It is with sadness that we note the passing of fantasy artist Ken Kelly (May 19, 1946 – June 3, 2022). Any fan of fantasy fiction for the last half-century will recognize Ken’s dynamic compositions and his characters throbbing with barely contained energy — work that threatens to burst off the covers of dozens upon dozens of paperback books, many of which are no doubt on your very bookshelf. Perhaps this is no surprise when you consider that Frank Frazetta was an early mentor of Ken’s — and his uncle by marriage — and few artists can boast of conveying the explosivity of subjects like Conan, Kull, Tarzan, or Bran Mak Morn with the kind of vibrancy of line and moody tonality that is a hallmark of both of these artists.
But Ken’s impact wasn’t limited to his sword-and-sorcery images, his art seethed across horror comic books and magazine covers, flexed center-stage on toy packaging such as his work for Masters of the Universe, and, in his biggest foray into the popular imagination, enlivened the album art of many a hard rock and heavy metal band — starting with what would become his most iconic piece of art, the cover for Kiss’s Destroyer.
Goodman Games is honored to have worked with Ken and to have had some of his original art grace the covers of publications in the DCC and MCC line. His talent will be missed.