Double Impact - Raising Hell #1 (1997).

The Mexican Armando Huerta was considered one of the prime artists of contemporary American pin-up art. Nicknamed "the Dark Lord of Pin-Ups", he first came to notice as an artist for Ricky Carralero's High Impact comic book imprint, but was known later in life for his appearances on events and online sales of commission work.

Early life
Originally from Mexico City, Armando Huerta was born in 1969. As a child, he used to mold his favorite cartoon characters in plasticine. When it took him too long to recreate the characters from the 'Star Wars' movie, he started to draw. At age nine, he drew his first nude, copied from one of his uncle copies of Playboy magazine. With a degree in graphic design from Mexico City's Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, Huerta was self-taught with regard to the human figure. In 1993, he specialized in the airbrush technique, and his career as a pin-up artist took off, selling his first artwork to the Mexican edition of Playboy magazine. He ranked the erotic artists Hajime Sorayama, Alberto Vargas and Olivia De Berardinis as major inspirations.

Double Impact comic books
During the second half of the 1990s, he began to send work to Ricky Carralero and John Ulloa's High Impact imprint from Miami Beach, Florida. Still based in Mexico, Huerta contributed to High Impact's 'Double Impact' comic book series (1995-1999), about a deadly mercenary team composed by the sexy pin-ups Jazz and China. Hired to produce 18 pages of art and two covers each month, Armando Huerta worked on several 'Double Impact' related titles, including 'Double Impact Raising Hell' (1997), 'Double Impact Suicide Run' (1998), 'Double Impact Hot Shots' (1999) and 'Double Impact 2069' (1999), but most notably the hardcore manga style spin-off 'Double Impact Raw' (1997-1998). As a result, Huerta became well-known among fans of explicit "Bad Girl" comic book art, but had to quit because of payment issues with his publisher.

Huerta-Carralero controversy
The artist returned to graphic design - working for Coca Cola, among other clients - and picked up a new airbrush painting techique. Since Carralero had all the industry contacts in the North American market, Huerta decided to renew their association in late 1999, and began producing pin-up art to be sold at conventions and online. Still, payments were scarce. Over the years, Carralero has been accused of selling off Huerta's original artwork as his own, simply painting over the artist's signature. The artwork in Carralero's books 'The World of Art Fantastix' and 'The Art of Ricky Carralero' is also believed to be largely by Huerta. Carralero always insisted that he himself was the artist, and that Huerta was his "finisher". The affair was chronicled by Michael Dean in The Comics Journal #256 (October 2003), and has been the subject of heated online debate ever since.

Pin-up artist
By 2002, Huerta switched managers and moved to the United States. Since then, Huerta's pin-up art has appeared on stickers, magazine covers and in art books like 'Better Nasty Than Sexy' (XXXTREME Publishing, 2003) and 'Better Than The Real Thing' (Sticker Chick, 2006). He was a well-known guest at Comic Cons and other events, selling original artwork and prints. His reputation as a "Bad Girl" artist earned him the title "the Dark Lord of Pin-Ups", with the models Amy Wilder and Bailey Adriana serving as his regular muses. In terms of comic books, Huerta painted San Diego Comic Con variant covers for Jay Company for issues #81 and #112 of the 'Witchblade' series by Image Comics. Magazines that carried his cover art were Heavy Metal, Airbrush Action, Show, Pain, Skin & Ink, Rebel Rodz, Knockout, Marquis and Revolver. He also did commissions, which he sold through his website.

Death
After worrying friends and fans with several disturbing posts on his Facebook account, Armando Huerta took his own life on 2 May 2020.

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