Creator Profile: Ken Barr

Star-Lord, One Man Against A Galactic Empire!" - cover art for Marvel Preview #11 by Ken Barr, published in 1977

Star-Lord, One Man Against A Galactic Empire!” – cover art for Marvel Preview #11 by Ken Barr, published in 1977

Artist Ken Barr, born in Scotland in 1933, is perhaps best known to downthetubes readers for his Commando covers, and has been working continuously for many years in the British graphics art industry. His innovative style and fresh perspective make him one of the most beloved and collected comic artists.

After served with the Army in Egypt for his National Service he established himself as one of the top artists in the graphic art and comic industry. Since his first covers appeared on Nebula science fiction magazine in the 1950s, he’s produced a vast and wide range of subject matter for many of the top companies in many fields, including Star Wars and Star Trek covers, as well as creating film posters and book covers.

"Road to the Rim" art by Ken Barr

“Road to the Rim” art by Ken Barr

Ken Barr's Terminal Man film poster

Ken Barr’s Terminal Man film poster


Commando #1, published in June 1961. Art by Ken Barr

Commando Number 1, published in June 1961. Art by Ken Barr

Over the years Ken’s painted many images that have now become iconic cover artwork, delivered in a wide variety of styles ranging from many of the classic early war covers for Commando comics, including the first 14 issues (see checklist on BritishComics.20). He moved to the US in 1968, where he quickly carved a career as an artist with credits that include fantasy art covers for Warren publications such as Creepy and Vampirella, Doc Savage  and Planet of the Apes) and DC Comics (such as G.I. Combat).

The opening page from a Creepy story, "Life Boat" drawn by Ken Barr.

The opening page from a Creepy story, “Life Boat” drawn by Ken Barr.

He has also created a large amount of book covers for many of the leading book publishers such as Avon and Random House over his long career as a commercial artist.

A trading card set reprinting some of his best fantasy and horror artwork, The Beast Within, was issued in March 1994 and a book featuring a collection of his work, titled  The Beast Within: The Art of Ken BarrThe Beast Within: The Art of Ken Barr, was published in 2007.

This print by Ken Barr is available through his official web site

This print by Ken Barr is available through the web site

His official site, part of, offers publishers and individuals the opportunity to commission new work from Ken, and also when available the opportunity to purchase original artwork from the Ken Barr archives. is also co-publisher with Ken Barr for new and archive artwork publications in the UK and, where copyright allows they are also able to offer licensing opportunities using Ken Barr artwork.

The Dracula Society offers an exclusive postcard by Ken Barr (Ken is a life member of the Dracula Society)

Ken Barr: Commando Checklist

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.

Categories: British Comics, Comic Creator Spotlight, Creating Comics

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