Meet the Artists - MARCUS BOAS

Back to Kaso Home Page


Review by Irv O. Neil, Editor
Copyright 2004 Leg World magazine. Reprinted with permission.

New York City is home to artist Marcus Boas, but the backgrounds for his lively paintings are the amazing realms of other planets or distant ages. Boas works the vein of what is called "fantastic realism" and has been influenced by writers like Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan the Barbarian, and artists like Frank Frazetta, famous for his illustrations of Tarzan and other memorable heroes. Boas creates paintings that are so richly colored that some of them even stand out dimensionally when viewed with 3-D glasses.

Marcus has worked for a wide range of magazines from the horror favorite Castle of Frankenstein to the ever-popular Heavy Metal. He's also done movie posters and paperback covers, and even produced his own magazine, Heroic Fantasy, which has many more paintings and rawings like those on these pages.

Boas particuarly enjoys depicting gorgeous femails and, like this reviewer, was influenced in his 60s youth by striking European movie queens like Mylene Demongeot, as well as American beauties like Marilyn Monroe. The images of strippers or models like Lili St. Cyr or Bettie Page also populate Boas' work - on these pages, Lili's blonde visage hovers over a sword-wielding warrior, and shapely Bettie confronts a giant lizard!

In many of his works, Marcus Boas celebrates the alluring temptress who was once the staple of pop culture, but hwo now supposedly has been rendered obsolete by feminism and political correctness. Some people would say we now live in a world that has no place for femme fetales like those portrayed by the divine Chelo Alonso, depicted here in the painting of the woman with the burning pagan idol. This vibrant vixen was the star of 60s sword-and-sandal epics like Morgan the Pirate and Goliath and the Barbarians. Here was an actress who, playing an evil queen in Son of Samson, could actually pull off the line, "Feed him to the crocodiles!" In his work, Marcus Boas seems to say, "The great temptresses live on!" and this reviewer wholeheartedly agrees.

If you're interested in getting prints of Marcus Boas' work, ordering his magazine Heroic Fantasy, or even commissioning a painting yourself, visit this website for information and more examples of his art: Tell them that LEG WORLD sent you!


Now, the newest magazine from Kaso comics, in oversized 8 1/2 x 11 format, is "Enter the Worlds of Heroic Fantasy - Paintings by Marcus Boas."

From paperback book covers to movie posters to Heavy Metal magazine, Marcus Boas has been leaving his mark on sword and sorcery illustration since the '70s. Here, 28 of his paintings, most featuring model Erin Kimsey, are on display on thick, color cover and black and white interior pages. Model photographs illustrate what Marcus works with to transform himself and his blonde beauty into warriors and creatures. Contact info inside offers readers the option of buying full color prints of their favorites.

Not special enough? How about, while supplies last, a Special Edition "Enter the Worlds of Heroic Fantasy - Paintings by Marcus Boas," signed and numbered with two 11 x 17 color prints and two color inserts.

Boas' decision to become a fantasy illustrator was made during his, supposedly, last year of college. He was at Pace University in New York City, ready to graduate with a Psychology degree, when he took a class in art. "I figured out that's what I wanted to do," he said. "So I went to a small art school for a couple of years in the city, the Pan American Art School. And in my last year I started doing covers for magazines and paperbacks."

Boas was in the right place at the right time, with the right influences. Paintings with classical influences were just beginning to re-emerge on paperbacks and magazine covers after a decade of flat, bright color designs, a '60s norm. Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo were taking publishing illustration in a new direction.

"Frank Frazetta was my main influence," said Boas. "I started seeing his stuff on Creepy and Eerie and Vampirella magazines and the Conan paperbacks. So when I first started out I took a couple of my favorite Frazetta paintings and I just tried to copy it, to see if I could do it. That's how I actually started and got an idea of how to do it."

It was important for Boas to choose an art school that would go along with his own vision. "I picked an art school that would let me do sort of what I wanted to do because I knew I wanted to paint. So when I went there I had an idea of how to do it anyway, and the art teachers sort of helped me along."

Still, to go directly from school into major illustration work was a feat that attests to Boas' determination and skill on canvas. "I was doing fantasy and adventure and romance and even Western paperbacks," he said. In a strange twist of kismet, the hero in his first paperback job was named Marcus. "The Gladiator" is one of the covers featured in "Enter the Worlds of Heroic Fantasy - Paintings by Marcus Boas."

"When I was in art school I started doing covers for Calvin Beck, who was the publisher and editor of Castle of Frankenstein magazine." This first magazine illustration gig led to some wraparound theme covers Boas loved, including "The Time Machine," "Planet of the Apes" and "The Golden Voyage of Simbad."

"One of my favorite authors was Robert E. Howard. I was reading the Conan paperbacks, I got into illustrating the Conan hardcover books and I did a lot of magazine covers and paperback covers for a lot of Robert E. Howard characters back then."

Another great influence on Boas, both stylistically and professionally, was Jim Steranko. "Back then (1977) he was doing some paperback covers and he just did some sword and sorcery type covers which I really loved," said Boas. "I met him when I was doing conventions, he liked my stuff and he helped me. Actually, he sent me to Belmont Tower paperbacks and I started doing covers for them. So he actually helped me get some work also, as well as being a major influence."

Comic book conventions in the '70s and '80s brought in comic book cover work for Boas. "I worked for lots of different companies. I did stuff for Heavy Metal magazine and a lot of other independent comics. I was doing what I really loved to do."

Boas had published three issues of a magazine called Heroic Fantasy with friends Tom Scicca and the late Chris Pepo, with comic illustrated stories and articles on fantasy subjects. Issue two featured an interview with his idol Frazetta.

"I thought up the title," said Boas, "and I thought that pretty much describes my artwork, so that's the name of the new art book, 'Enter the Worlds of Heroic Fantasy - Paintings by Marcus Boas.'"

Throughout the years, Boas would do some interior illustrations in pen and ink, but oil painting is still his preferred medium, because "oils blend so beautifully."

Conventions also led to movie poster work. "I did a lot of Kung Fu movie posters because they were big at the time. I did them for (distribution) around the world, including in the states." Titles like "Bruce Li in Iron Finger" and "Mad Monkey Kung Fu" kept Boas painting for a while 20 years ago.

More recently, model Erin Kimsey has been a major influence on Boas output. More than half of the pages in "Enter the Worlds of Heroic Fantasy - Paintings by Marcus Boas" feature this beautiful blonde that has been Boas' muse for 12 years. "It kind of shows how I work with my model," said Boas, "So an up-and-coming artist might like to check it out to see how an artist works with reference material."

Lately, Boas has done covers for both Indestructible Man books and the CD for Kaso Comics, and covers for Vandel books and CD for Innervision. He's keeping busy with a constant stream of commissions, portraits and even seascapes and landscapes.

"Enter the Worlds of Heroic Fantasy - Paintings by Marcus Boas" contains a good deal of historical material from Boas. "It has a conglomeration of new and old stuff," he said, "The first paperback cover I did up til now. And the Special Edition has some more color pieces added to it."

Boas considers himself "lucky," not only to be working as a painter, but working in the fantasy genre he loves. For the future, said Boas, "I want to continue doing heroic fantasy artwork. I'm happy with what I'm doing."

All artwork and characters TM and © Kaso Comics Inc.