John Cassaday was born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1971. A self-taught artist, he initially put himself through three years of film school and worked for a time directing TV news before leaving his home state. He was influenced early on by the Adam West Batman TV show and later, of course, he became a fan of Star Wars and G.I. Joe. His artistic influences include numerous artists and writers across a broad spectrum of different media, but his favorite is American artist and illustrator, N.C. Wyeth. Cassaday broke in to comics when he brought his art portfolio to the 1996 San Diego Comic Con. He now lives in New York City.
Cassaday's first professional comics work was in 1994 for Boneyard Press, a one page pinup with text by indie comics legend Hart Fisher in his horror pinup anthology one-shot, "A Touch of Silk, A Taste of Leather." Cassaday continued to work with Fisher, illustrating his short story Juju Eyes, published in Caliber's Negative Burn #28 in 1995, and illustrating Fisher's flagship character Dark Angel in a serial titled The Quiet Demon which ran in Boneyard Press' Flowers on the Razorwire horror anthology (#5-9). The story Juju Eyes was re-printed a year later along with two other Fisher shorts also illustrated by Cassaday in the CFD published one-shot No Profit For The Wise.
1996 saw Cassaday branching out more into mainstream comics work. He created covers for Ghost (#20-24) and interiors on issue #27, for Dark Horse and eventually became lead artist on the Homage mini-series, Desperadoes. By 1997, he was working on mainstream comics such as Alpha Flight, Union Jack and The Flash.
The Rise to Stardom
In 1999, Cassaday soared to popularity as the artist on Planetary when he was hand-picked by series writer and creator Warren Ellis. The creative dynamic between Ellis and Cassaday combined with the series core theme of dissecting genre conventions proved the perfect showcase for Cassaday's talents. To date Planetary still stands as Cassaday's longest run on interiors. In 2002 Cassaday and John Ney Rieber restarted Captain America for the Marvel Knights imprint. Cassaday left the series after six issues, however he continued to produce the covers through issue #25. In 2004 Joss Whedon was given a new X-Men series. With Cassaday his first choice of artist, the two created magic for 25 issues of Astonishing X-Men. Astonishing would clock in as Cassaday's second longest run on interiors.
With his career branching off in different directions, Cassaday's interior work became almost non-existent, however from the finale of his run on Astonishing X-Men he began producing covers for an amazingly varied array of different series. For Marvel, he drew covers for the Shadowlands Limited Series, as well as many of its tie-in books. He drew the 1 in 25 incentive covers for the Captain America Reborn limited series, as well as covers for Warren Ellis' short-lived run on Secret Avengers, #16-21.) For DC, Cassaday drew all the covers for J. Michael Straczynski's Superman Grounded series which ran from Superman issue #701-714. In 2004 Cassaday illustrated the first graphic novel in what was supposed to be the I Am Legion trilogy with Fabien Nury for Humanoids. The original graphic novel along with the unpublished follow-up books were eventually re-formatted into an eight-issue comic book series by Devil's Due.
Dynamite and Star Wars.
In 2006, Cassaday became art director and primary cover artist for The Lone Ranger series from Dynamite. This led to Cassaday producing many covers over a wide range of Dynamite's catalog, including; Battlefields: Dear Billy (1-3) (2009), Battlefields: Night Witches (1-3) (2008), Battlefields: Tankies (1-3) (2009), Buck Rogers (1-5) (2009), The Complete Alice In Wonderland (1-4) (2009-2010), The Complete Dracula (1-5) (2009), The Death Defying Devil (1-4) (2008-2009), Green Hornet (1-7)(2010), Green Hornet Strikes (1-5) (2010), Green Hornet Year One (1-5) (2010), The Lone Ranger (1-24) (2006-2011), The Lone Ranger and Tonto (1-4) (2008-2010), The Shadow (1-7) (2012), Shadow/Green Hornet: Dark Nights (1-5) (2013), Sherlock Holmes (1-5) (2009), and The Spider (1-6)(2012). Cassaday continues his cover work for Dynamite to this day with the latest being the covers to their revival of The Spirit and the first issue of Sherlock Holmes vs. Harry Houdini both debuting in 2015.
In 2015 in the wake of Disney's buyout of Marvel Entertainment and Lucasfilm, the inevitable loss of the Star Wars comic book license from Dark Horse, resulted in a new Star Wars series from Marvel. Along with series writer Jason Aaron, Cassaday drew the first six issue arc before stepping aside to let other artists work on the series.
In addition to producing freelance commercial art for Levi's Jeans and Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, Cassaday directed the season 2 episode of Joss Wheedon's Dollhouse series titled The Attic, it aired on Dec. 18, 2009.
- 2004 Eisner Award for Best Artist, Planetary
- 2005 Eisner Award for Best Artist, Astonishing X-Men
- 2006 Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series: Astonishing X-Men
- 2007 Eagle Award Favorite Comics Artist: Pencils
- 2007 Spike TV Scream Award Best Comic Book Artist