Continuing our look at this year’s nominees for the Russ Manning Award for most talented newcomer, we have illustrator/cartoonist Lukas Ketner, a fast rising star in the world of illustration. Born in Anchorage, AK, but currently residing in Portland, like everyone else, Ketner got some notoriety for the above illo, which came out in Wilmette Week during last year’s primaries. At the point, the Obama-as-romance hero metaphor wasn’t quite as obvious as it is now. and Ketner had to explain:

The illustration in question is meant to be a humorous depiction of Portland’s (and perhaps much of Oregon’s) democratic population’s preference of Obama over Clinton. The picture makes the joke that Portland is in love with Obama, hence the harlequin romance novel treatment. Originally we were going to do a similar cover with Obama making out with Portlandia (a Lady Liberty-style statue that has oft represented our fair city in local cartoons), but we felt that it wouldn’t read as well outside of Portland.

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Obviously, Ketner was very much ahead of the curve on the Obama-love! In the realm of comics, Ketner collaborated with writer Brandon Seifert on WITCH DOCTOR, a medical horror comic about a doctor who operates on a living world to save it from evil organisms. It’s been printed in a 16-page edition, but can be read at the above link. Ketner also contributed to Greg Palast’s STEAL BACK YOUR VOTE!, and has some work coming out in Dark Horse’s CREEPY revival.

In an interview on Associated Content Ketner says:

Witch Doctor was the first full length, single issue comic that I’ve ever done, and that was done with the writer Brandon Seifert….It was very much a two guys printing up a comic at Kinko’s, and that’s still how we do it. Actually, it’s at Docu-Mart. We never really expect to make our money back on them. It’s nice, just doing that has gotten us a lot of exposure to do other things. The crazy thing about Witch Doctor is that when Brandon and I first hooked up and started looking at other independent comics or independent creator that were successful we realized that the way to do it would be to just do a book by ourselves. To stop taking stacks of pages and stacks of pitches to comic book companies because thousands of people are doing that. What not a lot of people are doing is taking the time it takes to actually print up your own comic.

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Previously: Eleanor Davis
Gregory Baldwin
Leigh Kellogg


  1. Make it yourself, is a good idea! The publishers can always come later — especially if the product is already finished, or near finished. So many folks just want to jump to the head of the line without knowing the ropes.

    Kudos to Lukas and Brandon.

  2. Hooray for Lukas!

    I know I’ll be crossing my fingers … his cover for this year’s “Haiku You” in the Anchorage Press is likewise fantastic.