Throughout his extensive career, fantasy and science fiction artist Dave Dorman is best known for his painted comic book covers, work in roleplaying game books and most notably his Star Wars artwork. As the talented creator prepares to join Baltimore Comic-Con 2018, there is no better time to trace his comic career.
The Michigan native spent much of his childhood creating historically accurate models with his father, Jack Dorman. Together, the pair won numerous awards for their model building projects. Dorman went on to briefly attend St. Mary’s College in Maryland, but left when the graphic arts program did not have an illustration component. He later transferred to The Kubert School in New Jersey, but again left because the curriculum only taught black and white illustration. Ultimately, Dorman considers himself a self-taught artist.
Dorman officially began his career in 1979 working for such companies as Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse. He gained even more acclaim when his artwork appeared on the cover of Heavy Metal magazine in 1983. This led Hasbro to commission Dorman to paint over 100 pieces of realistic artwork for its 3-inch series of G.I. Joe action figures. This was followed by a commission to do the artwork for a series of 90 trading cards for the Ultraverse comic book setting and additional artwork for Hasbro’s 12-inch G.I. Joe collector series.
The artist went on to produce pieces based on such characters as Indiana Jones, Batman, and Superman, but became best revered for his Star Wars artwork. During the 1990s, Random House released The Star Wars Art of Dave Dorman and Dorman was named “Best Star Wars Artist” by The Official Best of Star Wars Magazine. Around the same time, Dorman produced all the art for some of West End Games’ Star Wars roleplaying game supplements. Star Wars creator George Lucas himself is a fan of Dorman’s work and has purchased dozens of Dorman’s original oil paintings. For many years, Dorman held a license with Lucasfilm to produce limited edition prints.
Outside of Star Wars, Dorman produced cover art for Dungeons & Dragons books, as well as artwork for the games Shadowrun, Torg, Champions, Mayfair Games’ “Role Aids”, Rifts, and Blood of Heroes. He also drew some illustrations for the Micronauts toy line, created The Wasted Land and won an Eisner Award for his work on Alien: Tribes. Dorman also publishes art books and limited edition litho prints through his company, Rolling Thunder. More recently, IDW released the career retrospective Rolling Thunder: The Art of Dave Dorman, for which he won the prestigious Inkpot Award.
Currently, Dorman produces the pop culture podcast Wednesday is Comic Book Day with his wife, Denise Dorman – the award-winning TV producer, writer, and publicist of WriteBrain Media. This podcast features a mash-up of comic book industry news, pop culture news and interviews. The podcast is a free download on iTunes.