Sword and Sorcery Artists: Esteban Maroto

Sunday , 24, December 2017 4 Comments

Esteban Maroto (b. 1942) was part of the “Spanish Invasion” of comic book artists in the early 1970s. He started in the 1960s in his native Spain. He had been published in the U.K. and then in the U.S. Warren Magazines reprinted the first six issues of New English Library’s Dracula series. Maroto did both the cover and half of the interior stories.

He produced covers for the German publication Terra Fantasy for Robert E. Howard and Lin Carter reprints.

Maroto had the first “Dax the Warrior” story in Eerie #39 (April 1972). There was a total, if I am correct, of 14 Dax stories in Eerie. Dax is a barbarian warrior wandering a prehistoric world running into evil wizards, monsters, and beautiful women. Interesting in the letter columns, there was some outcry against Dax. I like the series. Maroto had a distinctive drawing style and some of the most beautiful women this side of Jim Steranko.

Esteban Maroto drew the first black and white Red Sonja story and created the iconic chain mail bikini.

Ted White had the best looking magazines with Amazing Stories and Fantastic Stories in the 1970s of any science fiction or fantasy magazine. White used Maroto for some covers.

The Warren Companion (TwoMorrows Publishing, 2001) contains an article called “The Ace Connection.” It is about the migration of the Spanish artists in the late 1970s to Ace Books. Editor Tom Doherty initiated a line of illustrated paperbacks for Ace.

Maroto did interior work for Poul Anderson’s A Stone in Heaven (1979), Roger Zelazny’s The Changling (1980), and Larry Niven’s The Magic Goes Away (1978). He also was closely associated with Robert E. Howard and Conan.

If you bought the Ace paperback Conan by Robert E. Howard (with L. Sprague de Camp & Lin Carter), it had interior illustrations by Maroto. He did the covers for the collections Pigeons From Hell and The Sowers of the Thunder. Andrew J. Offutt’s Conan and the Sorcerer (1978) had cover art  by Maroto. The Treasure of Tranicos was a slender paperback profusely illustrated in the interior by Maroto to fill it out.

At the same time, Maroto did some covers for reprints of Edgar Rice Burroughs Venus series.

Maroto did a few covers for Playboy Press in the early 1980s and then faded away from paperback art. He continued to produce comic book art. I have a three part series drawn by Maroto and written by Roy Thomas on Dracula from the early 1990s.

More recently, Maroto has done art for Modiphius Conan RPG game just last year, so he is still going and not forgotten.

Maroto is better with black & white illustration than color. He seems to like the color green a lot considering the usage of it on the Carson of Venus paperbacks. His color art is missing something to put him into the top tier of artists. The cover to Pirates of Venus has some rather twisted anatomy.

One interesting book, Andrew J. Offutt’s King Dragon. Maroto did illustrations for Edgar Rice Burroughs’ At the Earth’s Core. For whatever reason, the book never came out. Offutt was tapped to write a novel so the Maroto illustrations could be used.

4 Comments
  • deuce says:

    The Thomas/Maroto “Dracula” comics are excellent. They made a great team.

    I really enjoyed his illos for the various Ace Conan books. The pattern was for Esteban to do a few pics specific to the story and then fill out the rest with more generic Conan illos. Some were reused numerous times. All told, some of his best work, though not always that accurate. He was under the impression that the Hyborian Age Picts were Sub-Saharans. He could certainly render some beautiful women.

  • Ben says:

    Suggest an ebay trip to get the Dax collected one. Don’t pay $100, pay like $10 range. Worth it for the art alone… Also good window into the past to get a few Creepy (for horror), Eerie (for scifi/fantasy) – all the ads, letters, etc.

  • ghostof82 says:

    I have a copy of Conan and the Sorcerer. Had some lovely lush illustrations by Maroto. Really fine intricate line work. Just gorgeous really.

  • Bill L. says:

    Estaban Maroto was selling off some of his original art a year or two ago. I picked up one from Changeling (the plumed serpent) and am very happy with it! He seems like a nice guy, too.

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