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Klaus Janson is a German-born American comics artist, working regularly for Marvel Comics and DC Comics and sporadically for independent companies. While he is best known as an inker, Janson has frequently worked as a penciler and colorist.
After a short stint as assistant to Dick Giordano in the early 1970s, Janson’s first credited comics artwork was published by Marvel Comics in Jungle Action #6 (Sept. 1973). Janson came to prominence as the inker over Sal Buscema’s pencils on The Defenders. Since then he has freelanced on most of the major titles at Marvel and DC. In 1975 he began a long run as inker on Daredevil, running from #124 (Aug. 1975) to #196 (July 1983). With #171 the series went from bi-monthly to monthly; unable to handle the increased workload, then-writer/penciler Frank Miller began increasingly relying on Janson for the artwork, sending him looser and looser pencils beginning with #173. By issue #185, Miller had virtually relinquished his role as Daredevil’s artist and was providing only rough layouts for Janson to pencil, ink, and color. After Miller’s departure, Janson drew the series by himself for four issues.
Janson began working for DC Comics in the early 1980s and inked Gene Colan’s pencils on Detective Comics and Jemm, Son of Saturn. Janson was one of the artists on Superman #400 (Oct. 1984) and was one of the contributors to the DC Challenge limited series. His collaboration with Miller on Daredevil would soon be eclipsed by a second collaboration between them, on Batman: The Dark Knight Returns in 1986. Janson has frequently penciled and inked for various Batman titles, including the first Detective Comics Annual with writer Dennis O’Neil, “Gothic” with Grant Morrison, and “Knightfall” with Doug Moench. In 1994, Janson drew the Batman-Spawn: War Devil intercompany crossover which was written by Moench, Chuck Dixon, and Alan Grant. Janson wrote a short story in the anthology miniseries Batman: Black and White #3 (August 1996). Janson drew part of the “Cataclysm” crossover as well.
Janson and writer Mike Baron introduced the character Microchip as an ally of the Punisher in The Punisher #4 (November 1987). In 1993, Janson drew a three-part story featuring Electro for Spider-Man #38–40. Janson inked the early issues of The Sensational Spider-Man which had been written and penciled by Dan Jurgens. Janson’s work as an inker and occasional penciler at Marvel Comics includes collaborations with John Romita Jr. on Wolverine, The Amazing Spider-Man and Black Panther. His other work includes Batman: Death and the Maidens, World War Hulk, Battlestar Galactica, Logan’s Run, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. In 2010, he inked Romita Jr.’s pencils on The Avengers and in 2014 the two artists collaborated on Superman. Janson was one of the artists on The Dark Knight III: The Master Race which was co-written by Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello.
Janson has taught sequential storytelling at the School of Visual Arts in New York City since the 1990s and has written both The DC Comics Guide to Pencilling Comics and The DC Comics Guide to Inking Comics. Janson also holds annual seminars at Marvel for the editorial staff and their up-and-coming artists and teaches short courses on comics storytelling for the New York-based Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art.
In 2015, Janson was the Guest of Honor at the 2015 Inkwell Awards Awards Ceremony at HeroesCon.