|Trevor Von Eeden|
|Born||Trevor Von Eeden|
July 24, 1959
Power Man and Iron Fist
The Original Johnson
Trevor Von Eeden (born July 24, 1959) is a Guyanese-American comics artist, actor and writer known for his work on such titles as Black Lightning, Batman, Green Arrow, Power Man and Iron Fist, and the biographical series The Original Johnson.
Von Eeden was born in Guyana and moved to New York City when he was 11 years old. According to Von Eeden, he remembers drawing in his early teens in order to alleviate the boredom of junior high school, beginning with anatomical studies of faces and hands, which he says are the most difficult things to draw accurately. He was introduced to comics through the vast comic collection and encouragement of his best friend Al Simonson, who suggested to submit sample artwork to DC Comics. Von Eeden's influences included Neal Adams, John Buscema, and Curt Swan. He was also studying medicine at Columbia University.
Trevor Von Eeden's comic book career began at age 16, when DC Comics editor Jack C. Harris hired him to illustrate prototype assignments with the "Legion of Super-Heroes" and Weird War Tales. Soon after, Von Eeden was officially hired to design and draw the company's first African-American superhero to have his own title, Black Lightning.
About three years later, Von Eeden began to suspect he had gotten that job because of his skin color, which displeased him and resulted in his writing what he called a five-page mission statement that said "in detail exactly what I wanted to create — the kind of style I thought would express myself most effectively, while also telling a story in the most dramatic way possible. I wrote everything down that I could think of — the details, form, and purpose of the style of art that I'd wanted to create."
In 1977, he began drawing the "Green Arrow" backup feature in World's Finest Comics and co-created the Count Vertigo character with Gerry Conway in World's Finest Comics #251 (July 1978). Von Eeden recalled in a 2011 interview that he "worked for Neal [Adams] concurrent with my DC tenure—starting in 1978, until somewhere in the late '90s". He moved to Marvel Comics in 1979 and 1980 and pencilled Power Man and Iron Fist and Spider-Woman. His stint at Marvel Comics was cut short because, in his own words, he was "fired by Jim Shooter, who’d told me specifically, when I’d first started there, to try and draw like Jack Kirby—and apparently wasn’t happy that I didn’t." He then returned to DC and once again drew the "Green Arrow" feature in World's Finest Comics and later in Detective Comics as well. In collaboration with writer Mike W. Barr, he crafted Batman Annual #8 (1982) and a Green Arrow miniseries. Von Eeden has noted that the Batman Annual is "the book I’m most proud of, in my 25 year career at DC Comics. I was able to ink it myself, and also got my girlfriend at the time, Lynn Varley, to colour it – her first job in comics." He and writer Jack C. Harris proposed to DC an all-female superteam named the Power Squad, but were turned down. In 1983, Von Eeden and writer Robert Loren Fleming created the DC series Thriller, an action-adventure story that allowed him room to experiment. Von Eeden left the series as of its eighth issue due to difficulties with DC Comics' management. He stated in a 2017 interview that he was "thrilled beyond measure" that Thriller is "the one job of my entire 41-year career that the fans have fondly and consistently remembered since it first appeared."
He was asked by Frank Miller to draw the "Batman: Year One" storyline but did not accept the offer.
"Venom", the fourth story arc in the Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight series, was drawn by Von Eeden, Russell Braun, and José Luis García-López. Von Eeden drew a Black Canary limited series (Nov. 1991-Feb. 1992) as well as an ongoing series featuring the character in 1992–1993. In a 2009 interview he stated that ''Black Canary, on the other hand, was done in one state of mind, from beginning to end, one of semi-interest, to tell you the truth. I didn't, and still don't, find her to be a particularly interesting character."
In 2001 Von Eeden returned to Batman, penciling the five-issue storyline "Grimm" in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #149–153. He also illustrated a series of short stories, "Joe In The Future", published in Heavy Metal #v25 #6 (Jan. 2002) and #v27 #5 (Nov. 2003)
In 2007 Von Eeden began writing and drawing The Original Johnson, a biography of the boxer Jack Johnson. The 242-page graphic novel was serialized in weekly online installments at ComicMix, and was completed in 2009. Print rights to the book were acquired by IDW Publishing, who issued the series as a two-volume set in 2010 and 2011. He has called this project "The other 'most satisfying' book of my career (aside from the Batman Annual #8) is The Original Johnson – the first book I’ve ever written and drawn."
He provided illustrations for the text story "The Holo-Marketeer" for Heavy Metal #v34 #9 (Jan. 2011) and designed and illustrated superhero comics produced for the National Hockey League by Stan Lee. He later drew four issues of Gateway Comics' Stalker.
|2020||Black Lightning||Judge Von Eeden||Episode: "The Book of War: Chapter Three: Liberation"|
About three years into my career, at about the age of 20, I started to feel that I'd only gotten the job because of my skin color—a notion which displeased me greatly.
Writer Tony Isabella and artist Trevor Von Eeden provided the creative juice for Black Lightning.
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[This] was the longest single Batman story ever published to date, a 42-page blockbuster written by Mike W. Barr and illustrated by Trevor Von Eeden.
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Frank had called me in person to offer me the 'Batman: Year One' job, before giving it to Mazzuchelli. I said, 'No.',' says Trevor, 'And I have no regrets – Dave did a beautiful job. His wife [Richmond Lewis] colored it, too.
The first four chapters of Stalker are illustrated by comics legend Trevor Von Eeden.