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1/8 – Curious Cat Asks…

Which regular Justice League artist has been your favorite during the book’s history? Mike Sekowsky? Dick Dillin? George Perez? Kevin Maguire? Ty Templeton? Adam Hughes? Dan Jurgens? Bryan Hitch? Doug Mahnke? Ron Garney? Someone else?

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69 Comments

Does Bryan Hitch even count? That stuff was beautiful, but I’d have to go with someone more long-term, maybe Perez? Weird, it’s not as clearcut for me as I originally thought it would be. Is JLA the highest- profile book with the lowest-profile art, historically?

Kevin Maguire and Ty Templeton are up there, I guess. Hughes, when he wasn’t focusing on boobies.

Love Doug Mahnke’s art, but I didn’t follow that run and probably wouldn’t pick it even if I had.

Alonso’s right…not a lot to choose from. Maguire and Hughes will probably be most people’s favorites. Oh, yeah, and we’re sure to hear all the inexplicable George Perez love.

Gotta be Maguire.

Dan (other Dan)

January 8, 2008 at 11:53 am

I only read the book during the Maguire tenure, but it sure was great. We got fill in work from the likes of Chris Sprouse, Ty Templeton, and Bill Willingham, too. It’s probably what I hold up as the best example of fun superhero comics.

Kevin Maguire

Maguire.

Also, *damn you DC COLLECT the JLA/I/E already.

Also, hahaha @ me for thinking they might do that, ever.

I’ll throw a vote in for Mahnke. His Wonder Woman was chiselled from god-stuff, and his other characters were well-defined for me. I don’t think I read more than 5 words out of “Trial By Fire”. I just looked at the pretty pictures and was happy.

Dick Dillin. He was often inked indifferently, but his layouts were great, I loved his wild, off-kilter looking monsters and villains and I think his Superman was better than any other artist in the ’70s– Kal-El *looked* 29 for one thing.

And the man has one of the longest continuous stints of any artist on any title (I think Kirby on FF and Bagley on Ultimate Spider-Man were longer), so props to him for that.

A close second would be George Perez.

I know the audience here skews pretty young overall, but I’ll be the token old man and single out Mike Sekowsky for praise. Among all his other virtues (great landscapes, fantastic aliens, and the most gorgeous women ever in comics) what made him such a great JLA artist was that he managed to depict each of the Leaguers in a way that was “on model” and immediately recognizable without losing or burying his own unique style.

I also fondly remember how he gave each character in a very crowded team book his or her own distinctive facial features. Let’s say Gardner Fox wrote a panel where Barry Allen and Arthur Curry were talking to one another wearing civilian clothes; some artists would be hard pressed to distinguish these two blond characters from one another by looks alone, but Sekowsky could do it with no problem. For a great example of this see “The Super-Exiles of Earth” in Justice League of America #19, one of the best of the classic stories.

Perez in theory, but I haven’t read many of his JLA comics. I’ll go with Maguire.

While Howard Porter was never a favorite, he’s the artist whose work I most associate with JLA.

Maguire is my favorite comics artist of all time, and I became a fan from JLI, so it’s gotta be him. That said, I think Howard Porter is sadly underrated.

Perez for me…

I would have loved for Rich Buckler to have had a run in the 70′s/80′s though…

Paperghost said:
“Also, *damn you DC COLLECT the JLA/I/E already.

Also, hahaha @ me for thinking they might do that, ever.”

But they are, thankfully. A couple hardcover collections have already been scheduled. the first one solicited for March 12.

As for the question- all have been good but my love for JLI leads me to vote Kevin Maguire. He did an amazing job of making spandex wearing superheroes look incredibly human.

Adam Hughes.

- Sekowsky defined a light style that is best for the title, but his work has not dated as well as his contemporaries.
- Dick Dillin was ‘ok’. The style was a bit generic and hurt the title a bit.
- George Perez was … George Perez. However, I don’t connect him with JLA thee way I do the Teen Titans and Avengers.
- Kevin Maquire was awesome. He updated the Sekowsky tone really nicely. However, he did not have a great touch for action.
- Ty Templeton built off Maguire’s work, but did not bring anything new.
- Hughes did both action and humor well. Earns a slight knock for never doing the ‘Big 7′.
- Dan Jurgens always had stiff ‘blocking’ for characters. His JLA was not memorable.
- Harold Potter did great action stuff on the Morrison run. However, was not up to the standard of Hughes.
- Hitch was not there long enough to really count.

Howard Porter gets my vote, if for no other reason than he was able to read Grant Morrison’s scripts and interpret them visually. Imagine not knowing what was comic next and having to figure out how to draw the Eiling/Shaggy Man, Maggedon, heaven or Plastic Man doing anything Plastic man does.

Howard Porter. Easily.

As a Quietly whore, I can’t help but give an honorable mention for Earth 2, and wish that he has done at least one arc on the regular book.

I’ll toss my hat in the ring for Dick Dillin. It’s not just a vote of respect (though that’s part of it), but also a nod to some great art. I’m never a fan of Giordano inks (he mucked up many a penciller’s art) but Dillin was really a pro. For many years, he pumped out issue after issue, and a whole string of them (in the late ’70s or early ’80s) were “giant”-sized! As I recall, his reign only ended with his untimely death, at which point a young (or at least a relative fresh) George Perez took over.

I was just recently reading a beat-up old copy of Justice League of America #70 that I picked up for cheap. It features the Creeper and has some awesome early Dillin art (inked by Sid Greene). The Denny O’Neil story is absurd — painfully so! — but Dillin has a ball with the Creeper. (His Supes, GL and Flash in action are all really sweet, too.)

Other than that … I did enjoy Perez a lot, and much more recently, Doug Mahnke. (That was probably the last League run I enjoyed overall; I stopped buying the title after that, except for Johns’ five-part follow-up to Identity Crisis/prelude to Infinite Crisis. That had some fine art, but it was just one arc, not a whole run.) Meanwhile, I’d say Ed Benes is the worst thing to happen to the title. (Worse than Meltzer, even.) I won’t pick it up again until McDuffie’s liberated from all the Countdown madness AND they get a new artist.

Oh, and I completely agree that Porter is underrated. It seems like many of Morrison’s artists (Porter, Chas Truog, Richard Case) on long-term collaborative projects get devalued in some sort of weird inverse relationship to Morrison’s praise. Sure, not everyone’s a Quitely, but I liked all of those guys on their respective titles (JLA, Animal Man, Doom Patrol). All three turned out distinctive work. That said, I’d love to see Morrison do a JLA run with Quitely or JHWilliams or Frazer Irving.

I’d say Macguire, but I’d like to give Dan Jurgens props. I like his style.

Kevin Maguire

btw is he still working in comics? where? on what?

It’s Kevin Maguire for me, absolutely loved the early JLI stuff.

I enjoyed the work of Hughes and Jurgens as well. It’s a shame Bryan Hitch didn’t stay on the book longer than he did.

Howard Porter’s work seemed very stiff at times and a lot of the characters often were stuck in quite unnatural looking poses.

Howard Porter’s art is what keeps me from reading Morrison’s JLA.

And I’m a whorrison.

Oh gosh- I’ve been reading JLA in its various incarnations since the mid-60′s and am attached to all of them in some form or another…

1. Kevin Maguire
1a. Doug Mahnke
1b. Dick Dillin (esp. pre-1975)
1c. Adam Hughes
1d. Mike Sekowsky

How’s that for a compromise?

Dillin, hands down. His style was so strong and distinct, and he had a great mastery of storytelling. His characters always looked great and his 100+ issue run on the book helped make the book look consistent, even in the era when they had a different writer every couple issues.

Maguire, Hughes, and Porter also get nods for their great runs, and I rather liked Sears’ work on JLE. Benes isn’t a terrible artist, but he tends to focus way too much on the T&A in his art.

Perez is a good artist, but if people aren’t going to count Hitch’s run because it was too short, then they shouldn’t count Perez’s either. He barely did ten issues on the book, even if he did stick around to do covers for a lot longer.

Sekowsky is a legend, that’s undisputed. But personally, I always found his work to be really inconsistent. He could pull out a great issue, then one where the characters looked like a bunch of lumpy mashed potatoes in spandex. Never cared for JLE’s Ron Randall or Chuck Wojtkiewicz, either. The former’s style was really simplistic and he had some real issues with scale in his early issues (apparently Aquaman is seven feet tall and Dr. Light is a Hobbit), and the latter was too cartoony for my taste.

If we are talking Silver Age… Dick Dillin wins easily. Perez did a lot of Justice League covers, but when it came to interiors, he only did a handful of issues (some of which may have been due to Dillin dying unexpectedly). For instance, I remember Perez did the Red Tornado stuff; but I also remember that he wasn’t able to finish the JLA/JSA/Secret Society of Super-Villains three-parter.

Modern Age… Kevin Maguire, hands down.

Maguire! I’m reading (and loving) the JLI stuff for the first time right now. Hughes and Templeton are great also. I can also dig some Porter.

Dan Jurgens followed closely by Howard Porter

Dillin, then Maguire.

My all-time favorite JLA artist would be Dick Dillin, mainly for the stability he brought to the title. He handled action and personal scenes with clarity, and he knew how to handle scale- the JLA satellite looked like it was the right size, so did Wonder Woman’s invisible plane, and even the goofy devices of some of the bad guys. All spot-on.

It took me a long time to appreciate Mike Sekowsky’s art, or Don Heck’s for that matter, but both of them had a distinctive style, and could tell a story effectively.

Like many of the above responders, I have to discount George Pérez’s contribution because I don’t think he ever did more than 4 consecutive issues without a fill-in.

Kevin Maguire and Howard Porter deserve mention because they both crafted eras of JLA history that would not have been as well-received without their contribution. Other artists would not have been able to convey the ideas put forth by the writers, since there was never anything before them to compare to.

jrp001 said:
“Kevin Maguire

btw is he still working in comics? where? on what?”

Yep, just drew the Top Cow Pilot Season special for Velocity.

He also recently drew a Defenders mini-series for Marvel in addition to returning to the Justice League for a pair of JLI reunion minis.

Definitely Perez, for me. He could make all the characters look both distinct and heroic.

I love that Dick Dillin is getting so much love, though. One of comicdom’s most underrated artists.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

January 8, 2008 at 5:30 pm

Kevin Maguire.
It’s beautiful stuff, and I’ve heard was quite revolutionary back in the day.

probably Maguire followed by Porter

Ed Benes. Period.

For his combination of excellence AND longevity, I gotta give it to Dick Dillin.

In terms of just flat out capturing the League, I’ll always have to give it to Perez.

But it’s got to go to Maguire when you factor in the run I liked the most, who really told the story, and all that jazz.

Gotta go with Dick Dillin. Maguire gets a close second.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

January 8, 2008 at 9:56 pm

When was the Hughes run?

Hughes illustrated Justice League America for awhile. His most notable story arc was the extremely unusual action arc featuring Despero. He was also responsible for designing Fire and Ice’s classic costumes.

George Perez. He is way over-rated generally, but makes quite a good fit for the JL of A. Even more so than Jurgens. Jurgens has a better line, but Perez is actually more dynamic.

Wow, I never thought Maguire could have so many fans. Personally I find his pencils pretty lacking – stiff, ugly, inflexible.

He’s great for satire, thought, and apparently JLI (which I flat out hated) still has a legion of fans. But JLI’s whole point is that it is nothing like the JLA.

I too would have to throw my weight behind Kevin Maguire. No one captures facial expressions like he does.

1. Maguire
2. Maguire
3. Maguire
and so on…

“I’ll be the token old man and single out Mike Sekowsky for praise. Among all his other virtues (great landscapes, fantastic aliens, and the most gorgeous women ever in comics”

I really hate to sound like the snotty youngster, but I can’t imagine this is the same artist in my “Crisis on Multiple Earths” Vol. I trade. Those designs for Medusa, Repello, Absorbo, or Anti-Matter World are underwhelming. It seems like even Mark Waid, in that volume’s bio sections, can only muster a half-hearted compliment about Sekowsky’s pencils.

Although, to be fair, the inker on the Anti-Matter Man story (was it Sid Greene?) really brought his pencils popping off the page.

Since I don’t count the JLI period as the real Justice League (it was fantastic, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t the JLA), I’d probably have to narrow it down to Perez, Porter, or Hitch. Despite the other two’s attributes, Perez really nailed the JLA unlike anyone else.

Oh Maguire for sure. Followed by Adam Hughes and Ty Templeton. GOD, I miss the old JLI!

Well, in the tradition of the person who wrote Ed Benes (really?), I’m going to advocate BART SEARS!!!!!! Except, you know, I’m joking.

Howard Porter

Hughes (who illustrated #32-40, I believe).

For a lot of readers he came out of nowhere and arrived with a bravado first issue to rival Michael Golden on Micronauts #1; for many folks, myself included, his is the definitive Despero -you have to love Hughes for drawing a big pink Martian who is naked (the cape doesn’t count) the entire time he is fighting the JLA. That’s talent.

Of course he was building on Maguire’s genius for faces, so props to him as well.

Porter’s Darkseid in Rock of Ages is one of the best visual interpretations of the character since Kirby, and I agree that he should be lauded for representing Morrison’s scripts so well.

Honorable mention: Jim Starlin’s covers in the early eighties. We get to see Orion punching out the entire team on the cover of #183!

I would take Bart Sears over Ed Benes in a heartbeat.
(And he did design some pretty f’in bad-ass, creepy Extremists.)

Vincent Paul Bartilucci

January 9, 2008 at 5:58 pm

Dick Dillin, easily.

Perez’s take was great but Dillin IS the JLA to me. Guess it’s all about when you were 12 years old.

Maguire is a great artist. Too bad he didn’t get to work on the real JLA. JLI – bleech!

FunkyGreenJerusalem

January 9, 2008 at 8:59 pm

He’s great for satire, thought, and apparently JLI (which I flat out hated) still has a legion of fans. But JLI’s whole point is that it is nothing like the JLA.

Maguire is a great artist. Too bad he didn’t get to work on the real JLA. JLI – bleech!

So was it the sense of humour you didn’t like, or the fact it was making fun of superheroes?

In my case, I simply find Maguire’s pencils to be weak. I said as much. But since you ask, I didn’t like either the kind of humor involved nor the character assassination involved. Gosh, the damage JLI did to Booster Gold, Blue Beetle and even Batman is astounding.

The Giffen DeMatteis era is my favorite Justice League era, and the only one I really liked that much. Other than their run, the main stories I liked were the old JLA/JSA crossovers (well, not every one–some were lame.)

1 – Joint – Bryan Hitch + Adam Hughes
3 – Kevin Macguire

If he’s allowed I’ll stick Quitely above all of them though.

I agree with those who say Howard Porter was underrated. His work on The Flash did nothing for me, but he was really good at the epic godlike JLA stuff Morrison threw at him – and as has been said, his Darkseid was great!

What, no love for Don Heck? Personally I hated Heck’s art as a kid but, like Bronze-Age Kirby, the older I get the more I love it.

How about Luke McDonnell on JL Detroit? Who was the other guy drew that run? Chuck Patton? Nice clean style.

In the end though, being as how its probably my favourite story ever, Perez’s stuff on Red Tornado’s origin and the JLA/JSA/Secret Society of Super Villians arc wins it hands down.

Dillin and McGuire

“Gosh, the damage JLI did to Booster Gold, Blue Beetle and even Batman is astounding.”

In his own title, Booster Gold was a self-centered, venal glory hound who no one particularly liked (have you read the letter column of the original title? The letter comparing him to a cockroach is particularly memorable). In JLI, he became a self-centered, venal glory hound who’s become one of DC’s more enuringly popular third-string characters. More characters should have such “damage” inflicted on them.

Maguire, then Porter.

I like a lot of the artists, but for JLA, it’s Dick Dillin – he was on it when I started reading, and was on the book longer than anyone else. Clear storytelling, no skimping on details, and there every issue (except for that earth-prime issue with Ultra for some reason I cant’ remember).

Honorable mentions to Sekowsky, Heck (He and Breeding did some nice stuff together), Perez, Jurgens, and Templeton (always underappreciated).

Don’t forget the inkers, either – Giella, Sachs, Breeding, Dick Giordano (my favorite Dillin inker) and Frank McLaughlin, who always gets overlooked, but did nice work. We need an interview with Mr. McLaughlin sometime.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

January 10, 2008 at 4:42 pm

. But since you ask, I didn’t like either the kind of humor involved nor the character assassination involved. Gosh, the damage JLI did to Booster Gold, Blue Beetle and even Batman is astounding.

Did it really damage them?
I mean Beetle and Booster were pretty generic heroes until then.
And is having one title where Batman is silly such a bad thing?
If it was so damaging, how come other writers haven’t tried to change them?

I’m not sure JLI damaged Batman when him punching out Guy Gardner was a huge “why Batman is a badass” deal for so long with so many fanboys.

You can make an argument that it was bad for Blue Beetle, but he was troubled from the beginning by coming off as a lightweight Spider-Man clone. Your argument would rest on someone being able to do something appreciably better had Blue Beetle not been in the Giffen-DeMattheis Justice League, and that would be a hard position to take. His friendship with Booster Gold was popular enough that it’s still fueling stories now.

Booster Gold… would probably not have his own book now if not for his Giffen-DeMattheis JLA run, so it’s pretty hard to argue he came out of it less valuable than he was before. His solo title suffered from an overdose of melodrama and a poor supporting cast, and it’s hard to imagine anyone bothering to work with the character if the Giffen-DeMattheis JLA run hadn’t given him the memorable relationships his solo title lacked.

Anyway, it should be no surprise that I favor Maguire. He’s arguably not dynamic, but he is able to draw a variety of expressions and genuinely different face structures that superhero art sorely lacks. What he lacked in being able to draw guys punching each other he made up in being able to draw guys talking to each other. Even my husband who isn’t at all a fan of Giffen-DeMattheis era admits that Maguire’s work on the book was extraordinary.

Booster Gold took himself quite seriously in his own book. Dan Jurgens DID spend quite a while trying to restore his credibility later when he was writing JL something circa Doomsday’s first appearance. I would say that it took his story arc in 52 to fully reabilitate Booster.

I don’t think the popularity argument holds much water at all. Clown characters can be created anew, while Dan Jurgens clearly meant for Booster to be a complex, largely unlikeable character. Rarely does one see such a labor of love as the original Booster Gold series was, really.

Blue Beetle was indeed a very generic hero, at least in the DC version. Still, he too took himself rather seriously in his own book.

Even Batman suffered IMNSHO; suspension of disbelief became that much harder with him in the JLI. You’ll notice that he wasn’t around all that often after a while, btw. Sure it didn’t make the character inviable or anything, but it didn’t help.

I’m surprised to see people finding Kevin Maguire’s faces commendable. His faces are actually rather stiff, ugly and generic. He _does_ choose to express emotion rather often, but even then he does so in a rather amateurish way. But whatever, I guess.

As for keeping a character in the public eye, I am not sure I accept that argument either. Would, say, Bat Lash have been better off had he been used in Jonah Hex or something?

Fictional character do not resemble real life people in this regard – they do not necessarily “want regular gigs”.

Wow, I argued so hard it too you three posts to manage something that resembles a rebuttal!

I read the original Booster Gold (it was easy to snag out of quarter boxes when my comics-buying mania was at its teenage peak), and it was kind of terrible. The core idea of Booster as a sham superhero was fine, but Jurgens tried to play him so straight that he was just boring when he wasn’t being a jerk. He really failed at giving him a good supporting cast, which is why the only pre-Giffen relationship of his that anyone’s bothered to bring back is Skeets (and the current Skeets is largely a creation of 52 moreso than what I recall of the original).

Bear in mind I was also fishing my JLA/JLI/JLE issues out of the same quarter boxes, so I was reading them at basically the same time. The Booster in these books felt so much more human it’s kind of ridiculous. I don’t recall Jurgens going to any great lengths to make the character “more serious” after these goofy runs– he played him more straight, but honored quite a bit of the characterizations that the Giffen-DeMattheis run added.

I’ve read the pre-Giffen-DeMattheis Blue Beetle (out of those same quarter boxes!), and let’s be honest. Yes, he took himself seriously, and his comic book also sucked. It was bad, bland, generic, and derivative in every possible way. I would go so far as to say that the Ted Kord Blue Beetle as created by Steve Ditko was among his worst work. By making him into a character who was metatextually aware of this third-string status, a more human and sympathetic personality emerged, and he was able to stop being Generic Superhero #283. That’s why if you see a reference to Blue Beetle now, it’s completely framed in terms of his run with the Giffen-Demattheis League– those were the only interesting stories he was ever in.

Your Batman argument makes no sense at all. He stopped showing up, IIRC, because Denny O’Neil was at the time not a fan of Batman being on any team book for any reason. He was in less than I think 10 issues of the original run, and apparently it was planned from the start that he would just get the League on its feet and then retreat into the background. For a character of Batman’s status, it really takes more than 10 issues of anything to even have an impact, let alone matter to his overall perception.

The “clown characters” dismissal is interesting. You’re the guy Dan Didio was trying to please with Max Lord’s crazy-ass death rampage in Countdown to Infinite Crisis, weren’t you? Well, good to know that guy exists somewhere, this is my first sighting of you.

I can’t be bothered to rebut your opinion of Kevin Maguire, because you haven’t actually said anything meaningful about his art other than “wah, ugly!” And, you know, if “chooses to express emotion often” doesn’t strike you as something every artist needs to be doing all the time in graphic storytelling, there’s really no meaningful conversation we can have on art. Whatever you want is far, far away from what I do.

Your 52 argument really makes no sense, because that entire storyline was built upon Booster Gold feeling so terrible about Ted’s death that he blamed himself and wanted to be a better hero because of it. The way it was executed was fun in terms of a modern take on the original Booster Gold concept, which the title really failed to explore well, but his personality is nothing like the guy Jurgens wrote. It’s clearly based on the very specific traits he was given in the Giffen-DeMattheis run.

I don’t really know where your “public eye” argument is coming from, but okay, I’ll bite. Actually, regular exposure is very, very important to keeping a character alive in a shared-continuity superhero universe. Characters who disappear from the general consciousness of the readers end up having to be completely rebuilt by the writers who decide to “bring them back”. The longer they’re gone, the more outdated they become and the less worthwhile it is for writers to bother using them over someone more current who could fill the same role. Even a character appearing regularly in a terrible book is more likely to have staunch fans and a backstory that offers easy story hooks for future writers than someone who hasn’t shown up since, say, 1963. It’s just the nature of the beast.

Doug Mahnke.

Mahnke and Joe Kelly had the best run on the JLA series.

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