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The best Batman artist ever?????

My latest Comics You Should Own column features Detective Comics #583-594 and #601-614, Alan Grant and John Wagner writing (and Grant alone from #601 onward) with Norm Breyfogle on pencils. Breyfogle, as I’ve mentioned before, doesn’t get the credit he deserves, but he just might be the best Batman artist ever. He’s definitely in the top 5. Go read and dare to challenge that statement!

33 Comments

Nicholas Post

May 25, 2006 at 5:26 pm

I disagreed.

These artists listed below were/are the best Batman artists ever, period.

1) Neal Adams (1960-70’s) I heard he will be back drawing Batman again, right?

2) Alex Ross (2000’s)
3) Dick Sprang (1940-50’s)
4) Alan Davis (1980’s)
5) Frank Miller (1990’s)

Aaron Hazouri

May 26, 2006 at 5:45 am

Breyfogle was THE greatest Batman artist of the Modern Age. Dick Sprang of course was the other master. I got my Dad a piece of Breyfogle art for Christmas last year – a page that actually had Batman on it! It’s one of Dad’s prized possessions! I told him he better remember me in his will…

Norm would be in my top 5, but I would have to reserve # 1 for JIM APARO.

1. Jim Aparo
2. Marshall Rogers
3. Don Newton
4. Neal Adams
5. Norm Breyfogle
6. Alan Davis
7. Gene Colan

JIM LEE fools!

Umm this wasn’t put a big list of your favorites or restrict it to a certain time period. It was best Batman artist ever. I think it was Neal Adams. No one else has been as influential on the way the book has looked since.

Now if you want a big honking list of my favorites. Here it is.

1. Neal Adams
2. Marshall Rogers
3. Jim Aparo
4. Charles Burnley (a lot of people mention Sprang again and again but few people have read a lot of Sprang issues or own any. Yeah, he’s known for big props and panel spreads but frankly the art is a little safe and static. I much prefer the sense of action and motion in Burnley’s work and his realistic rendering of surroundings and use of zippo and duatone to provide depth to the art.) It’s hard to judge this stuff from recolored reprints– go look through the real deal and see what I mean. Basically,Sprang was the flashy Jim Lee of his day. He was not the best artist.
5.Graham Nolan This guy provided solid storytelling and did not get in the way of the story. That’s really hard to find after about 1980. This guy always reminded me of Dick Dillin.

I’m going to second the Breyfogle-on-Batman love, as I do think he’s one of the few highly underrated artists around.

Your article did leave out # 617 (I think it was) which, though it did tie into some of the continuity, I think stands on its own as a perfectly realized Joker story. It was one of the first ones of the run I read (for years I had # 602, the middle of the Tulpa arc, and the Joker one-shot I’m talking about; took some quarter-box dives to round it out, but I eventually got there), but I think the story–combining Grant’s prediliction for strange, occult symbolism with a done-in-one Batman-kicks-ass story, coupled with a very nice use of Bruce Wayne, as well as Breyfogle breaking the action down beautifully in the artwork–belongs on par with the others mentioned in the article.

Either way, dig the column, and can’t wait for the next installment. Particularly because, of the 17 so far, you’ve mentioned about a dozen or so runs that I already own. So, vindicated, I feel, yes, indeed.

how comes nobody’s mentioned Carmine Infantino? “the house the joker built” , “fright of the scarecrow” , “beware of poison ivy” , “the remarkable ruse of the riddler” , to name only a few – these were cracking good batman comics, some of the best. Carmine Infantino ( especially when inked by Joe Giella ) was, to me, at least, one of the finest artists of the silver age. just look at the cover of batman # 194, and tell me that isn’t one of THE BEST batman comic book covers EVER.

t
tim sale i

Oooooh, tricky one, Ssd. I like Tim Sale, I like Tim Sale a lot. Whether he’s the best Batman artist or not is up for a LOT of discussion. He’s good, yeah, but he’s only good for a type of Batman. A good Batman artist should be able to handle ALL aspects of the character, Tim Sale does good dark, but he ONLY does good dark.

Nicholas Post

June 8, 2006 at 1:33 pm

Re:
how comes nobody’s mentioned Carmine Infantino? “the house the joker built” , “fright of the scarecrow” , “beware of poison ivy” , “the remarkable ruse of the riddler” , to name only a few – these were cracking good batman comics, some of the best. Carmine Infantino ( especially when inked by Joe Giella ) was, to me, at least, one of the finest artists of the silver age. just look at the cover of batman # 194, and tell me that isn’t one of THE BEST batman comic book covers EVER.

Ah, how could I forgot The One and Only Carmine Infantino? I have all Batman and Detective Comics drawn by Carmine. Nothing compared his inking over his own pencilling, especially his famed Elonganted Man back-up stories.
Same thing with Adam Strange and The Flash, inked by Murphy Anderson.

I was normally a fan that had favorite artists till the past two years,I have gone back through all the past comics and come to find that all the artists brought a very special something to the table.Neal Adams was my irst fav,then Alex Ross knocked my socks off with such realistic art,Jim Lee’s version is great also there are so many,kudos to all artists they have given me a lifetime of artwork.

Alex Ross’s drawings all look like cardboard cutouts and lack motion. Jim Lee’s characters all look the same and stand in awkward poses that do nothing to carry the action. Neal Adams’s art lacks imagination in its yearning to be photographic, and winds up looking like badly-colored photographs of people in tights.

Re:
Alex Ross’s drawings all look like cardboard cutouts and lack motion. Jim Lee’s characters all look the same and stand in awkward poses that do nothing to carry the action. Neal Adams’s art lacks imagination in its yearning to be photographic, and winds up looking like badly-colored photographs of people in tights.

My reply:
You are wrong!

Neal Adams is the best. followed by a ton of greats…

frank miller, gene colan…

Re:
Neal Adams is the best. followed by a ton of greats…
frank miller, gene colan…

Who is the truly 2nd best next to Neal Adams?

Tim Sale and Jim Lee are the best Frank Miller draws like a five-year-old kid

#1 Alex Ross
#2 Neal Adams
#3 Brian Bolland
#4 Bruce Timm (so cute)
#5 Jim Lee

Hello,i just bought my first batman book.Its called Arkham Asylum and its written by Grant Morrison and painted by Dave Mckean.Now,i dont know any of them,and i’m a pretty much a retard if it comes to the comic world,but it seems like this is a pretty special book,and i liked it as well,but the thing i was wonder about is:are the artist’s u guys are talking about,the normal comic issues and is this book something totally different,more like a special piece on batman?And how does this book stands in quality toward other books?

Cause i really wanna start getting into this stuff and catch up with it.

Re: Comment #18 (Bianca said…),

I thought the same thing but Alex Ross and Neal Adams switched #1 and 2.

definitely Tim Sale

bom em quadrinhos sequencial COMO ELE É FEITO NO ESTILO é jim lee o melhor artista do título agora SE FOR NARRADA Á PARTIR DE pintura e referencia sem DUVIDA que é sim o ALEX ROSS que é o melhor

#1 Neal Adams
2 Michael Golden
3 Frank Miller
4 Gene Colan
5 George Perez
6 Jim Lee
7 Norm Breyfogle
8 Don Heck
9 Ernie Chan
10 Carmine Infantino

-Ribu John

Ribu John,

Thank you for bringing up Michael Golden as one of favorite Batman artists. I was trying to remember one more to add into my favorite lists.

And thank you for placed Neal Adams as #1. He was and still the best.

Hello all, I’m glad to see the names I have but there seems to be a big one missing. David Mazzucchelli. Now, I know that the only Batman he ever did was in Batman Year One, but that was and is a groundbreaking book! But, if we’re talking about artists that appeared regularly, I can see why nobody posted his name. Also, Mike Mignola’s Batman art is very good.

In order to find out who is the best Batman artist , I think we must first analyze the concept of the character . Batman is a creature of the night . A being that looks straight out of your worst nightmare , which means that Neal Adams , despite his contributions to the character , can not be number one. If you want the perfect Batman , then you need to make a soup out of the different styles of the following artist:
• Jim Lee : His depiction of Gotham City set the standards for any modern artist.
• Andy Kubert: Very similar to Jim Lee but with more shadows and an even darker Gotham.
• Norm Breyfogle: Very close to perfection if it wasn’t for some anatomical exaggerations and some wacky expressions. I specially like his fighting scenes.
• Kelley Jones: This guy made Batman look like the freaking Bogyman .
• David Finch: Despite the fact that he has never drawn a Batman issue , Finch’s personal drawings and paintings depict the best Batman I have ever seen; and as a die hard Batman fan whose read almost every single published piece on the character , that says a lot. Go and check it out NOW if you disagree.

I would say these artist make me see Batman comics as real motion pictures:

1.- Jim Aparo (REST IN PEACE MASTER!!)
2.- Graham Nolan
3.- Tony Daniel
4.- Norm Breyfogle

brian azzerello dumbasses.
jae lee??

Jim Lee…..end of conversation

I liked Bill Sienkiewicz (sp) Batman in issue # 400. It captures the dark sordid world of the dark knight perfectly. His covers are awesome, loved his work on Transformers #1 and New Mutants covers!

That dude who drew Son of the Demon was good too… Jerry Bingham but his dark knight was more of a an early evening knight.

Jan Robert Andersen

April 7, 2014 at 5:39 am

Mine would be:

1 Neal Adams (1960s and 1970s)
With Denny O’Neil Neal Adams simply revived and modernized the character. Dick Giordano as inker was also a very important part of this as well.

2 Jim Aparo (in the 1970s and not the 1980s)
Jim Aparo’s Batman was also very powerfull in the 1970s. He was sinewy and quite gritty (well before the 1980s and 1990s). Jim Aparo is probably more known for his 1980s Death in the Family period where he was more static and flat.

3 Frank Miller (1980s)
Dark Knight Returns simply changed how Batman could be written and drawn both making the character even more realistic but also iconic.

4 Brian Bolland (1980s, 1990s and 2000s)
Working with legendary Alan Moore Killing Joke is simply the best Joker story ever.

5 Marshall Rogers
Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers with Terry Austin and Dick Giordano only made a handful of Detective Comics issues and they are still regarded among some of the best Batman stories also because of Marshall Rogers groundbreaking visuals.

6 Tim Sale (1990s and 2000s)
Long Halloween and Dark Victory written by Jeph Loeb with moody and haunting visuals by Tim Sale are somewhat similar to Bernie Wrightson and Kelley Jones versions.

7 Norm Breyfogle (1980s)
Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle’s very long Detective Comics/Batman/Shadow of the Bat stint was a powerful, in-your-face, dynamic 1990s version.

8 David Mazzuchelli (1980s)
Together with Frank Miller David Mazzuchelli revised and brought an before that unseen realism to the character.

9 Kelly Jones (1990s)
First on covers on Knightfall, the 1991-1999 Elseworlds Vampire trilogy in later working with Doug Moench on Batman from 1995 to 1998 gave us a long-eared Batman in moody, weird and eerie stories taking clues from Bernie Wrightson.

10 Jim Lee (2000s)
Working with Jeph Loeb on the 2003 Hush storyline in Batman and later with Frank Miller on the 2005 All-Star Batman made Jim Lee the powerhouse he is today.

Jerry Robinson, Dick Sprang, Jack Burnley, Win Mortimer, Lew Schwartz, Sheldon Moldoff and even Bob Kane himself must be mentioned simply because they started this.

Carmine Infantino also had an impact on the character doing striking covers and pecils in the 1960s.

Bernie Wrightson paved the way for a look later taken up by Kelley Jones and Tim Sale.

Dick Giordano worked on the character both as inker and editor guiding the character for decades.

Grant Morrison working with Howard Porter, Frank Quitely, J.H. Williams, Tony Daniel, Andy Kubert, J.G. Jones, Chris Sprouse, Yanick Paquette, David Finch, Frazer Irving, Chris Burnham and Alex Ross on covers on JLA, JLA: Earth 2, Batman, Final Crisis, Batman and Robin, Return of Bruce Wayne and Batman Incorporated have had a huge impact on how Batman looks and is percieved by modern readers.

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo on Batman has yet again modernized the character for a new decade.

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