Leialoha’s professional career began in 1975 with the early independent comic book Star*Reach, drawing the five-page story “Wooden Ships on the Water”, adapted by writer Mike Friedrich from the song by Crosby, Stills, and Kantner, in issue #3 (Sept. 1975). He continued to contribute to Star*Reach and the same publisher’s Quack for four years.
Leialoha freelanced as a regular contributor to Marvel from 1976 to 1988, working on such series as Warlock, Star Wars, Spider-Woman, the Spider-Man title Marvel Team-Up, the Firestar limited series, New Mutants and Howard the Duck. He and writer J. M. DeMatteis co-created “Greenberg the Vampire” in Bizarre Adventures #29 (Dec. 1981).
In the 1990s, Leialoha began working at DC on Batman and other characters; at Harris Comics on Vampirella; and at Claypool Comics on Soulsearchers and Company. He inked part of the World’s End story arc in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman series. The following decade, he became the regular inker on most of the issues (through 2013) of the DC/Vertigo series Fables, penciled by Mark Buckingham, for which they won the Eisner Award for “Best Penciller/Inker Team” in 2007.
He lives in San Francisco with his partner, comics artist Trina Robbins.
Writer Larry Hama named G.I. Joe character Edward Leialoha (code name Torpedo) after Steve Leialoha.