David Wenzel

David T. Wenzel (/ˈwɛnzəl/; born November 22, 1950)[1] is an illustrator and children's book artist. He is best known for his graphic novel adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit.

David Wenzel
David Wenzel at That's Entertainment for FCBD 2012-05-05.jpg
Wenzel appeared at That's Entertainment in Worcester MA on Free Comic Book Day, May 5, 2012
Born (1950-11-22) November 22, 1950 (age 69)
Area(s)Penciller, Inker, Colourist
Notable works
The Hobbit: An Illustrated Edition of the Fantasy Classic
The Wizard's Tale
AwardsEagle Award, 1979


Wenzel's first ambition had been to work for one of the big animation houses in California, but his early career path led him instead to work at an advertising agency and as a penciler in the mainstream comic book industry.[2] From the mid-1970s to the early 1980s he worked on such Marvel Comics titles as Avengers and Savage Sword of Conan. He penciled part of The Avengers story arc which won a 1979 Eagle Award for Best Continued Story.

Segueing from comics to children's literature in the 1980s, Wenzel illustrated Robb Walsh's Kingdom of the Dwarfs for Centaur Books, and then illustrated a series of books about American colonial life for Troll Associates.

Gollum, from Wenzel's adaptation of The Hobbit.

A recommendation from college classmate Larry Marder was key to Wenzel's landing his next major project. Marder was working with the people who had secured the rights to adapt The Hobbit to comics, and he knew firsthand that Wenzel had devoted his senior year in college to drawing Tolkien's characters.[2] And so Wenzel provided the fully painted art for The Hobbit: An Illustrated Edition of the Fantasy Classic, a three-part adaptation of The Hobbit, written by Chuck Dixon and Sean Deming. The work was originally published by Eclipse Comics in 1989. Published in a collected edition by Ballantine in 1990, The Hobbit: An Illustrated Edition of the Fantasy Classic is one of the most successful graphic format adaptations of a piece of classic literature.[3] In 2001, it was updated by Del Rey Books with a new cover, larger format, and 32 new pages of artwork.

Another graphic novel project in a similar vein was Wenzel and writer Douglas Wheeler's adaptation of some of the Brothers Grimm's fairytales for NBM in 1995. In 1998 Wenzel teamed with acclaimed comics writer Kurt Busiek on The Wizard’s Tale, the story of Evernight, a land ruled by a consortium of evil wizards who discover that one of their kind harbors a "dangerous" glimmer of good. The Wizard’s Tale was designed to be a crossover book that blended children's book elements with the format and readability of a graphic novel.

Other notable projects Wenzel has done include Robert L. May's Christmas bestseller Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (Grosset and Dunlap, 2001); Max Lucado's A Hat For Ivan (Crossway Books, 2004); and several books in the Little Bear series which were art-directed by Maurice Sendak (HarperFestival, 2003–2004).

Wenzel's non-book related projects include puzzles, greeting cards, and two entire miniature kingdoms of collectible figurines. He also teaches at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in Connecticut.[2]

Wenzel cites illustrators like Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, N.C. Wyeth, and Howard Pyle as influences; as well as the Dutch painters Pieter Bruegel and Jan Steen.[4]

Personal lifeEdit

Wenzel lives in Connecticut with his wife Janice, an artist and high school art teacher. Their sons Brendan and Christopher are both artists, and Wenzel's brother Greg is a book writer and illustrator.[5]




  • The Hobbit: An Illustrated Edition of the Fantasy Classic (with writers Chuck Dixon and Sean Deming; Eclipse Comics, 1989; Ballantine Books, 1990; Del Ray Books, 2001) ISBN 0-345-44560-0
  • Aliens: Stalker (script and art, one-shot; Dark Horse Comics, 1989)
  • Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm (with writer Douglas Wheeler; NBM, 1995) ISBN 1-56163-130-2
  • The Wizard's Tale (with writer Kurt Busiek; Homage Comics, 1998) ISBN 1-56389-589-7

Illustrated books (selected)Edit


  1. ^ Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide. Archived from the original on October 30, 2010. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "Obsession with The Hobbit turns into career as fantasy illustrator" By Nancy Sheehan TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF May 04, 2012
  3. ^ Wenzel bio[permanent dead link], Arts Center Kilingsworth.
  4. ^ Biography at DavidWenzel.com. Archived July 13, 2018, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved November 26, 2008.
  5. ^ David T. Wenzel - Bio Archived July 13, 2018, at the Wayback Machine. davidwenzel.com. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
  6. ^ "Past Winners (Irma Black Award)". www.bankstreet.edu. Bank Street College of Education. Retrieved May 8, 2016.

External linksEdit