Born in Guatamala, Michael William Kaluta (Kaluta is not a Hispanic name, it's Russian) was raised in Virginia. He studied at the Richmond Professional Institute, later renamed Virginia Commonwealth University, also the Alma Mater of Charles Vess. His career began in 1969 when he moved to New York City, met Al Williamson and worked on a project with him for DC Comics.
He shared his apartment with Bernie Wrightson and Alan Weiss and worked on many DC projects at this time, among which were BATMAN, DETECTIVE COMICS, MADAME XANADU and HOUSE OF SECRETS. It was also during this period that he was producing THE SHADOW.
In 1975, in the Soho district of Manhattan, "The Studio" was formed, comprised of Kaluta, Wrightson, Barry Windor-Smith and Jeffrey Jones. There was a book called THE STUDIO (long out-of-print by now) published by Dragon's Dream that showcased the endeavors of this group.
An interesting collaboration occurred in 1980 when Kaluta and Elaine Lee worked on an off-Broadway play called STARSTRUCK. Mike designed the costumes and sets as well as the show's poster. When the play closed, Elaine and Mike did a comic book based on it for Epic Comics. In August 2009, STARSTRUCK was published again, this time by IDW. This latest printing has perhaps one of the greatest comic book covers ever!
Over the years, he has created a massive amount of comic book covers and calendars featuring characters from projects as grand as THE LORD OF THE RINGS to as humble as SIR APROPOS OF NOTHING. Kaluta’s work is also known among Glenn Danzig’s fans. Mike did the cover for Danzig’s album, BLACK ARIA and the interiors for Glenn’s fourth album, which appeared as a pendant, T-shirts and sweaters sold at concerts from 1994 to 1995. Additionally, he did artwork for role-playing game companies such as White Wolf and Wizards of the Coast. Mike’s work has won him much recognition, from the Shazam Award for Outstanding New Talent in 1971 to the 2003 Spectrum Grandmaster Award. Starting in May 2009, he went back to illustrating both the covers and the interiors for the current run of MADAME XANADU.
Kaluta draws his influences and style from pulp illustrations of the 1930’s. One of his signature motifs is elaborate panel designs. He has seldom worked with the superhero genre. Besides being a phenomenal artist, Mike also happens to be a kind soul and a really fun guy.