Maryland cartoonist Steve Hauk (pronounced Hawk) passed away sometime this week in Silver Spring. The discovery of his death was on the morning of Friday, January 22nd, but he had not been seen in public since Tuesday, January 19th. He apparently was out of his room some time on Wednesday, so most likely passed away on the 20th or 21st. His death is considered to be of natural causes, and won't be further investigated. Hauk identified himself on his Facebook page as a type-2 diabetic who needed to self-inject insulin on a daily basis. Hauk was born on August 4, 1954 according to the Grand Comics Database. For a short time in the early 1990s, he broke into drawing for mainstream comic books, but was unable to make a career of it. On his Linkedin page, Hauk wrote of himself, "Successful retail manager for such companies as Rosetta Stone, Brookstone and The Sharper Image. My life experiences have been varied including being an FM Disc jockey, gag writer for comedians, editorial and comic book cartoonist."
Joel Pollack, founder of the local Big Planet Comics chain said, "I believe Steve first moved to the DC area (from Cumberland, MD) in 1973 to attend University of Maryland. I met him through the UMD Comic Art Society where he also met his best friend, Gary Sommer. Gary and Steve hosted a radio show on WMUC for several years. Steve worked at Big Planet Comics circa 1990-1992, and was there when we moved from Cordell Ave. to Fairmont Ave. At that time, Steve relocated from Adams-Morgan to Triangle Towers where he resided for 20+ years. I know he drew Fish Shticks for Steve Moncuse, and "Emperor of Da Universe" for Comic Buyers Guide. He was living in a group house in Silver Spring at the time of his passing." Debbie Kozak said, "He was a beloved housemate of our group house in
Silver Spring since May of 2015. Steve was a good friend. He always made
me laugh. I miss him terribly."
|Hauk and his painting of Lobo (after Bisley) for Big Planet Comics store on Fairmont Ave.|
|Fish Shticks #3|
Gary Sommer recalled his time with his friend today for this obituary. The two met at UMD in the early 1970s as part of the Comic Arts Society and both worked on MetroCon. Gary Groth of Fantagraphics was a also member as was Joel Pollack. Steve was trying to break into comics at the time and did minicomics. Sommers and Hauk did eight years of college radio together on their show Sub-Ether Waveband, where they played a mix of up-tempo new wave, electronica, comedy and some original comedy. Steve did a segment called "Cooking with the Emp" with the self-proclaimed Emperor of the Universe, Andy Looney (who now does game designs for his company Looney Labs). This led to a series of minicomics about the Emperor's adventures. His minicomics were done in small runs and given away to his friends.
As noted, from 1992-1993, he drew Fish Shticks (Apple Comics) for Steve Moncuse's Fish Police series. Eighteen pages of his original art for issue 3 can be seen online. Sommer says Hauk also inked an issue of Barbie for Marvel. Hauk's GCD credits also list a story in Vamperotica #10. The last of his comic book work appears to have been in the late 1990s in John Gallagher's Buzzboy comic.
Sommer notes that Steve kept drawing up to the very end, and his most recent minicomic was What We Do in the Pandemic, a parody of the tv show What We Do in the Shadows. He also drew his own Christmas cards, including a coronavirus-themed one for this past year's card as well - they were always funny or topical cartoons.
I personally knew Steve when he clerked for the Bethesda branch of Big Planet Comics. I can't believe that was 30 years ago. I enjoyed seeing Steve on a weekly basis back then and hearing his sardonic comments on life. It's a shame that he wasn't able to continue creating comic books, but it's always been a hard field to make a living in. Steve remained a Big Planet Comics Bethesda customer until his death.
This obituary will be updated in italics as more information or images are sent to me.
|2019 Christmas card|
|Steve with our youngest cat, Violet, from June of 2019|
|Steve wearing a Svengoolie T-shirt, August 2015.|
From Gary Sommer, January 31st - "I ran across 3 pieces from the 1980s..."
|After Max Headroom|
Courtesy of Randy Scott, librarian of Michigan State University's Comic Art Collection, Steve wrote a mini-biography for:
Entry (p. 90) in Comic-Book
Superstars, by Don & Maggie
Thompson (Iola, Wis. : Krause
Publications, 1993). --
Call no.: PN6707.C65 1993
Steve Hauk. 4853 Cordell Avenue, Unit 1501, Bethesda, Maryland 20814.
Born: August 4, 1954, in Washington, D.C.
College or other education: Self-taught.
Biggest creative influences: Will Eisner, Vaughn Bode, Mike Ploog, Mike Hinge, George Carlin, Monty Python, Douglas Adams, Rocky and Bullwinkle, and Robert Sheckley.
1993 projects: Developing a title for Parody Press, full art and story. Emperor of Da Universe back-up story in Team Danger #0 from Obsidian Publishing, inks on Marvel Comics' Barbie Fashion #29.
Past comics tides and related projects:
Since issue #677 in November 1986 contributed editorial and other cartoons to Comics Buyer's Guide. Multiple logos for the Arrow/Caliber book Deadworld. Two contributions to the Apple Press book 101 Other Uses for a Condom (mine were "Frog Partyhat" and "Emergency Airsickness Bag"). A Fish Police mini-series from Apple Press, Fish Shticks, six issues, all interior art, pencils, inks, and tones. Recently my inks over Dan Parent's cool pencils on Barbie Fashion #29 for Marvel (and on my first work for Marvel, my first work to see color, Michelle Wrightson does the coloring. Wow.). I've written gags for Don Martin and Larry "Bud" Melman.
Favorite comics not worked on: Any Ambush Bug comic, 2000 AD, Epic Comics' The Sleeze Bros. and Lance Barnes, Post Nuke Dick, and Ostrander's Grimjack.
Dream comic-book project: Realistically, to ink a Keith Giffen pencilled Ambush Bug special (or any Giffen pencils; I especially like his silly side). Total fantasy, to have worked with Vaughn Bode.
And his friend and housemate Debbie wrote in to note, "We have converted Steve's room into a den and have affixed this memorial plaque to the doorframe so that anyone entering the den will see that our den is dedicated to Steve's memory."