Happy Birthday: Charles Vess
Born in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1951, Charles Dana Vess fell in love with comic books and art while still a child—he drew his first full-length comic when he was ten years old.
He attended Virginia Commonwealth University and graduated with a BFA in 1974, then went to work as a commercial animator for Candy Apple Productions in Richmond. In 1976, Vess moved to New York City to try his hand as a freelance illustrator. In 1980, he joined Parsons School of Design as an art instructor.
He was getting regular comic book work, and drew books for Dark Horse, Marvel, Epic, and DC, but it was in 1989 that Vess became truly well-known in the field. He collaborated with Neil Gaiman on one of the issues of the original Books of Magic mini-series and also drew three issues of Gaiman’s Sandman series for Vertigo. One of those issues, #19 (“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”) won the World Fantasy Award for Best Short Story.
In 1994, Vess moved back to Virginia and organized The Dreamweavers, a traveling exhibition of 15 fantasy artists. Since then he has had many other showings and worked on many other comic books.
Another Vess-Gaiman collaboration, Stardust, won an Alex Award from the American Library Association, a Mythopoeic Award, and a World Fantasy Award for Best Artist. Vess has won a Will Eisner Comics Industry Award three times. He has also won a Comic Creators’ Guild award, a Silver Award, and an Ink Pot. He has won numerous children’s book awards as well, primarily for his collaborations with Charles de Lint.