Dean Motter

Last updated
Dean Motter
Nationality Canada/American
Area(s)Writer, Penciller, Inker, Editor, Letterer, Colorist
Notable works
Mister X , Terminal City , The Prisoner: Shattered Visage
Awards1983 Juno Award / Album Graphics: Anvil: Metal on Metal

1984 Juno Award / Album Graphics: The Nylons: Seamless


1985 Casby Award / Album Cover: Jane Siberry: No Borders Here

1985 Toronto Art Directors Club, Best of the 80's / Album Cover: Honeymoon Suite

Dean Motter is an illustrator, designer and writer who worked for many years in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, New York City, and Atlanta. Motter is best known for his album cover designs, two of which won Juno Awards. He is also the creator and designer of Mister X, one of the most influential "new-wave" comics of the 1980s. [1]

Toronto Provincial capital city in Ontario, Canada

Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the most populous city in Canada, with a population of 2,731,571 in 2016. Current to 2016, the Toronto census metropolitan area (CMA), of which the majority is within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), held a population of 5,928,040, making it Canada's most populous CMA. Toronto is the anchor of an urban agglomeration, known as the Golden Horseshoe in Southern Ontario, located on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A global city, Toronto is a centre of business, finance, arts, and culture, and is recognized as one of the most multicultural and cosmopolitan cities in the world.

Ontario Province of Canada

Ontario is one of the 13 provinces and territories of Canada and is located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province accounting for 38.3 percent of the country's population, and is the second-largest province in total area. Ontario is fourth-largest jurisdiction in total area when the territories of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are included. It is home to the nation's capital city, Ottawa, and the nation's most populous city, Toronto, which is also Ontario's provincial capital.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States and thus also in the state of New York. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

Early career

Dean Motter showed interest in drawing from an early age, and his parents, both artists themselves, encouraged his endeavors. [2] He initially attended college for fine arts, but lost interest and segued into music. [2] In the late 1970s, Motter edited and art directed Andromeda, a Canadian comic book series which adapted the works of major science–fiction authors such as Arthur C. Clarke and A. E. van Vogt. During that time Motter and collaborator Ken Steacy created The Sacred & The Profane (published in Star Reach ), which Archie Goodwin referred to as "the first true graphic novel" in the contemporary comics medium. [3] He also collaborated on the design for Marshall McLuhan's posthumous book Laws of Media and illustrated several educational children's books. [2]

Fine art art developed primarily for aesthetics

In European academic traditions, fine art is art developed primarily for aesthetics or beauty, distinguishing it from applied art, which also has to serve some practical function, such as pottery or most metalwork.

Arthur C. Clarke British science fiction writer, science writer, inventor, undersea explorer, and television series host

Sir Arthur Charles Clarke was a British science fiction writer, science writer and futurist, inventor, undersea explorer, and television series host.

A. E. van Vogt Canadian writer

Alfred Elton van Vogt was a Canadian-born science fiction author. His narrative style was compelling and stimulating, and in this way, influenced later science fiction writers, notably Philip K. Dick. He is regarded as one of the most popular, influential and complex practitioners of the mid-twentieth century, the genre's so-called Golden Age.

Motter achieved recognition for his album cover design during his tenure as art director for CBS Records Canada, and later with his own studios, Diagram Studios and (following the closure of Diagram) Modern Imageworks. [2] His record jackets and promotional graphics (for acts such as The Nylons, Triumph, Loverboy, The Diodes, Liona Boyd, The Irish Rovers [4] and Jane Siberry) have won several awards. Motter has been nominated for a Juno Award six times, and won twice. He won a Juno Award in 1983 for "Best Album Graphics" for his work on the Anvil album Metal on Metal . The following year, he again won the "Best Album Graphics" award for his work on the Seamless album by The Nylons, along with Jeff Jackson and Deborah Samuel.

The Nylons are an a cappella group founded in 1978 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, best known for their covers of pop songs such as The Turtles' "Happy Together", Steam's "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye", and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight".

Triumph (band) Canadian hard rock power trio

Triumph is a Canadian hard rock band formed in 1975 that was popular in the late 1970s and the 1980s, building on its reputation and success as a live band. Between the band's 16 albums and DVDs, Triumph has received 18 gold and 9 platinum awards in Canada and the United States. Triumph was nominated for multiple Juno Awards, including Group of the Year Award in 1979, 1985, 1986, and 1987.

The Diodes Canadian punk rock band

The Diodes are a Canadian punk rock band formed in 1976 in Toronto. They released five albums: Diodes (1977), Released (1979), Action-Reaction (1980), Survivors (1982), and Time/Damage Live 1978 (2010). They were one of the first Canadian bands to embrace this style of music and helped to foster the original core Punk scene in Toronto.

In 1988, he co-wrote and illustrated Shattered Visage for DC Comics based on Patrick McGoohan's 1960s British television series The Prisoner . The following year he created the logo and basic cover design for DC's Piranha Press imprint.

DC Comics U.S. comic book publisher

DC Comics, Inc. is an American comic book publisher. It is the publishing unit of DC Entertainment, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. since 1967. DC Comics is one of the largest and oldest American comic book companies, and produces material featuring numerous culturally iconic heroic characters including: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Nightwing, Green Arrow, Aquaman, Hawkman, Cyborg and Supergirl.

<i>The Prisoner</i> British television series

The Prisoner is a 1967 British science fiction-allegorical television series about an unidentified British intelligence agent who is abducted and imprisoned in a mysterious coastal village, where his captors try to find out why he abruptly resigned from his job. It was created by Patrick McGoohan and George Markstein with McGoohan playing the main role of Number Six. Episodes covered various plots from spy fiction with elements of science fiction, allegory and psychological drama. It was produced by Everyman Films for distribution by Lew Grade's ITC Entertainment company.

Piranha Press

Piranha Press, an imprint of DC Comics from 1989 to 1994, was a response by DC to the growing interest in alternative comics. The imprint was edited by Mark Nevelow, who instead of developing comics with the established names in the alternative comics field, chose to introduce several unknown illustrators with an eclectic and diverse line of experimental graphic novels and stories. Unusual for the time, Nevelow succeeded in getting DC to agree to contracts giving creator ownership to writers and artists.

Later years

Menlo Park & Anesta Robbins from Electropolis Electropolis graphic novel cover art.jpg
Menlo Park & Anesta Robbins from Electropolis

Dean relocated in New York City in 1990 where he served as art director and senior designer for Byron Preiss Visual Publications (for whom he also edited a line of Philip Marlowe graphic novels.) In 1993, he joined the staff at DC Comics where he oversaw the corporate and licensing designs for many of their characters. He returned to the freelance community in 1997, retaining his previous employers among his most active clients.

Philip Marlowe fictional character created by Raymond Chandler

Philip Marlowe is a fictional character created by Raymond Chandler. Marlowe first appeared under that name in The Big Sleep, published in 1939. Chandler's early short stories, published in pulp magazines like Black Mask and Dime Detective, featured similar characters with names like "Carmady" and "John Dalmas".

Motter’s acclaimed Vertigo mini-series Terminal City and its sequel Terminal City: Aerial Graffiti (both illustrated by Michael Lark) were nominated for a number of Eisner and Harvey Awards during their 1996–1998 run.

Terminal City comic book limited series

Terminal City is the name for two comic book limited series published by DC Comics under their Vertigo imprint in 1996 and 1997, with, respectively nine and five issues. Dean Motter was the writer and Michael Lark was the artist for the series.

Michael Lark artist

Michael Lark is an American comics artist.

The Harvey Awards are given for achievement in comic books. Named for writer-artist Harvey Kurtzman, the Harvey Awards were founded by Gary Groth in 1988, president of the publisher Fantagraphics, to be the successor to the Kirby Awards that were discontinued in 1987.

His artwork has been featured in many comic book publications, notably the Classics Illustrated adaptation of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Batman: Black & White, Grendel: Red, White and Black , John Constantine: Hellblazer and 9-11: Artists Respond as well as the Superman's First Flight children's book for Scholastic. He has written stories for Superman Adventures, Star Wars Tales, Will Eisner's The Spirit, and Wolverine.

In 2001 Dean re-united with Michael Lark to create the award-winning Batman: Nine Lives graphic novel for DC Comics. During that time he also wrote and illustrated Electropolis for Image Comics. [5]

Motter has compiled and designed the retrospectives, Echoes: The Drawings of Michael Wm. Kaluta and The Thrilling Comic Book Cover Art of Alex Schomberg for Vanguard Productions, as well as Mister X: The Archives (including Motter’s reminiscences and newly illustrated finale) and Mister X: The Modern Age (collecting Motter's post-millennial Radiant City stories) for Dark Horse Books. He continues to write and illustrate Mister X comics for Dark Horse Comics as well as documentary comic book works for the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, the Karski Institute for Holocaust Education and the Spyscape museum in NYC.

Personal life

Born in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, Dean Motter was raised in a family of devout Protestants. Though an agnostic himself, he regards religion as a positive institution, commenting that "it has value and it has enriched people's lives." [2] He studied under Tom Lodge, Eric McLuhan and artist Michael Hayden in his college years. He has been married three times, including to author Judith Dupré and the late Heather Brown. Having lived in Toronto and Manhattan, he currently makes his home outside of Atlanta, Georgia.


  1. Mister X Archived 2005-10-28 at the Wayback Machine
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Herzog, Marty (October 1986). "Dean Motter". Comics Interview (39). Fictioneer Books. pp. 60–77.
  3. Introduction to The Scared & The Profane collected edition. Eclipse Books 1986
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-09-02. Retrieved 2014-06-10.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

Related Research Articles

Will Eisner American cartoonist

William Erwin Eisner was an American cartoonist, writer, and entrepreneur. He was one of the earliest cartoonists to work in the American comic book industry, and his series The Spirit (1940–1952) was noted for its experiments in content and form. In 1978, he popularized the term "graphic novel" with the publication of his book A Contract with God. He was an early contributor to formal comics studies with his book Comics and Sequential Art (1985). The Eisner Award was named in his honor, and is given to recognize achievements each year in the comics medium; he was one of the three inaugural inductees to the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame.

Graphic novel book with primarily comics contents

A graphic novel is a book made up of comics content. Although the word "novel" normally refers to long fictional works, the term "graphic novel" is applied broadly and includes fiction, non-fiction, and anthologized work. It is distinguished from the term "comic book", which is generally used for comics periodicals.

Colleen Doran American writer/artist, film conceptual artist, and cartoonist

Colleen Doran is an American writer-artist and cartoonist. She illustrated hundreds of comics, graphic novels, books and magazines, including the autobiographical graphic novel of Marvel Comics editor and writer Stan Lee entitled Amazing Fantastic Incredible Stan Lee, which became a New York Times bestseller. She adapted and did the art for the short story "Troll Bridge" by Neil Gaiman, which also became a "New York Times" bestseller. Her books have received Eisner, Harvey, and International Horror Guild Awards.

Scott McCloud American cartoonist

Scott McCloud is an American cartoonist and comics theorist. He is best known for his non-fiction books about comics: Understanding Comics (1993), Reinventing Comics (2000), and Making Comics (2006), all of which also use the medium of comics.

<i>Understanding Comics</i> comic book album

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art is a 1993 non-fiction work of comics by American cartoonist Scott McCloud. It explores formal aspects of comics, the historical development of the medium, its fundamental vocabulary, and various ways in which these elements have been used. It expounds theoretical ideas about comics as an art form and medium of communication, and is itself written in comic book form.

<i>A Small Killing</i> 1991 graphic novel

A Small Killing is a graphic novel by Alan Moore, published in 1991. It was illustrated by Oscar Zárate. The book has been published by a number of companies and in 2003 it was reprinted by Avatar Press.

Evan Dorkin Comic creator

Evan Dorkin is an American comics artist and cartoonist. His best known works are the comic books Milk and Cheese and Dork. His comics often poke fun at fandom, even while making it clear that Dorkin is a fan himself.

Seth (cartoonist) Cartoonist

Seth is the pen name of Gregory Gallant, a Canadian cartoonist best known for his series Palookaville and his mock-autobiographical graphic novel It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken (1996).

Mike Allred American comic book artist and writer

Michael Dalton Allred is an American comic book artist and writer most famous for his independent comics creation, Madman. His style is often compared to pop art, as well as commercial and comic art of the 1950s and 1960s.

Marc Hempel cartoonist

Marc Hempel is an American cartoonist/comics artist best known for his work on The Sandman with Neil Gaiman.

<i>Mister X</i> (Vortex) series of comic books

Mister X was a series of comic books first published in 1983–1990 by Canadian company Vortex Comics. Created by album and book cover designer Dean Motter, it was developed for a year in close collaboration with comic artist and illustrator Paul Rivoche, whose series of poster illustrations stirred up great interest in the project. The series published early work by comic artists who would later emerge as important alternative cartoonists, including Jaime Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez, Mario Hernandez, Seth, Shane Oakley and D'Israeli.

Jill Thompson American comic book writer and illustrator

Jill Thompson is an American comic book writer and illustrator who has worked for stage, film, and television. Well known for her work on Neil Gaiman's The Sandman characters and her own Scary Godmother series, she has worked on The Invisibles, Swamp Thing, and Wonder Woman as well.

Gene Ha artist

Gene Ha is an American comics artist and writer best known for his work on books such as Top 10 and Top 10: The Forty-Niners, with Alan Moore and Zander Cannon, for America's Best Comics, the Batman graphic novel Fortunate Son, with Gerard Jones, and The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix, among others. He has also drawn Global Frequency and has drawn covers for Wizard and Marvel Comics.

Ken Steacy artist

Ken Steacy is a Canadian comics artist and writer best known for his work on the NOW Comics comic book series of Astro Boy and of the Comico comic series of Jonny Quest, as well as his graphic novel collaborations with Harlan Ellison and Dean Motter. Steacy was a member of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets 386 Comox Squadron.

Tom Scioli American comic artist

Thomas Scioli is an American comic book artist and writer best known for working in a style similar to Jack Kirby.

John K. Snyder III American comic book writer and illustrator

John K. Snyder III is a writer and illustrator of comic books and graphic novels. His work has been published in the pages of the underground press, and by independent comic book publishers, including Dark Horse Comics(Grendel). For DC Comics Snyder has worked on titles such as Suicide Squad, Doctor Mid-Nite, Green Lantern, and Mister E. Snyder's latest project is as adapter/artist of the graphic novel adaptation of Lawrence Block's classic detective noir novel, 8 Million Ways to Die.

Sonny Liew Malaysian comic artist

Sonny Liew is a Malaysia-born comic artist/illustrator based in Singapore. He is best known for his work "The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye", the first graphic novel to win the Singapore Literature Prize for fiction in 2016.

George Pratt is an American painter and illustrator known for his work in the comic book field.

J. David Spurlock US comic book publisher, writer, illustrator; art book publisher, writer, editor

Jess David Spurlock is an author, illustrator, editor, and artist's-rights advocate best known as the founder of Vanguard Productions, a publisher of art books, graphic novels, and prints.

Dean Mullaney publisher

Dean Mullaney is an American editor, publisher, and designer whose Eclipse Enterprises, founded in 1977, was one of the earliest independent comic-book companies. Eclipse would publish some of the first graphic novels and was one of the first comics publishers to champion creators' rights. In the 2000s, he established the imprint The Library of American Comics of IDW Publishing to publish hardcover collections of comic strips. Mullaney and his work have received seven Eisner Awards.