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Fantasy illustrators meet for real at Reel Art

The Chicago area has more than it’s share of notable fantasy/sci-fi/horror artists and a good-sized group of them will be gathering March 22 in Berwyn’s Reel Art pop-culture collectibles shop.

“It’s like a little fan convention,” said owner Cory Glaberson, whose store makes a specialty of artwork in addition to posters, comics and toys. “Some of these guys are very well-known among collectors and it’s kind of exciting for the customers to have the chance to meet them. It’s exciting for me, too.”

Eight artists and one writer, all based in and around Chicago, will sign and sell samples of their work in comic books, movies, video games and book illustration as part of the collaboration between Reel Art and Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo [C2E2]. Some are relative newcomers, Glaberson said, but others have decades of experience and sizable reputations — particularly Dave Dorman of “Star Wars” fame, fairy-tale illustrator Scott Gustafson and “Prince Valiant” artist Gary Gianni.

“Cory has put together a really impressive group,” said 35-year fantasy illustrator Randy Broecker. “But there are lots more just as good who won’t be there — and that’s also impressive.”

Exhibitors at the Reel Art Collectibles show include:

Dave Dorman: An Eisner Award-winner whose work includes cover art for “Star Wars” comic books, paperbacks and CDs as well as illustrations for trading cards and toy packages.

Gary Gianni: In addition to taking over the classic “Prince Valiant” comic strip in 2004, the Eisner Award-winner recently illustrated the George R.R. Martin “Songs of Ice and Fire” calendar.

Scott Gustafson: A Chesley Award-winner for the illustrations of his book “Classic Fairy Tales,” Gustafson has also provided artwork for clients ranging from Celestial Seasonings to Playboy magazine to the Bradford Exchange.

Randy Broecker: A respected fantasy illustrator for decades, Broecker also wrote and compiled the books “Fantasy of the 20th Century: An Illustrated History” and “Art of the Imagination: 20th Century Visions of Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy.”

Hilary Barta: In the course of a long career as a comic-book artist, Barta has accrued more than 240 credits as an inker at Marvel and DC — and he currently draws stories for “Simpsons” and “SpongeBob” comics.

Doug Klauba: Influenced by the illustration style of classic pulp magazines and retro movie posters, Klauba’s work has been included in the Spectrum collections of contemporary fantasy art and art annuals of Imagine FX magazine and the Society of Illustrators.

Alex Wald: The art director for Northbrook’s First Comics, Wald is also an Eisner-nominated artist whose work includes comic art for Harvey Pekar’s “American Splendor” and English adaptations for the “Lone Wolf & Cub” mangas.

Aaron Miller: A sci-fi and fantasy specialist, Miller has provided artwork for “Wizards of the Coast,” “Fantasy Flight Games” and ImagineFX magazine.

Rafael Nieves: The work of this veteran Eisner-nominated writer includes Marvel’s “Bloodlines,” “Hellstorm: Prince of Lies” and “Bob Howard: Plumber of the Unknown.”

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