Michael William Kaluta, sometimes credited as Mike Kaluta or Michael Wm. Kaluta (born August 25, 1947), is an American comic book artist and writer best known for his acclaimed 1970s adaptation of the pulp magazine hero, The Shadow with writer Dennis O'Neil.
Kaluta's early work included a three-page adventure story, "The Battle of Shiraz", in Charlton Comics Flash Gordon #18 (Jan. 1970) and an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs's Venus novels for DC Comics. Kaluta's influences and style are drawn from pulp illustrations of the 1930s and the turn of the century poster work of Alphonse Mucha – his signature motif is elaborate decorative panel designs – rather than the comic books of the Silver Age. Kaluta has worked rarely with the superhero genre although one of his early contributions for DC was a "World of Krypton" backup story in Superman #240 (July 1971). His first cover for a comic book was House of Mystery #200 (March 1972). Associated during the 1970s with Bernie Wrightson and Jeffrey Jones, he contributed illustrations to Ted White's Fantastic and Amazing. He and writer Dennis O'Neil produced a comics adaptation of The Shadow for DC in 1973–1974. Comics historian Les Daniels noted that "Kaluta's style [on The Shadow] is an homage to Graves Gladney, master of the pulp magazine covers of the 1930s." Kaluta co-created Eve, a horror comics "host" character turned into a supporting character in The Sandman.
Kaluta was one of the four comic book artists/fine illustrator/painters (the others being Jeffrey Jones, Barry Windsor-Smith, and Bernie Wrightson) who formed the artists' commune The Studio in a loft in Manhattan's Chelsea district from 1975 to 1979. Aside from many comic books and covers Kaluta has done a wide variety of book illustrations.
Among music fans, Kaluta is known as the cover artist of Glenn Danzig's instrumental album Black Aria and for the interior illustration of Danzig's fourth album, the latter of which appeared in 1994 and 1995 as a pendant sold at Danzig concerts, and on Danzig T-shirts and sweaters produced in the same period. Kaluta created the CD covers and interior booklet illustrations for Nativity in Black I and II, tribute albums to the music of Black Sabbath. Kaluta drew the cover art for the Bobby Pickett album The Original Monster Mash when it was reissued in 1973.
His work has won him a good deal of recognition, including the Shazam Award for Outstanding New Talent in 1971, and the 2003 Spectrum Grandmaster Award.
In the early 1990s, he was active in Compuserve's Macintosh Gaming Forum, in the flight simulator enthusiast group which called itself VFA-13 Shadow Riders. He contributed a number of designs for airplane nose art and flight suit unit patches.
^Schweier, Philip (February 2013). "Superman Calls For Backup!". Back Issue! (TwoMorrows Publishing) (62): 39.
^Kingman, Jim (December 2013). "The Anniversary Issue". Back Issue! (TwoMorrows Publishing) (69): 15. 'I remember the job,' chimes in Kaluta 'The only memorable point for me: it was my first-ever comic book cover!'
^McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 157. ISBN978-0-7566-6742-9. Writer Denny O'Neil and artist Mike Kaluta presented their atmospheric interpretation of writer Walter B. Gibson's pulp-fiction mystery man of the 1930s
^Manning, Matthew K. "1980s" in Dolan, p. 194: "Not content to simply feature a wrap-around cover by artist Michael William Kaluta, the issue also gave readers a pull-out poster by that same artist."
^Catron, Michael (June 1981). "DC Taps Fan Market for Madame Xanadu". Amazing Heroes (1): 25. Madame Xanadu, a 32-page/$1.00 comic that marks DC's first attempt at marketing comics specifically to fans and collectors, went on sale in early April...The tale was originally commissioned for Doorway to Nightmare but was put into DC's inventory when that title was cancelled.
^Dueben, Alex (April 26, 2011). "Kaluta Remains Starstruck". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on November 23, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2013. He's an award-winning painter and illustrator who has contributed to role playing games, illustrated Danzig album covers and in 2003 was named a Spectrum Grand Master in recognition of his vast and influential body of work.