Steve Lieber is an American comic book illustrator known for his work on books such as Detective Comics and Hawkman, and the critically acclaimed miniseries Whiteout, which was adapted into a 2009 feature film starring Kate Beckinsale. His other works include the Eisner Award-winning sequel Whiteout: Melt, and the thrillers Shooters and Underground. With writer Nat Gertler, he co-authored The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Creating a Graphic Novel.
Lieber has described his career as being about “telling your own unified stories with finality.”
Lieber grew up in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh in the state of Pennsylvania. He graduated in 1985 from Allderdice High School, studied at Pennsylvania State University but left there before graduating to finish his artistic education at The Kubert School for cartoonists in New Jersey. He studied with Joe Kubert, whom he cites as a significant influence on his career and artistic sensibilities, and graduated in 1990.
Lieber also cites comic artists David Mazzucchelli, Alberto and Enrique Breccia, Milton Caniff, Alex Toth, Howard Chaykin, Alex Raymond, and Jaime Hernandez as major influences. Outside of comics, he cites other painters and illustrators as having influenced his artistic style: Hieronymus Bosch, Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, Joseph Clement Coll, Norman Rockwell, Edgar Degas, Edward Hopper, The Ashcan School painters, Andrew Loomis, Robert Fawcett, and Charles Dana Gibson.
In 1993 Lieber drew Hawkman Annual #1. He subsequently drew 20 issues of the monthly Hawkman series from 1994 to 1995, beginning with issue #5 and ending with issue #27, and at one point, releasing a #0 (which happened between #13 and #14) as a stunt.
Lieber’s Hawkman artwork brought him to the attention of Hollywood, where he began doing sketches for the show Batman. He said:
A big company that owns the characters offers a lot of visibility and the ability to play with extremely well-known icons … Working for a big company, you have to be able to leave the character and ideas behind [after departing the project] in exactly the same place as when you came in. — Steve Lieber, 2001
In 1998 Lieber illustrated the four-issue miniseries Whiteout with writer Greg Rucka for Oni Press. The critically acclaimed series, which was described as a “blood-in-the-snow serial killer story”, was collected into a trade paperback, and adapted into a 2009 feature film starring Kate Beckinsale and Tom Skerritt.
Lieber attributes his success to persistence, and described himself coming out of school as “averagely skilled”, but that he “stayed working in comics longer than some of my contemporaries because I didn’t want to do anything else.” In addition, Lieber exchanged information and tips from comics creators such as Dwayne McDuffie. Lieber’s graphic novel Underground, a story about a park ranger trapped in a cavern, was described as a “spelunking thriller” by Time magazine.
Lieber has been a guest at comic book conventions such as the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con International.
In February 2008, Lieber drew a series of illustrations in which characters from the TV show The Wire were rendered in the style of the TV show The Simpsons, one of which was named by Alan Sepinwall of The Star-Ledger and NJ.com as the “coolest link of the day”.
Beginning in September 2009 Lieber illustrated the five-issue miniseries Underground with writer Jeff Parker for Image Comics. The series, about a spelunking park ranger trapped in a cave, was later collected into trade paperback from in early May 2010.
In April 2012 DC/Vertigo published writers Brandon Jerwa and Eric Stephen Trautmann’s military thriller graphic novel, Shooters, which was illustrated by Lieber.
In July 2013 Lieber began drawing Superior Foes of Spider-Man for Marvel Comics. The series follows a team of hapless, lesser-known villains from the Spider-Man universe. Lieber has received extensive praise for his work on the series, including a nod on Comics Alliance’s “Best of 2013” list. Comics Alliance reviewer Dylan Todd says “Lieber’s at the top of his game here, with a mixture of traditional cape comics styling and a more humane point-of-view that reminds you that these are really just people in suits doing dumb, dangerous things and that they can get hurt at any moment.” This will be Steve Lieber’s debut appearance at Tampa Bay Comic Convention!