Art of my Misspent Youth: P. Craig Russell’s KILLRAVEN

I don’t have much to say about the Killraven art of P. Craig Russell.


It is baroque, it is colorful. It is not like most comic book art of its time (the seventies).

It is both beautiful and creepy at once.

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It is evocative of a science fiction world bigger and deeper than any science fiction movie I can think of. No, not even that one.

It depicts a world in which humanity has been defeated and enslaved by alien beings who send young people to gladiator pits. A handful of them escape.


One of them, called Killraven, is a nineteen-year-old who’s been winning in the gladiator battles, and uses his strength and prowess with fighting and weapons not to benefit his Martian slavemasters, but to seek out his brother in a devastated world. And maybe, on the way, help defeat the Martians.



From the KILLRAVEN wikipedia entry: ” P. Craig Russell…whose sensitive, elaborate artwork, evocative of Art Nouveau illustration, gave the landscape of Killraven’s America a nostalgic, pastoral feel, and the Martian architecture the look of futuristic castles.” – Peter Sanderson, MARVEL UNIVERSE


Russell’s world was a forerunner of Bruce Pennington’s (left) and Don Maitz’s (right) covers for Gene Wolfe’s BOOK OF THE NEW SUN.

Russell created a STRANGE science fiction world, more like that of a fantasy than a hardware scifi story.


P. Craig Russell made KILLRAVEN stories visual feasts. You could just drink in the art, and still follow the story.