and the Warren Publishing line of black-and-white comics magazines; the latter work included the continuing samurai feature “Young Master”, reprints of which appeared as backup stories in Mayerik and writer Larry Hamas 1987-1989 Young Master series published by New Comics Group.
Mayerik left New York City in 1981, moving first to Cleveland, Ohio, where he did local TV and film work and regional theater in addition to his art, before settling in Oregon in 1993.
Mayerik continued to draw for comics through the 1980s and early 1990s, working on series for Eclipse Comics, First Comics, Now Comics, Pacific Comics, and Harvey Pekar’s self-published American Splendor, in addition to Marvel, but was seguing toward more of a career in advertising art and in illustration for the games industry, including the roleplaying game companies TSR, Inc. and Wizards of the Coast. As a spinoff of this, he drew the four-issue Acclaim Comics miniseries Magic: The Gathering — The Shadow Mage (July-Oct. 1995)
Mayerik has done storyboards and other art for clients ranging from Coca-Cola and Microsoft to the American Indian College Fund and the Oregon Historical Society.