'Beautiful Canvas'.

Sami Kivelä is a Finnish comic book artist, who mainly works for the US market. He is best known for such comics as 'Abbott' (2018), 'Machine Gun Wizards' (2019) and 'Undone By Blood' (2020). His other works include titles like 'Chum' (2016), 'Deer Editor' (2014 and 2016) and 'Beautiful Canvas' (2017) with writer Ryan K Lindsay. He has also drawn several comic books for Zenescope Entertainment, including the 'Realm War - Age of Darkness' series (2014-2015), which is a part of the Grimm Fairy Tales Universe.

Early life
Kivelä was born in 1979 in a town called Harjavalta, but nowadays resides in Helsinki. His biggest artistic discovery happened when he first saw the work of Jean Giraud (Moebius) in the back of a Finnish Phantom magazine. As a pre-teen, reading Alex Raymond's 'Flash Gordon' and 'Secret Agent X-9' was also a mind-blowing experience for him. Kivelä is a self-taught comics artist who holds a degree in animation, but he has never worked in this latter field. Before he started to draw comics full-time, he worked as a graphic designer and illustrator.


Lordi comics
He first came to notice in his home country as one of the artists behind comic books related to the Finnish rock band Lordi, published by Arktinen Banaani between 2006 and 2008. Lordi plays hard rock while dressing up in monster costumes, making them look like a typical Nordic black metal band. However, they surprised many people by participating with the 2006 Eurovision song contest, a musical show associated with bland and family friendly pop music. They were such a fish out of water that they actually won! It increased their fame both in their home country as well as abroad. The comic books cash in on their success, but present them as real monsters which is reflected in fictional backstories of each member. The band's frontman Mr. Lordi (Tomi Putaansuu) was one of the writers and artists too. 

US and UK comic book work
By 2010, Kivelä made the transition to the American market. Among his earliest work was drawing a comic book about 'The Heap' (Moonstone Publishing, 2011), the mythical last defender of Midgard who fights the Nazi oppressors, written by Charles Knauf. For the same publisher he shared the art duties of the second issue of 'Zeroids' (2010) with Roberto Castro. His first creator-owned book was a crime graphic novel, 'Dark Lies, Darker Truths' (2012), with writer Dino Caruso. It was published by the UK label Markosia.

Realm War - 'Age of Darkness'.

Between 2013 and 2016 Kivelä worked mostly for Zenescope Entertainment. He first became the artist of their hard-boiled thriller series 'Hit List' (2013-2014), about an underground crew of professional killers funded by a wealthy entrepreneur. The series was written by Zenescope co-founder Ralph Tedesco. Kivelä then produced art for several other Zenescope books, including the series 'Realm War - Age of Darkness' (2014-2015), which is set in the dark fantasy universe 'Grimm Fairy Tales'. 'Realm War' was written by the company's other founder, Joe Brusha. Kivelä has also illustrated several covers for other Zenescope titles.

'Machine Gun Wizards'.

Sami Kivelä has worked with writer Ryan K Lindsay on several comics. For ComixTribe, they made the pulp crime series 'Chum' (2016). Through Kickstarter, they funded their noir comic 'Deer Editor' (2014 and 2016), about an anthropomorphic crime editor/investigative reporter deer. Their third collaboration was the crime dystopia 'Beautiful Canvas' (Black Mask Studios, 2017), about a hitwoman who decides to save the little boy she is contracted to kill.

Kivelä stayed in the crime genre for the supernatural noir series 'Abbott' (2018), written by Saladin Ahmed for BOOM! Studios. 'Abbott' was nominated for a Hugo Award in 2019. For Dark Horse, he has illustrated 'Machine Gun Wizards' (2019), about an alternate 1930s Chicago, where Al Capone sells magic instead of illegal booze. The book was written by Christian Ward, who made his writing debut with this series. The artist has continued with 'Undone By Blood' (AfterShock Comics, 2020), a neo-Western revenge story written by Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler.

'Undone By Blood'.


Series and books by Sami Kivelä in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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