As I recently observed, I’ve seen a number of very talented creators whose work I enjoy pass away in a relatively short period of time. With that in mind, I want to make more of an effort to recognize the contributions of those artists and writers who are still with us. It is definitely important to let creative individuals know how much we appreciate their work while they are still with us.
Therefore, I want to take this opportunity to wish a very happy birthday to comic book artist & writer John K. Snyder III, who was born on July 14th, 1961, and to recognize him for his artistic contributions.
The first time I ever saw Snyder’s work was in 1990 when the revival of Classics Illustrated from First Comics released his adaptation of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Snyder’s eerie artwork, his storytelling & coloring, absolutely stunned me. I had only been reading comic books regularly for a short time at this point, but even so I could immediately recognize that here was a unique, distinctive talent. That adaptation really imprinted itself on my 14 year old mind.
Throughout the 1990s I often went to comic book conventions with my father where I searched out back issues from the previous two decades. Among the many great books I found at those shows were some of Snyder’s earlier works. I picked up a few issues of Timothy Truman’s great creator-owned series Scout which had been published in the mid 1980s by Eclipse Comics, and which featured Snyder’s first published work in the “Fashion in Action” back-up serial. Looking at the “Fashion in Action” stories, it’s apparent that Snyder really hit the ground running both as an artist and a writer.
Among the other comic books I picked up at those conventions were John Ostrander & Kim Yale’s acclaimed, groundbreaking super-powered political thriller Suicide Squad published by DC Comics. Snyder penciled several issues of that title, paired up with inkers / embellishers Karl Kesel and Geof Isherwood. Once again, Snyder did great work.
Throught the 1990s and beyond I saw Synder’s artwork in a number of places. He drew several striking, offbeat character profiles for the early 1990s looseleaf edition of Who’s Who In the DC Universe, a pair of covers for Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron for Dark Horse Comics, an astonishing, atmospheric three issue painted Doctor Mid-Nite bookshelf miniseries written by the incredible Matt Wagner, and covers of the three part “Morningstar” story arc that ran in Greg Rucka’s espionage series Queen & Country from Oni Press.
I got to meet Snyder when he was a guest at Cradle Con in Garden City, Long Island in June 2019. It’s always great when you meet creators whose work you enjoy and discover that they are also good people. That was definitely the case with Snyder. I purchased a copy of the Fashion in Action collected edition from him, and at long last finally had the opportunity to read the story in full. Snyder also did a really lovely drawing in my Beautiful Dreamer sketchbook.
Since then I’ve followed Snyder on Facebook and Instagram where he regularly shares the incredible new artwork that he’s been working on. In the last decade he’s done some amazing work.
Snyder painted covers of the Infestation event from IDW that crossed over the worlds of Star Trek, Transformers, G.I. Joe and Ghostbusters. He reunited with Matt Wagner on Zorro Rides Again for Dynamite Entertainment, drew several issues of Bloodshot: Rising Spirit for Valiant Entertainment, and wrote & drew a graphic novel adaptation of Lawrence Block’s noir novel Eight Million Ways To Die. He briefly had the opportunity to return to the world of Suicide Squad, depicting the most recent incarnation of the superhuman black ops team on a pair of variant covers for the Infinite Frontier miniseries. All these years later Snyder’s work continues to astonish me.
So, once again, happy birthday to John K. Snyder III. Wishing you many more to come.