Kieth first came to prominence in 1983 as the inker of Matt Wagner‘s Mage, his brushwork adding fluidity and texture to the broad strokes of Wagner’s early work at Comico Comics. In 1989, he drew the first five issues of writer Neil Gaiman‘s celebrated series The Sandman, but felt his style was unsuited to the book (specifically saying that he “felt like Jimi Hendrix in The Beatles“) and left, handing over to his former inker Mike Dringenberg.
He acted as illustrator on two volumes of writer William Messner-Loebs‘ Epicurus the Sage and drew an Aliens miniseries for Dark Horse Comics, among other things, before creating The Maxx in 1993 for Image Comics, with, initially, writing help from Messner-Loebs. It ran for 35 issues and was adapted, with Kieth’s assistance, into an animated series for MTV. Since then, as a writer-artist, he has gone on to create Friends of Maxx, Zero Girl, Four Women and Ojo.
Sam Kieth first dipped his toe in the Bat-water like so many before him, by providing cover art. In the early 90s, Kieth contributed images to the covers of both Batman and Detective Comics. Here’s a Detective Comics annual cover he drew, a tie-in for DC’s summer crossover event from 1992, Eclipso: The Darkness Within. Notice the curly q action that was a trademark of Keith’s early stuff.
Around 10 years later Sam Kieth finally committed some of his art to the interior of a Batman comic. Batman: Secrets was a 5-issue miniseries that featured Batman and The Joker, and was both written and drawn by Kieth.
As much as I like his work from the 80s and 90s, I feel like Sam Kieth has really come into his own this decade, as can be seen from the amazing Secrets art on display here.
Also in the 2000s, Kieth wrote and drew Scratch, a miniseries that starred a new (werewolf) character, and featured Batman extensively.
That mouth is tailor made not to eat that chin…
His latest Batwork is Batman/Lobo: Deadly Serious, a two-issue miniseries that someone must have proposed in 1992 but the proposal was found in a desk drawer in 2007. Or something. But knowing Kieth, it’s probably an entertaining read and features great art.