Sienkiewicz, Bill 1958–
Sienkiewicz, Bill 1958–
(Boleslaw William Felix Robert Sienkiewicz)
PERSONAL: Name pronounced sin-KEV-itch; born May 3, 1958, in Blakely, PA. Education: Attended Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc., 1966 Greenspring Dr., Ste. 300, Timonium, MD 21093.
CAREER: Comic-book illustrator and writer, 1978–, illustrator for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Image Comics, Epic Comics, Oni Press, Kitchen Sink, Publishing, and others; independent commercial artist for book and magazine publishers, including Doubleday, St. Martin's Press, Avon, Viking Penguin, Rolling Stone, Spin, Outdoor Life, ESPN, Reader's Digest, Guitar, National Lampoon, and others. Animator and production, Web site, and character designer for clients, including Hanna-Barbera Animation, DIC Animation, MTV, Sunbow Animation, CBS Television, and Cyclops Entertainment. Set designer, storyboard artist, and consultant for films including: The Matrix, Unforgiven, The Mummy, Highway to Hell, The Yards, The Green Mile, and American Pimp, and for television networks. Exhibitions: Works exhibited at Carson Street Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA, 1988–89; Words and Pictures Museum, Northampton, MA, 1994; Museum of Fine Art, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1995; and Gijon, Asturias, Spain, 1997. Participant in group exhibits, including Jimi Hendrix traveling exhibit, 1997–98; and many others.
AWARDS, HONORS: Eagle Award for Best New Artist, 1981, for Best Artist, 1982, 1983; Yellow Kid award (Italy), 1986, and Jack Kirby Award for Best Artist, 1987, both for Elektra: Assassin; Gran Guigiri award (Lucca, Italy), 1986; March of Dimes Award for charity work, 1988; Alpe de Huiz award (Grenoble, France), 1991; Emmy Award nominations for production and character design on Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? 1995, 1996; other awards.
(With Frank Miller) Daredevil in Love and War (originally published in single issues), Marvel Comics (New York, NY), 1986.
(With Frank Miller) Elektra: Assassin (originally published in single issues), Epic Comics (New York, NY), 1987.
(With Alan Moore) Brought to Light, (includes Shadowplay: The Secret Team; bound with Flashpoint: The La Penca Bombing, by Joyce Brabner and Thomas Yeates), Eclipse (Forestville, CA), 1989.
(With Chris Claremont) The New Mutants: The Demon Bear Saga (originally published in single issues), Marvel Comics (New York, NY), 1990.
(Adaptor with Dan Chichester and Willie Schubert; and illustrator) Herman Melville, Moby Dick, First Publishing (Chicago, IL), 1990.
Stray Toasters (originally in single volues beginning 1988), Epic Comics (New York, NY), 1991.
Wolverine: Inner Fury (originally published in single issues), art by D.G. Chichester, Marvel Comics (New York, NY), 1992.
(With Dennis O'Neil, Rodolfo Damaggio, and Pat Garrahy) The Official Comic Adaptation of the Warner Bros. Picture Batman & Robin, DC Comics (New York, NY), 1997.
Contributor to Marvel Comics' New Mutants series, 1984–86; creator of comic strip "Slow down Sir," in Epic Illustrated, 1986; contributor to Alan Moore's Big Numbers, 1990; contributor of story A River in Egypt to Oni Double Feature, Oni Press, 1998. Author/illustrator of Moon Knight comic-book series, 1980–84.
Frank Herbert, Dune (comic-book adaptation of film by David Lynch; originally published as "Marvel Comics Super Special," number 36), Marvel Comics (New York, NY), 1984.
Martin I. Green, Voodoo Child: The Illustrated Legend of Jimi Hendrix, Penguin Group (New York, NY), 1995.
Martin I. Green, Santa: My Life & Times: An Illustrated Autobiography, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1998.
Contributor to books, including Joe Kelly, Green Lantern Legacy: The Last Will and Testament of Hal Jordan, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2002.
ILLUSTRATOR; "RACE AGAINST TIME" NOVEL SERIES
J.J. Fortune, Escape from Raven Castle, Dell (New York, NY), 1984.
J.J. Fortune, Pursuit of the Deadly Diamonds, Dell (New York, NY), 1984.
J.J. Fortune, Search for Mad Jack's Crown, Dell (New York, NY), 1984.
J.J. Fortune, Evil in Paradise, Dell (New York, NY), 1984.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The anthology Vuja de (working title); anniversary re-release of Stray Toasters; a new comic series, with Frank Miller, titled Drop Dead (working title); a Web project for creators of the film The Matrix.
SIDELIGHTS: American comic-book writer and illustrator Bill Sienkiewicz is known for his innovative use of a variety of techniques, such as creating collages from objects and pictures and mixing this medium with acrylic and oil painting. One of only a few comic-book artists who paint their drawings, Sienkiewicz has won major awards in the United States, Italy, and France, and his work has been exhibited all over the world. He is best known in comics for his work on the series Elektra: Assassin and for his four-part solo series Stray Toasters, both of which have been published collectively in single volumes. Sienkiewicz has also illustrated books and magazines, provided artwork for U.S. Olympic teams, and provided artwork for television and films.
Sienkiewicz's early work, with its free brushstrokes and fine pen lines, was influenced by Neal Adams. One of the earliest comic-book series Sienkiewicz drew was Moon Knight, which was published from 1980 to 1984. After his early career in comics in the 1980s, Sienkiewicz left the field for a time to study art in depth in Paris. This study led to his developing techniques for painting comics. In a feature for Words and Pictures Museum online, Sienkiewicz is quoted as saying: "I think that artists, in general, have a responsibility in our society to expose people to new ways of seeing things. Comic artists have that responsibility too."
Elektra: Assassin, which Sienkiewicz created with writer Frank Miller, features a female villain who is the daughter of an ambassador slain by terrorists. Driven to a life of crime by this incident, Elektra uses her martial arts training to work as a hired assassin. In this role, she clashes with the Marvel Comics character Daredevil, who, as it turns out, is a man she once loved.
Sienkiewicz worked with legendary graphic novelist Alan Moore on Shadowplay: The Secret Team, a graphic documentary about a secret team said to direct a covert war in Nicaragua during President Ronald Reagan's administration. The docudrama is bound with Joyce Brabner and Tom Yeates's Flashpoint: The La Penca Bombing to form a single volume called Brought to Light. It was written in conjunction with a lawsuit filed by the Christic Institute against the U.S. government in the late 1980s. A Publishers Weekly contributor called Sienkiewicz's drawings "viciously parodic" and the documentary "a scathing black comedy" of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) history as a shadow government. Keith R.A. DeCandido, in Library Journal, said both books will "shatter any illusions" about U.S. involvement in covert activities.
In the 1980s, Sienkiewicz also illustrated a series of novels for adolescent readers. In the "Race against Time" books, written by J.J. Fortune, a teen boy named Stephen Lane spends weekends with his adventurous Uncle Richard and Richard's girlfriend. The three must complete their escapades before the boy's parents return on Sunday afternoons.
Sienkiewicz wrote and illustrated, with others, a graphic adaptation of Herman Melville's Moby Dick. He also won acclaim for his illustrations for Martin I. Green's graphic novel about rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix. This latter book represented a return to comics by Sienkiewicz in 1995 after a long absence in which he devoted time to commercial art and worked in television and film. Called Voodoo Child: The Illustrated Legend of Jimi Hendrix, the book also contains a compact disk of previously unrecorded songs written and performed by Hendrix before his death by drug overdose in 1971, at age twenty-seven. Jas Obrecht, in Guitar Player, observed that Sienkiewicz "makes eye-arresting use of illustration, lyrics, and Jimi's handwritten letters" in his artwork. A Publishers Weekly contributor called it "lavishly and beautifully illustrated." Gordon Flagg, in Booklist, welcomed Sienkiewicz's return to the graphic-novel medium, saying that his "imaginative, evocative full-color illustration and narrative mastery" brought substantial weight to the project.
One of Sienkiewicz's 2002 projects was his work, with Brent Anderson, illustrating Joe Kelly's graphic novel Green Lantern Legacy: The Last Will and Testament of Hal Jordan. This story chronicles the life of the great Green Lantern, otherwise known as Hal Jordan, a tragic hero. The story i told—beginning at Jordan's funeral—through the eyes of Jordan's betrayed confidant, Tom Kalmaku. Jordan, it seems, has left behind a son, who is gifted with great powers, and Tom's challenge is to protect him from an alien assassin before the boy can use his gift. A reviewer for Hill-city Comics called the 112-page graphic novel "a sweeping tale of family, friends, vengeance … and redemption."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Clute, John, and Peter Nicholls, Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, second edition, Palgrave Macmillan, 1993.
Booklist, Gordon Flagg, review of Voodoo Child: The Illustrated Legend of Jimi Hendrix, p. 377.
Guitar Player, February, 1996, Jas Obrecht, review of Voodoo Child, p. 130.
Library Journal, March 15, 1990, Keith R.A. DeCandido, reviews of Brought to Light, Elektra: Assassin, and Stray Toasters, p. 55.
Publishers Weekly, February 17, 1989, Penny Kaganoff, review of Shadowplay: The Secret Team, p. 73; November 20, 1995, review of Voodoo Child, p. 64.
School Library Journal, May, 1984, Therese Bigelow, reviews of Escape from Raven Castle, Pursuit of the Deadly Diamonds, Search for Mad Jack's Crown, and Revenge in the Silent Tomb, p. 88; September, 1984, review of Evil in Paradise, p. 88.
Bill Sienkiewicz Home Page, http://www.billsienkiewicz.com (December 18, 2003).
Hillcity Comics Web site, http://www.hillcity-comics.com/ (August 19, 2003), review of Green Lantern Legacy: The Last Will and Testament of Hal Jordan.
Lambiek, http://www.lambiek.net/ (August 12, 2003), "Bill Sienkiewicz."
Words and Pictures Museum Web site, http://www.wordsandpictures.org/ (December 18, 2003), "Words and Pictures Exhibit: Elektra: Assassin."