Wednesday, April 18, 2012
He submitted illustrations to The Comics Journal and was commissioned by editor Gary Groth to produce a number of covers, beginning with an X-Men cover for issue 68 (November 1981); Nowlan went on to produce covers and spot illustrations for both The Comics Journal and Amazing Heroes (including a fully-painted Supergirl cover for the latter) over the next couple of years.
His work was noticed by inker Terry Austin and Nowlan found himself pencilling a fill-in issue of Doctor Strange (#57) before taking over Moon Knight from Bill Sienkiewicz. This proved to be a disaster and a he quit after only three-and-a-half issues; however, the work proved popular and he was offered more work with Marvel (Daredevil, a Nightcrawler or Long Shot mini-series) and by DC (Star Trek, a Batman graphic novel, an Aquaman mini-series), all of which he turned down. Instead, he drew strips for National Lampoon and concentrated on posters and covers for the major comics' publishers, which allowed him to draw strips such as "Grimwood's Daughter" (a back-up strip in Dalgoda) for Fantagraphics.
He has subsequently worked for both DC and Marvel, drawing The Outsiders and Green Lantern Corps for the former and New Mutants for the latter. Complaints from readers that he had made the Mutants too cartoony, led to Nowlan working primarily as an inker from 1988. In this role he has continued to work for Marvel, DC. Wildstorm and Image. Some of the highlights of this work includes Batman: Sword of Azrael (1992), Aliens: Salvation (1993), Superman vs. Aliens (1995) and Superman: Distant Fires (1997). In 1999, he began drawing the adventures of young boy-genius "Jack B. Quick" for Alan Moore's Tomorrow Stories.
More recently he has been involved in the Batman Confidential series and "Metal Man" in DC's weekly Wednesday Comics, inking the pencils of José Luis García-López, and the one-shot Hellboy: Buster Oakley Gets His Wish (2011), written by Mike Mignola.
Nowlan was the subject of Eric Nolen-Weatherington's collection, Modern Masters Volume 4, published by Twomorrows Publishing in 2004. He lives in Kansas with his wife, Deanne.
Examples of Kevin Nowlan's artwork can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.