Steve Epting

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Stephen "Steve" Epting is an American comic book artist and penciller. His eclectic list of influences (Alex Raymond, Stan Drake, Jim Holdaway, Joe Kubert, John Buscema, Al Williamson, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez) has resulted in a distinctive style. Epting's atmospheric shadows, fluid lines, and high level of draftsmanship all combine to make his work easily recognizable, no matter which comic he draws.


Biography

Epting majored in graphic design at the University of South Carolina. In 1989, he began working for independent comic book publisher First Comics. His assignments for First included backup stories for Nexus, guest-artist duties on Dreadstar and Whisper, and two miniseries starring Nexus supporting character Judah Macabee: Hammer of God and Hammer of God: Sword of Justice.

By early 1991, First Comics had gone out of business, and Epting was sending submissions to other comics publishers. Soon, he found work at Marvel Comics. Originally assigned to draw half the issues in a six-part bi-weekly The Avengers story arc, Epting ended up drawing five of the six issues (#335-339.) Shortly thereafter, Epting became the full-time penciler on Avengers.


Working closely with writer Bob Harras and inker/colorist Tom Palmer, Epting helped craft several epic Avengers adventures, beginning with issue #343 and ending with issue #375. Epting's art was generally well-received, but the stories themselves were controversial due to their dark tone and their deviation from the Avengers status quo. Nevertheless, the Harras/Epting era of Avengers has developed a small but passionate cult following.

After leaving Avengers in 1994, Epting spent the next few years working on Marvel's franchise of X-Men books. He had a brief run on the ongoing X-Factor series, but mostly concentrated on annuals, specials, and mini-series. These included X-Men '97, Bishop: X.S.E., the Marvel Comics/Image Comics cross-over Team X/Team 7, and Factor-X, the Age of Apocalypse timeline counterparts of X-Factor.

During this time, Epting also collaborated with writer Roger Stern on a story starring Marvel's World War II heroes, The Invaders. It was serialized in the first three issues of Marvel's short-lived anthology title Marvel Universe. This Invaders story was inked by one of Epting's heroes, Al Williamson.

Towards the end of the 90s, Epting moved from Marvel to DC Comics. Most of his work for DC was on Aquaman, where he was teamed up with writer Dan Jurgens. Their Aquaman run began with issue #63, but sales of Aquaman had been declining for a long time, and the Jurgens/Epting team was unable to save the book from cancellation. Their final issue of Aquaman was #75.


In 2000, Epting returned briefly to Marvel's Avengers, which had been relaunched three years earlier with writer Kurt Busiek; Epting drew issues #36 and #37. But most of Epting's efforts during this time were occupied by an ambitious new independent comics publisher, CrossGen.


Epting drew issues #1-25 of Crux, a fantasy-adventure book he co-created with writer Mark Waid. But Epting's next CrossGen project, El Cazador, looked like it might be his first masterpiece. A meticulously researched historical adventure centering around a female pirate, it is considered a high point in the careers of both Epting and writer/co-creator Chuck Dixon. Unfortunately, El Cazador was launched just as CrossGen was on its last legs, and it was cancelled after only six issues.

2004 found Epting returning to Marvel. And he hit the ground running, thanks to a relaunch of Captain America, written by Ed Brubaker. A creative and commercial success, this state-of-the-art Captain America has won Epting many new fans. Time will tell how long Epting remains on the book, and where this talented artist goes from there.

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