Ohio-born Philip Craig Russell studied painting at the University of Cincinnati, before he broke into the horror comics genre in 1972, as the assistand of Dan Adkins. He had an 11-issue run on Amazing Adventures and made a subsequent graphic novel featuring 'Killraven' with writer Don McGregor. He then worked with Roy Thomas on a comic adaptation of Michael Moorcock's 'Elric' stories, starting with 'The Dreaming City' in 1982, and followed a year later by 'Elric of Melibone', which was scripted by Thomas and Michael T. Gilbert.
Craig Russel went on to adapt operas for comics, such as Wagner's 'Parsifal' and Mozart's 'The Magic Flute', as well as 'Pelias', 'Mellisande' and 'Salome', that were mostly published in the Night Music series by Eclipse Comics between 1984 and 1990. He also did the art for Neil Gaiman's 'Sandman' story 'Ramadan' and the first story in 'Sandman: Endless Nights', and additionally adapted Gaiman's short story 'Murder Mysteries' and his children's tale 'Coraline' to comics format. For NBM Publishing, Russell adapted the fairy tales of Oscar Wilde and Rudyard Kipling's 'Jungle Book' to comics. Dark Horse released his adaptation of Wagner's 'The Ring of the Nibelung', which the artist calls his magnum opus.