Frank Brunner
Brunner in profile, wearing sunglasses
Brunner in 2008
Born (1949-02-21) February 21, 1949 (age 75)
Notable works
Doctor Strange
Howard the Duck
AwardsInkpot Award (1976)[1]

Frank Brunner (born February 21, 1949)[2] is an American comics artist and illustrator best known for his work at Marvel Comics in the 1970s.

Early life

Brunner attended Manhattan's High School of Art and Design. He was in the same graduating class as Larry Hama and Ralph Reese.[3] He studied at the New York University Film School.[4]



Brunner entered the comics profession as a horror writer-artist for the black-and-white comics magazines Web of Horror, Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella.[5] His first work for Marvel Comics was inking an 11-page Watcher backup story in The Silver Surfer #6 (June 1969).[5] Brunner's best-known color-comics work is his Marvel Comics collaboration with writer Steve Engelhart on the supernatural hero Doctor Strange in Marvel Premiere #9–14 (July 1973 – March 1974)[6] and in Doctor Strange: Master of the Mystic Arts #1–2 and #4–5 (June–August 1974 and Oct.–Dec. 1974). The two killed Dr. Strange's mentor, the Ancient One, and Strange became the new Sorcerer Supreme. Englehart and Brunner created a multi-issue storyline in which a sorcerer named Sise-Neg ("Genesis" spelled backward) goes back through history, collecting all magical energies, until he reaches the beginning of the universe, becomes all-powerful and creates it anew, leaving Strange to wonder whether this was, paradoxically, the original creation. Stan Lee, seeing the issue after publication, ordered Englehart and Brunner to print a retraction saying this was not God but a god, so as to avoid offending religious readers. The writer and artist concocted a fake letter from a fictitious minister praising the story, and mailed it to Marvel from Texas; Marvel unwittingly printed the letter, and dropped the retraction order.[7] In 2010, Comics Bulletin ranked Englehart and Brunner's run on the "Doctor Strange" feature ninth on its list of the "Top 10 1970s Marvels".[8]

Other Marvel credits include Howard the Duck's first two solo stories in Giant-Size Man-Thing #4 and #5 (May and Aug. 1975)[9] and the first two issues of the Howard the Duck comic book series (Jan. and March 1976),[10] as well as the anthologies Chamber of Chills, Haunt of Horror, and Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction. He drew covers for the supernatural series The Tomb of Dracula and the swamp-monster series Man-Thing.[5]

Also for Marvel, Brunner adapted Robert E. Howard's sword-and-sorcery pulp fiction hero Conan the Barbarian in the 42-page story "The Scarlet Citadel", and drew many covers for the similar series Red Sonja and Savage Sword of Conan.[5] Brunner left Marvel in 1979 and wrote an essay in The Comics Journal stating that he "felt the romance with comics was over".[11]

Brunner and novelist Michael Moorcock collaborated on a comics adaptation of Moorcock's sword-and-sorcery hero Elric in Heavy Metal magazine. It was reprinted in publisher Mike Friedrich's Star Reach Greatest Hits.[5]

Brunner briefly returned to comics in the early-1980s as artist on the First Comics title Warp!, based on the science fiction play that ran briefly on Broadway in the 1970s. He then wrote and drew the graphic novel The Seven Samuroid (1984), a science-fiction takeoff of the movie classic Seven Samurai.[5]

Film and television

Brunner moved to Hollywood and began a career in movie and television animation, working on projects for Hanna-Barbera (Jonny Quest), Walt Disney Imagineering (Euro Tomorrowland movie), Warner Bros. (preproduction Batman design) and DreamWorks (Invasion USA). He was the head of character design for the Fox animated series X-Men.



Comics and magazines

Interior art (except where noted) includes:

First Comics

Marvel Comics

Pacific Comics

Star Reach

Warren Publishing

Other publishers

  • Adventures of Chrissie Claus #31 (cover)
  • Brunner's Carnal Delights #1 (cover) (Carnal)
  • Castle of Frankenstein (Kable News)
  • Crawdaddy!
  • Flare #29 (cover) (Hero)
  • Flare Adventures #13, 15–19 (covers) (Hero)
  • Monster Times
  • Red Sonja #2 (cover) (Dynamite Entertainment)
  • Unknown Worlds of Frank Brunner (cover) (Eclipse Comics)
  • Silver Comics #1, 4, 6 (covers) (Silver)
  • Karmatron #20 (cover and interior art, 1987) (Cepsa)
  • The War of the Worlds (covers) (Best Sellers Illustrated)
  • Witchgirls Inc. #1–3, 5 (covers)
  • Wild Stars #1–6 (covers) (Little Rocket)

Art portfolios

Trading cards (Topps)




Record-album covers

Poster prints

Further reading


  1. ^ Inkpot Award
  2. ^ Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide. Iola, Wisconsin. Archived from the original on February 18, 2011. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
  3. ^ Arrant, Chris (June 7, 2010). "Looking Back With Larry Hama". Newsarama. Archived from the original on June 26, 2013.
  4. ^ "Frank Brunner". Lambiek Comiclopedia. November 6, 2009. Archived from the original on May 5, 2012. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Frank Brunner at the Grand Comics Database
  6. ^ Sanderson, Peter (2008). "1970s". In Gilbert, Laura (ed.). Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 160. ISBN 978-0756641238.
  7. ^ Cronin, Brian (December 22, 2005). "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #30". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on February 4, 2012. Retrieved December 26, 2008. We cooked up this plot-we wrote a letter from a Reverend Billingsley in Texas, a fictional person, saying that one of the children in his parish brought him the comic book, and he was astounded and thrilled by it, and he said, "Wow, this is the best comic book I've ever read." And we signed it "Reverend so-and-so, Austin Texas"-and when Steve was in Texas, he mailed the letter so it had the proper postmark. Then, we got a phone call from Roy, and he said, "Hey, about that retraction, I'm going to send you a letter, and instead of the retraction, I want you to print this letter." And it was our letter! We printed our letter!
  8. ^ Sacks, Jason (September 6, 2010). "Top 10 1970s Marvels". Comics Bulletin. Archived from the original on August 1, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  9. ^ Sanderson "1970s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 169: "Howard the Duck returned in a new series of stories by writer/creator Steve Gerber and artist Frank Brunner in the back of Giant-Size Man-Thing."
  10. ^ Sanderson "1970s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 174: "Gerber and artist Frank Brunner quickly brought Howard his own comic book."
  11. ^ Brunner, Frank (November 1979). "Farewell to Comics". The Comics Journal (51). Stamford, Connecticut: Fantagraphics Books: 48–51.
Preceded byJim Starlin "Doctor Strange" feature in Marvel Premiere artist 1973–1974 Succeeded byn/a Preceded byn/a Doctor Strange vol. 2 artist 1974 Succeeded byGene Colan Preceded byn/a Howard the Duck artist 1976 Succeeded byJohn Buscema