Pablo Marcos

I am Pablo Marcos. Summoning Ideas and expressing narratives or plots through imagery has always come naturally to me but I must confess, lectures or writing has never been a strong suit. I am going to share with you my life as told by me at age eighty-four. I’ll do this by using scraps of memories and expanding on what others have gathered or written about me.

I was born in LARAN, a farm located in Chincha Alta, Ica, Peru on March 31st 1937. My father was Pablo Marcos Castilla and my mother, Maria Ortega Guzman. First we were four siblings: Gloria, Berta, Manuel and I. Years later, my two brothers Alfredo and Oswaldo were born. My father was a tractor driver who soon realized he wanted to provide a good education for his children so that we may have a chance at a better future. With these wishes in mind, he relocated our family to the city of Lima, where he looked for work and found a job as a truck driver, transporting oil. It was in that company’s garage that my family settled and made a home for about a year. We later moved to a part of Lima known as Magdalena Nueva, where my siblings and I entered school.

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Growing up as a kid I would paint signage for the local market, always practicing my hand. At the school, Bartolome Herrera, I was mentored by novelist and artist Juan Rivera Saavedra, where he introduced me to comics and familiarized me with the works of Alberto Breccia, Mario Uggeri, Arturo del Castillo and Burne Hogart. Unbeknownst to me, this exposure was a foreshadowing of my future. Later, I was accepted into the University of San Marcos to study Economic Sciences. It was a major I pursued to appease my father who was concerned I would not make a living as an artist. I have nothing but gratitude for the individuals that I met during this time, who recognized my talent and encouraged me to continue in the realm of comics.


I began studying anatomy and practicing realism by drawing. I left the University of San Marcos when my work as an artist began to take off. My work took off before I had finished my studies. I never had the privilege to study art in the academy, I was largely self-taught. I began making a living at age thirteen and it was through work I enjoyed. In the late 1950’s, I began working on caricatures and illustrations of social and political content for newspapers and magazines in Lima. During this time, I worked with Rochabus, Zamba Canuta, El Diario de La Prensa, amongst others. My first publications were in the newspaper Expreso, at the time known as “Sala de Redacción.” I would work on the evening edition Extra and the Sunday magazine, Estampa. They specifically published two daily strips of Benito Puma and the adaptation of the film to the comic strip: James Bond, Agent 007. I worked on those strips for a few years while at the same time illustrated for a weekly page based on the secret agent.

At Expreso, I became a part of the newsroom. My job was to illustrate the most important local and international news of the day, guiding myself from teletype. I was deeply impacted by the death of “Che” Guevara and the execution of “Pichuzo,” a child rapist. I had to illustrate these events but not everything I covered was as morose. Attending the soccer stadium for work was very exciting for me. The stadium, to no surprise, I was the best place to capture matches. I would document these tournaments with pencil and paper. My mind functioned as a video recorder, the memories would remain vivid. I would return to the newsroom to draw all the goals and action from the games I had just witnessed. On occasion I was accompanied by a sports photographer but the former was my usual process. It was an absolute pleasure to illustrate these historical moments in soccer for the public and press.

In 1968, I moved to Mexico City with my wife, Norma Martinez, and our four children: Judith, Gisella, Norma Maria, and Pablo Jr. (an infant at the time). We carried with us a visitor visa that we would renew annually at any border. Immediately, I began working at Editorial Novaro (Epopeya, Vidas Ilustres, Joyas de la Mitología ) and Últimas Noticias. The evening edition of the newspaper Excelsior had commissioned me to illustrate the history of FIFA Soccer World Cups. I also created weekly illustrations of crimes, accidents, and related topics for Police Magazine.

In November of 1970, my wife, Norma, chose to renew our visa and visit the USA for a few weeks. This time we were accompanied by Guillermo Cortez Núñez, a great friend of ours and former director at Expreso, where I had worked for several years. We arrived at the border and said goodbye to Guillermo. Upon saying our farewells, he gave Norma an envelope to be delivered to his friend. He instructed us to locate that friend of his in Brooklyn, New York and deliver the envelope to him should we ever need support. We were told we would give him that envelope and he would help us in some way. Norma was already clear that our destination was “The Big Apple” and I thought that we would only renew the visa, visit some places near the border, and return to Mexico, but she said it was very opportune to visit New York with the children. I don’t know why but she convinced me.

Once we were in the United States, my expertise and passion was embraced from the moment I arrived until today. My family and I would settle in the states for years to follow. We began by renting an apartment in Ivy Hill, New Jersey. A very quiet place with the convenience of having a large bus terminal nearby that would make it easier for me to travel to New York. For some time I had worked for a local Latino newspaper. I also developed Novaro’s scripts that  Norma had brought from Mexico as part of her plan.

 It had been a few months and money was running out so I told Norma that it was time to go back to Mexico City. She told me that our daughters could study a little English at the nearby school while I was looking for a job at one of the many famous publishing houses in New York City. Norma was very determined to keep us in the states and had already gotten a job in the neighborhood church parish. When I told her that we did not have any samples to show the editors, she responded: “I brought a selection of drawings that you did from Mexico City and Peru.” My jaw dropped when I saw those drawings.

By that point, we decided to deliver the envelope to Guillermo Cortez Núñez’s friend. We arrived at the provided address and to our surprise the location did not exist. We decided to open the envelope to see if it had any information that would guide us to the recipient. When we opened it we found money and a note for ourselves that said more or less this: “This money is in case you need it. Use it with complete confidence because I know that Pablo will be able to enter a large company where his artistic talent is valued.” Not only were we impressed by this generous gift, we felt much gratitude for the sincere attitude expressed by our friend Cuatacho, the pseudonym of Guillermo Cortez in his newspaper articles. With the influence of my fierce wife and the support of “Cuatacho”, I arrived at Warren Publishing Corp. Company executive, Jim Warren, interviewed me and when he saw my drawings said: “go to the next office and show your work to Billy Graham.” Billy saw my drawings and said: “Welcome Pablo.” He gave me a publication titled: The Water World, a short story by writer Buddy Sounders that ran in Creepy #39 in May 1971. I also worked on Eerie, Vampirella, and other titles for Warren. I am eternally grateful to every person and company that gave me the opportunity to become the comic book artist many of you know today.

 

I eventually worked exclusively for Skywald Publications’ Nightmare and Psycho from May 1972 to May 1973. Here, I met a great Canadian scriptwriter by the name of Allan Hewetson, who dedicated himself to expanding my limited knowledge of English and so, we became good friends. Allan and my compatriot, Boris Vallejo, became the basis of my inclusion into the world of American comics. When editor, Sol Brodsky, left Skywald to return to Marvel, he brought me along as an assistant and artist. We began drawing covers for Marvel UK titles featuring well known characters such as Captain Britain and titles like Planet of the Apes, Dracula, Monsters Unleashed, Tales of the Zombie, Vampire Tales among others. My first color cover was for Savage Tales #3. It was an oil painting that to this day I hope Marvel returns to me. I felt very flattered when publisher Martin Goodman’s of Atlas/Seaboard Comics, commissioned me to illustrate the sword-and-sorcery title Iron Jaw #3. I worked on the following issues: Barbarians #1, the cover of The Brute #3, and a few others which escape me.

My work gained notoriety and soon I was commissioned by DC Comics, drawing Man-Bat stories on Detective Comics, and working on one or two issues of several series, including Freedom Fighters, Kamandi, Kobra, Secret Society of Super-Villains, and Teen Titans before returning to Marvel. At Marvel, I worked on The Avengers, The Mighty Thor, and other known classics. Additionally, in 1980, I worked with an Italian comic-book series, Tremila Dollari, per Ebenezer Cross’ Western Story, for Lanciostory, Italy and Dragon for Mexican publisher Ejea. Also, at that time, I was inking and penciling for John Buscema on the Conan the Barbarian comic books and the black-and-white magazine The Savage Sword of Conan.

In September 1985, a chapter of grief befell my family. I reduced my workload in order to tend to my severely ill wife, Norma, a patient at New York University Medical Center, who died on November 6, 1985 at age forty-two. Unable to concentrate on penciling, I solely inked for some time afterward.

Two years later, I met the Colombian artist Myriam Giraldo Gomez who studied art at the University of Mexico( UNAM). She had made a trip out to New York with artist and friend Kukuli Velarde with the specific interest of exploring the vast array of museums there. We were mutual friends to Velarde’s parents who hailed from Peru and so Myriam and Kukuli stayed with me while visiting. Over time a great affinity between Myriam and I was born, we fell in love. Everything went so well that she returned to Mexico to present her thesis, finished her degree, and returned to the United States. We dated for a year before getting married on December 10th, 1988 in New Jersey. Soon after, we became grandparents. My seven grandchildren began their journey in this world between 1989 and 2000. I love you deeply America, Nicholas, Linda, Anthony, Michael, Christopher and Paul.

In the late 80s and early 90s, I penciled and inked a long run of DC’s TV tie-in series Star Trek: The Next Generation, including the miniseries Star Trek: The Modala Imperative. I spent the following decade illustrating many books for Waldman Publishing Corp: Great Illustrated Classics, a series of young-adult adaptations of novels such as Gulliver’s Travels, The Invisible Man, Jane Eyre, The Jungle Book, King Solomon’s Mines, A Little Princess, Dracula, Frankenstein, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Moby Dick, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, The Last of the Mohicans and The Three Musketeers, The Call of the Wild — the list goes on. I also illustrated Baronet’s Heroes of America: Illustrated Lives series, including Clara Barton, American Red Cross, Daniel Boone, and Babe Ruth.

In 1999, I had the great pleasure of working for Soccer Jr. Magazine, to illustrate the life of the legendary Edson Arantes do Nascimento “Pele” on twenty-three manually colored pages. Soccer was the main sport I played as a child and it has always brought me excitement – which is why I found the most joy working on those illustrations. While working with Soccer Jr. Magazine, I collaborated with Sports Illustrated for Kids doing many biographies in their “Legends” section.

A year prior, I had begun drawing for Cross Generation Comics (1989-2003) in titles such as Crossgen Chronicles, Ruse, Crux, Mystic and many others. Additionally, Dynamite Entertainment had brought me on board for the series Red Sonja, Army of Darkness and Savage Tales at this time (1999-2002). During this time, I learned to adapt my process of illustration to the growing technology that was now being utilized in the industry.

I have had the privilege of sharing a life with two wonderfully supportive and strong women in distinct periods of my life. Like Norma, Myriam has always been a wonderful partner and wife. She encourages me, gives me composition and color recommendations and tends to everyday things so that I can stay focused on my work. For many years, Myriam and I worked and resided in Florida. In 2009, Myriam and I relocated in her native country, Colombia, where we have been living since.

In 2010, writer Martin Powell called me to propose a collaboration on the comic Spider for Moonstone. Unfortunately, it was only possible for me to collaborate on the first issue. Towards the end of 2011, I completed forty-eight handpainted pages on the book The King Solomon’s Mines written by Mark Ellis and published by Ying Ko Graphics. In 2012 and 2013, I did cover work and ten pages of Thorgil Bloodaxe for the publication The Vultures of Khurasan, created and written by Ralph E. Laitres. I returned to work with Dynamite Entertainment in 2014, illustrating the cover and ten interior pages of Red Sonja #100 with Roy Thomas script.

Between 2013 and 2020 I did the following work with Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc: Tarzan of the Apes with scripts by Roy Thomas and color by Oscar Gonzalez. The Land that Time Forgot with scripts by Martin Powell and Oscar Gonzalez’s color work. Finally, I also worked on twelve pages colored by Diego Rondon, for the book Jungle Tales of Tarzan. In 2020, I signed a contract to illustrate The Changing Times for the University of Nebraska in the United States. The Changing Times is an educational graphic novel dedicated to the science of GMO farming.

In March of that same year, during the first pandemic in decades, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I have to thank my dear Myriam for all the support she gave me to overcome cancer during this time. Without her, I do not think that I would have been able to continue with my life’s work and maintain the positive attitude that I have today and have maintained throughout the treatment.

Trading cards are also another of my favorite jobs. I have participated in many projects since 2004. That I can remember:

 2004- Rittenhouse Archives- Trading Cards
2007- Red Sonja Limited Edition Hand Drawn Sketch Cards
2008- 35 Years of Red Sonja- Limited Edition- Autograph Card signed
2008- Project Superpowers –Year one Trading Card Series-Dynamic Force
2010- The Best of Dynamic- Sketch Art Cards
2013- Women of Marvel- Sketch FEX- Sketch Cards
2013- Marvel Greatest Battles- Sketch Cards
2014- Marvel Masterpieces Cards- The Upper Deck Company
2015- Marvel Fleer Retro Trading Cards
2015- Marvel Avengers Age of Ultron
2018- Kiss Trading Cards
2019- Vampirella 50th Anniversary Trading Cards
2021- Marvel Premier – Sketch Cards

I also Illustrated 136 Red Sonja’s Blank Covers. Special project of Dynamite Entertainment.

Own Creations

I would like to share with you that all of my career I have had so many ideas to create my own books, series, stories etc. I have several scripts, sketches, penciled pages and inked pages. The following are only a few of them.

  • In 2011, I created a book of my own interpretation of MACHU PICCHU, The Eternal Energy, twenty-two pages of manual full color plus the cover. (unpublished)

  • SUKO, a Japanese warrior of the present, past and future, a master of the famous Samurai school.

  • RAMSES, adopted son of Cleopatra who arrives at our present-day to fight against the hordes of international terrorism. Created in the early 1980s and presented several times to different publishers. (unpublished)

  • THE CHAIN OF TERROR is a series that occurred to me in the mid-1980s due to so much terrorism in the world. I have more than 20 chapters of 48 pages each drawn by Carmine Infantino, Rudy Nebres and Ricardo Villagran. (unpublished)

  • TUPAK, the son of the sun. Character of the Inca mythology that I bring to the present.

  • THE IMMIGRANT was created by me in 1982. The adventures of Benito Puma, an immigrant who becomes an immigration lawyer in the United States. It follows his fight to dignify illegal migrants and defend them from the terrible “coyotes” and the many abuses suffered by those who come to this country in search of the “American Dream”.

  • OM, worked on 14-pages of this story, which was scripted by Ron Fortier, published on Frank Frazetta Fantasy Illustrated #7 (July 1999).

  • NORKA, summer 2001 published 12 inked pages of my own character in Heavy Metal Magazine.

  • K-CHON-DA, Ka-Chon-Da is the leader of a group of intergalactic warrior women who come to Earth in search of a “macho” for their dissatisfied Queen. With the scripts of the Argentine Hector Vellagamba, we made 10 chapters (100 pages) with humorous-picturesque adventures for the Mexican market. In February 1995 they began to be published in the weekly magazine El Mil Chistes (Thousand Jokes) until completing 100 pages full of humor.

For at least one year, my wife and I, did a weekly page with the 12 zodiac signs of “Horroroscope” A fun Twist to the Zodiac Horoscope, taking of an innocent and common reading and get illustrated it with slapstick style humor showing the opposite meaning. This was published in different latin newspapers in their entertainment section. Distributed by the Syndicate Antarctic Press in the late 90’s.

Acknowledgments:

  • In December 2005 in Lima, Peru I received a tribute for my Life Dedicated to Comics from my Colleagues, Friends and Admirers, organized by Javier Prado and the page La Nuez.blogspot.

  • In June 2014, I received an award from ECOF, Fargo, North Dakota USA for my work on Tarzan of the Apes, Land that Time Forgot and The Capture of Tarzan. The gathering was also combined with the Fargo Comic Con.

  • -I am grateful again to the Catholic University of Lima, which on September 12, 2009, on the day of the Peruvian Cartoon, gave me the honor of the Serrucho and Volatin award in recognition of my career and contributions to national and international comics.

  • I have recently been honored with my introduction to The Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award 2021 for my over 50 years inking career of outstanding accomplishment in American Comic Books.

Gratefulness!

I couldn’t finish without giving my fans enormous recognition. Fortunately and thanks to all the commissions that have been entrusted to me for so many years, I have been able to have fun illustrating the public’s whims. I am willing to continue pleasing you with my ability to interpret your personal creations however crazy, intricate, feisty or serene they may seem.

Thanks to all of you, these times of the pandemic have not been difficult for my dear Myriam and I. We are all the time busy and enjoying a happy retirement.

PabloMarcos.com

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