Classic cover artists: Kevin O'Neill
I’m reading Pat Mills’ pleasingly candid memoir Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave! at the moment. The book contains high praise for artist and designer Kevin O’Neill, with whom Pat has worked in partnership on a number of projects over the years – perhaps most famously as co-creators of 2000AD’s Nemesis the Warlock. Nemesis is one of the most powerful, dangerous, original series we have, and are ever likely to have, seen in comics history, and it’s testament to Kevin’s unique talent that Pat singles him out as one of the co-creators whose art inspired the direction of his scripting.
As art editor on 2000AD from 1978 through to the well-favoured early 1980s period, Kevin is a shoe-in for inclusion in this series of classic cover artists. He will have overseen the commissioning and layouts for so many of the brilliant covers from this time, and led from the front in setting the tone for the comic through many outstanding designs of his own. I’m not sure that anyone has ever captured the multi-faceted nature of ‘Thrill Power’ as well as Kevin O’Neill; that is: explosive, violent, dynamic, darkly humorous, horrific, rebellious, beautiful, original and preferably offensive to somebody somewhere.