One of the most prolific comic book artists of the 1980s
Michael J. Zeck is a renowned comic book illustrator and storyteller, most known for being the creator of the black Spider-Man costume. His work has also graced the pages and covers of "Aquaman," "Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight," "Green Lantern," "G.I. Joe," "G.I. Joe: Special Missions," "Lobo," "Deathstroke The Terminator," "The Eliminator" and many more.
A heavy-hitter in the comics industry and influential to many generations of artists, one would have to argue which of Zeck’s series has been the most significant, or which is embossed most deeply in our pop culture:
Zeck's epic six part story "Kraven's Last Hunt," with J.M. Dematteis and Bob McLeod, springs immediately to mind. This groundbreaking series took the Spider-Man character to a whole new level, and has been touted by readers as the "Greatest Spider-Man story of all time" in recent polls.
Considered one of the Punisher artists, Zeck's work with writer Steven Grant on the character -- collected as "Circle of Blood" -- sets the standard for the look and feel of the Punisher and propelled him to flagship character status at Marvel. In fact, along with airbrush artist Phil Zimmelman, Zeck has created some of the most recognizable painted images of the Punisher ever made.
The Limited Series "Secret Wars" set the comic book readership on their ears, and brought a new black-and-white costume design for Spider-Man (designed by Zeck) that is still recognizable and indelible to this day. Spider-Man wore the costume temporarily, and it still lives on in the form of the super-villain, Venom.
Born in Pennsylvania and growing up in South Florida, Zeck attended the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida, where his focus was always on working in the sequential art field. He began that career at Charlton Comics with their animation-related line of comics leading to horror titles, later moving on to Marvel Comics. Some of his first work at Marvel included "Master of Kung Fu" and "Captain America," with many more titles at numerous companies to follow.