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You Decide ’09 – Who Was Your Favorite Penciler During Claremont’s 1st X-Men Run?

You know the bit – each day in October I’ll give you folks a poll question. Each poll will last four days. The results will be posted every Tuesday leading up to (and ending with) Election Day on the first Tuesday in November. Here is the master list of all questions asked so far!


(NOTE: I included those pencilers who worked on X-Men issues during Claremont’s initial run, but only if they actually worked on issues with Claremont – this excluded three artists who worked on issues during Claremont’s run NOT written by Claremont – those three artists were Bob Brown (Bill Mantlo fill-in), Mike Vosburg (Terry Austin-written Annual) and Tom Raney (Fabian Nicieza-written Annual)


For a moment there, there was a four-way tie (after four votes were cast), so the pie chart for the poll actually looked like an X.

It was quite neat.

Also, while obviously it’s just 12 votes, but 12 votes in, someone surprising is winning.

UPDATE: Rob Liefeld has more votes than Dave Cockrum.

Bernard the Poet

October 16, 2009 at 1:49 am

Okay, I haven’t voted for a winner yet (or even a second place), but surely this one is in the bag.

I mean it has got to be John Byrne, right?

There are some very good artists on that list. And Rob Liefeld.

For personal reasons I just had to go with Alan Davis. Just believe he’s one of the more underrated artists in comics and I was a big fan of the early Excalibur run.

Okay, I haven’t voted for a winner yet (or even a second place), but surely this one is in the bag.

I mean it has got to be John Byrne, right?

That’d be my bet, as well.

I’m honestly more curious to see who comes in second, third, etc.

Alan Davis is underrated but this is Byrne all the way.

I can’t believe you put me in a position to vote against Sienkiewicz.

So many great artists, but it all boils down to three words: Dark Phoenix Saga. It’s gotta be John Byrne.

Tough one. I voted for Paul Smith because I love those issues as much as any comic ever printed, but I would be suprised if Byrne doesn’t come out on top. There are a lot of great artists on this list.

Wow…..I’m torn about six different ways. I love JRjr. The Sienkiewicz Dracula was fantastic. Paul Smith’s short run is one of my all time favourites. BWS’s three (I think) issues are not only fantastic art from him, but some of Chris Claremont’s best work. And Marc Silvestri’s X-Men run will always hold a special place in my heart. And then there’s that John Byrne guy too!

I’m going to have to think about this one.

Which issue was the Bob Brown-Bill Mantlo fill-in by the way?

This is a really tough one. I loved Paul Smith’s style…so very clean and sharp, without trying to be fancy. But I had to go with Byrne, ultimately. The stories that Byrne had to work with gave him better scale to be awesome. Byrne got Dark Phoenix and the Savage Land; Smith had…the Morlocks.

D’oh! I missed Alan Davis on the list. Totally would’ve picked him over Byrne. My affection for Alan Davis’ art is irrational and strong.

Eric L. Sofer, the Silver Age Fogey

October 16, 2009 at 4:59 am

Chris McAree: That was X-Men #106; it was literally a fill-in with 105 zooming right around it to 107.

But it was, in its way, the first appearance of Onslaught – so it’s something of a collectible, I suppose.

I remain,
Eric L. Sofer
The Silver Age Fogey

If this included his other mutant work from the 80s it’d be Sienkiwicz, definitely.

Thanks Eric…..that was really bugging me….I was on the verge of taking the fearful trip up to the attic to open my long boxes!

Working under the assumption that Byrne will take well deserved top honors, I voted to get Brent Anderson into the running for second place for his work on God Loves Man Kills.

Yeah, I’m sure Byrne’s got this in the bag. I had to be honest and vote for him on this, even though I heart Sienkiwicz.

Sienkiewicz is one of my two favorite comic book artists, but he only did two X-Men issues, both when he drew like Neal Adams. I love Alan Davis’s art, but more for Excalibur than his few (great-looking) X-Men issues. BWS was one of the best artists to draw the comic, but his work had a “special guest star” quality to it. Cockrum deserves more votes than he will probably get, but he’s not one of my favorite X-Men artists.

I voted for Paul Smith because he breathed new life into the title after Byrne’s departure and Cockrum’s less-than-stellar return. I wish he’d stayed on the book longer, kept the action up, and the downplayed the angst. Byrne will probably (deservedly) win, but Smith was my favorite artist to do more than a handful of issues.

Marc Silvestri was the penciller of the first issues I collected, The Fall of the Mutants, and I loved his art and the team roster. Other favorites of mine are Cockrum and Byrne.

NO ONE is talking about voting for Jim Lee?! What’s wrong with you people?

hard chocies all but the easy one of not voting for liefield. but had to narrowly go with John bryne. for he and chris did the best xmen stories ever that proved what the x-men were about and why they contiue the fight.

This vote hurt. I wanted to vote for Art Adams, but he didn’t really work enough to make a grand impact.

While I love the Claremont/Byrne run, I think that Paul Smith’s art was my favorite, so he got my vote.

I love most of those artists, but John Byrne’s work made me a lifelong comics fan. My vote is for him.

Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

My favourite artist on this list is Sienkiewicz but I had to go with Paul Smith. THose were the issues that turned me into an X-Men fan.

I think JRjr. had the best run of all of them, unfortunatly he just did not have the stories to back him up. Same with Arthur Adams and a couple of others. You can do amazing work but if you drawing the Beyonder in Secret Wars II or Mojo, you’re status changes. If its a mater of overall work, Byrne wins.

But I just reread the title and it says “favorite” so I’m voting for JRjr.

Tom Fitzpatrick

October 16, 2009 at 7:04 am

I’d probably seen 2/3 of the list.
John Byrne, Paul Smith, Bill Sienkiewicz, Walt Simonson, John Romita, Jr., Barry Windsor-Smith, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Lee are some tough list to pick from.

John Byrne would probably win.

I went for Alan Davis, in the end.

When I started reading comics a few years back, one of the first things I read was the essentials volumes of Claremont’s run. I preferred Cockrum to Byrne, actually, although Paul Smith blew me away, and I’ve always loved John Romita Jr. (Though Barry Windsor-Smith and Art Adams were amazing.)

That said, none of them really blew me away like Alan Davis did. [I’m guessing and hoping he might do surprisingly well. He does have plenty of fans, and there’s no one who might really split his vote, like Cockrum/Byrne, or Liefeld/Lee/Silvestri later on.]

Tom Fitzpatrick

October 16, 2009 at 7:07 am

Hmm, I also forgot to add: Alan Davis, Jackson Guice, Brent Anderson, and George Perez.

The rest, either I hadn’t seen or didn’t like.

I had to go with Byrne even though I sort of didn’t want to. I know it says favorite, so that may not make any sense, but… it’s weird. I like Byrne’s art a lot in these issues. And they’re probably my favorite issues in Claremont’s run. But I do have a soft spot for Paul Smith’s art. And even though I didn’t like Cockrum’s art when I was a kid, I find myself enjoying it a lot more now. So I wanted really to vote for one of those two guys but I forced myself to vote for Byrne instead.

Oh, the internet is a confusing place.

Voted for Byrne. While I like Cockrum’s character designs the best, and Paul Smith’s art was more realistic, Byrne was the most balanced overall. Loved Adams and Davis too. In general they’re all good, EXCEPT Sienkiewicz- in fact, his “ink-blot style” art drove me AWAY from New Mutants!! (To be fair, that was a later phase of his work, the Dracula Annual wasn’t that bad.) But seriously Bill? The fans ARE supposed to be able to tell what is going on, and not feel like they are visiting a Modern Art museum. :(

Dave Cockrum – no question. I like Byrne, and I liked Paul Smith too. JRJr actually drove me away from the X-Men. But Dave made them who they were (when they were good – a long time ago)

As much as I DON’T like Claremont’s writing, those are some fantastic artists on that list. I know Bryne will probably win, but the question is who is your “favorite” not who “defined” the run. I’d guess I would have to go with Jim Lee, being such a huge fan of his work. Plus, he is the penciller on the best selling comic book of all time, so perhaps that will usher in votes as well.

Very interesting poll today, Brian.

I had to go with art adams. Jim Lee deserves attention but its gotta be Byrne really.

We could have several contests with several winners on this topic. Favorite artist, definitive artist, most iconic artist, best artist, etc.

Byrne. He and Perez were my favorite artists when I was growing up. There are better artists on the list, but it was Byrne’s art that got me hooked on X-Men.

So many good choices here, but I went with Silvestri here. That’s the art I remember most clearly, and the timeframe of X-Men stories that holds the dearest place in my heart. But it’s almost like a six-way tie.

As much as I love some of these artists, Adams and Silvestri really defined that era in my mind. I had to go with Adams in the end, though; the cover to #218 is a good example of why (http://uncannyxmen.net/db/issues/showquestion.asp?fldAuto=1029).

Am I the only one voting Marc Silvestri? I mean, I love Byrne’s work and Jim Lee was the artist on the first X-book I bought when I was a kid, but there’s something about Silvestri’s X-men I just love. He’s one of the few Image founders who’s artwork I still enjoy.

I HAD to vote for Paul Smith, not just because he made the X-Men a great read, but because his art was such a breath of fresh air. Crisp storytelling, easily identifiable characters and probably the last artist to smooth out Claremont’s “All over the place” storytelling. It’s a shame we don’t get more work from him.

It was tough but in the end i had to go with Barry Windsor-Smith.

I voted for John Romita Jr.

Had to go with Byrne.

11 artists without a vote so far. I’m wondering how many (if any) will be shut out entirely.

This is definitely the toughest choice you’ve given us so far. My initial thought was Silvestri, because he was the artist when I first started collecting X-Men, and his artwork and that line-up will always be high on my list. On the other hand, Art Adams, Alan Davis and George Perez are 3 of the only artists who can make me purchase a comic based solely on the art (I’m much more of a writer guy.) So in the end I had to go with Art Adams, but man, it was a close race.

Hey Brian can we get a Cool Comics Moment for X-Men 159? That one issue earned Sienkiewicz my vote.

Oy…. tough choices but I liked the synergy of the team better during the Byrne/Claremont era. And that it has the Phoenix saga.

This list is far too comprehensive. All you needed was Cockrum, Byrne, Smith, Romita, Silvestri and Lee. These were the only “regular” artists. An argument could be made for Adams, Leonardi, Davis and Windsor-Smith, based on a good amount of fill-ins and annuals (and great quality, of course). But a lot of the guys you mentioned did only one issue, and some of those were reallybad, too. I guess it’s fair, but it seems a little pointless.

This was mostly a choice between Byrne and Paul Smith. In the end I went with Byrne, simply because I’ve only seen a few Smith issues. Most of the others only did one or two issues, so they really shouldn’t count. (I did like Sienkiewicz’s Dracula story, though.) I actually thought pretty hard about picking Alan Davis, because his Excalibur stuff was so great. But since I can’t remember ever seeing an X-Men by him, I had to reject that idea.

Let it never be said that I never gave Byrne props. There are artists on that list I like better than him in general, but when it comes to Claremont’s X-Men he’s clearly the guy.

Too many people.

I voted for Byrne, but I’m also a big fan of John Romita, Jr and Alan Davis and Art Adams and so many of the artists in this list.

It’s a pretty good field, with several powerhouse artists and a few underrated artists in there as well.

I’ve read very little of Claremonts X-men run so I just picked my favourite out of the list. Simonson gets my vote.

So many great artists…this should be done with brackets…but I love Byrne and Paul Smith.

Tom from West Chester

October 16, 2009 at 2:18 pm

I voted Byrne, too with Lee and Cockrum as my runners-up but if you made it a poll of favorite penciller from that same group without the Claremont/ X-men restriction I ‘d say JRJR.

Is anyone else voting for Rick Leonardi?

Hard to choose between Cockrum and Byrne, who in my heart of hearts are really the ONLY X-men artists for me.

I love the Byrne issues, but ended up going with Cockrum. His first run was so defining and his character designs were fantastic. He truly made the X-men the spookiest-looking team in comics, just a real unique presence that deserved the label “uncanny” (which ironically didn’t come up ’til after he left).

I mean, nobody had pupils! Plus, epaulets and knee-high boots never looked so good.

And I almost forgot his Imperial Guard a.k.a. the Legion of Superheroes if they were created to haunt your nightmares (again, pupil-less and creepy).

His second stint wasn’t as magical, but I did very much enjoy the Brood saga (esp. ish 162, the solo Wolverine issue with a great grab-bag of alien monsters).

Byrne deserves to win, but I was well and truly hooked on X-men by the time he arrived (and happily stuck around after he left) thanks to Dave Cockrum.

Oh yeah, and Cockrum drew some great covers too, even well into Byrne’s run. Even if Colossus was front and center on a disproportionate number, it was hard to complain, ’cause those covers were great.

i went with Sienkiewicz because i love his work on New Mutants and that was really the best reason to read that book. His art made me glad to be a comics reader.

Brian, can we get a ‘Least favorite artist with Claremont’? Cause there are some guys on the list who were totally, irredeemably awful *CoughBretBlevinsCough*


Not fair.

I went with Paul Smith cuz his issues made me passionate about the characters, but…


are all deserving …

If there were separate options for Cockrum’s first and second runs, I would have picked Cockrum 1, but his second run pulls his score down for me, so I went with Byrne (as I can’t really hold the man’s personality in latter years against the work he did back in the day).

Other than that, Paul Smith is the only one in that list whose work I really care for all that much as far as X-Work is concerned. Even the ones who I consider myself a fan of, their X-stuff tends to be my least favourite of what they’ve done.

Wow… that’s a lot of artists. John Byrne is the obvious choice, and I really like how JRJR’s style developed during his run. But when I liquidated my Uncanny collection a few years ago, there were only a handful of issues I kept, and most of them had the same artist:

Barry Windsor-Smith.

BYRNE. No question. Bill S and Cockrum . Alan Davis? Paul Smith? JRjr? Mike GOLDEN [emphasis added]?

Don’t make me CHOOSE. Otherwise, it’s BYRNE til Tuesday. AND BEYOND!

Not a lotta love… I voted Byrne, Though I am not super in love with Byrne art it was at its best on X-Men, thanks to Terry Austin I suspect. I am even less in love with Sienkiewicz art, unlike others here. He can be quite fantastic, or simply fails to move me at all. I was excited to see his stylistic breakthrough on Moon Knight, but then I just kind of lost the love. I should take a second look at his X-Men work, but then I really don’t have a lot of X-Men love overall.

A spectacular list of artists, but a really easy choice for me. Alan Davis is at the top of my list to draw anything. Not even close.

Taylor Porter
October 16, 2009 at 11:30 am

This list is far too comprehensive. All you needed was Cockrum, Byrne, Smith, Romita, Silvestri and Lee. These were the only “regular” artists. An argument could be made for Adams, Leonardi, Davis and Windsor-Smith, based on a good amount of fill-ins and annuals (and great quality, of course). But a lot of the guys you mentioned did only one issue, and some of those were reallybad, too. I guess it’s fair, but it seems a little pointless.

I agree. I do think Davis et. al. deserve consideration (Leonardi would also be in my top 5) because they did a good amount of stuff and many of them were pivotal stories, but a lot of the options left me scratching my head. I know Perez is a legend, but as far as I can remember the only X-Men he did was the one annual. And when did Butch Guice work with with Claremont on the first X-Men run? I know he was the original artist on X-Factor, but that wasn’t Claremont or (strictly speaking) X-Men.

Did Bill Sienkiewicz draw more than one issue of X-men?

I went with Art Adams. The top vote getters are great, but those Art Adams issues rocked and are my favourites.

Once again, this is a tough question. Do you mean my favorite artist of all those people on the list, or the artist who is my favorite match with Claremont and the X-Men?

Perez is my favorite artist ever, and the one issue I saw him do is definitely, for me, art-wise, better than what Byrne did, but how could I vote against Byrne when he put out more work on the X-Men?

I voted for Dave Cockrum. I love his work. Really, he was the man who created so many of the characters that Claremont would subsequently develop to such perfection over the next two decades. But at the same time, I can’t dismiss John Byrne’s contributions, either. So for me he runs a very close second to Cockrum.

I see this being a generational thing. Voting based on when you came in or the first stuff you read. I could be wrong but that’s how I voted. The stuff I came in with is how I always visualize the X-Men and how I judge everything after it. Classics are classics though so I could be wrong.

Tough choices. For me it comes down to Paul Smith for the end of the Brood and Rogue/Wolverine in Japan, Byrne for the Imperial Guard on the moon, BWS for Lady Deathstrike’s hunt or Romita for the ‘off-duty’ brawl between Peter and Juggy. Paul Smith in a close one, the art of #173 matched the story as well as anything I’ve bothered to read.

My heart wanted me to vote for Windsor-Smith, because I love every single picture he’s ever drawn, but I had to listen to my stupid brain and vote for Byrne.

I love the Byrne issues ….. but the Smith ones are sooooo good so that’s what I voted

My first issue of X-Men was issue #199, and then I went backwards. I love JRJ and Mr. Byrne, but Paul Smith had such an aura to his issues. He’s never even been successful before or since, that I know of, but his 10 issues were the height of X-Men to me for the seven or eight years I was collecting ( and read issue #94 to #275 when I got sick of it).
Paul Smith got my vote. But I love Byrne, and John Bolton too. Was he on the list? Bolton’s Classic X-Men stories framed a lot of my Byrne love.


I am at an utter loss for words….. am I wrong here?… isn’t the whole reason the X-Men are the force they are in popular culture today because of the works of two men (no, not Lee/Kirby)? Claremont and BYRNE. Come on people, their run stands up against any run any time. X-Men v1 #109 is what started me collecting comics( to be fair it wasn’t because of Claremont/Byrnre as much as it was my first “To Be Continued” issue. I was 6.), I than collect every single issue of Claremont’s run. I’ve seen every issue of all of these artists. My favorite issue of the run is actually #166 ” Live Free or Die” by Pul Smith, but Byrne’s work LITERALLY DEFINES the run. I can’t believe this is actually up for a vote, or that the vote isn’t The Favorite Penciler OTHER than Byrne. I’m flabbergasted. You guys are making me feel old and I’m only f***ing 38. Byrne, Cockrum, Smith, Art Adams(1 issue),Bill Sienkiewicz (2 issues), George Perez (1 issue), Alan Davis, Windsor-Smith, the Homage guys.

I had to go with Dave Cockrum, the man who defined the look of the new team, and did it with style.

Lobstah Johnston

October 17, 2009 at 9:04 pm

The question is who is your favourite penciler, not who is best or most influential, or historically significant. That being said my vote does go to Byrne because he was my absolute favourite artist at Marvel in the late 70s early 80s and his X-men run took was the state of the art at the time. Still I don’t see the need to apologize whoever you voted for. Favourite is favourite.

Sienkiewicz just for the New Mutants work more than anything.

voted for byrne. too hard not to. allthough i must admit my comic art preferences do run towards the traditional, what some might consider mundane. among many other hilights i think byrnecaptured wolverine the best – so many artists forget that wolvie is hairy and short. recall when wolverine pops his claws at storm and says. “that can be arranged babe,” he barely comes up to her chest.

claremont would be my second choice…some psychedelic pop-arty stuff (think jean bringing in the shuttle).

never liked paul smith, his supposed “clean lines” make for funny lookin faces IMHO (particularly noses – check out kitty’s invisible nose on the famous “professor xavier is a jerk” panel). not quite as off-putting as rob liefield’s feet, but still disconcerting.

and JRjr drove me from the x-men…the hair…the costumes…but to be fair many of my issues with JRjr’s art might be symptoms of the era. are the big shouldered blouses over tights, kitty’s afromullet, etc. just there because it was the late 80s? who knows.

brainfart…meant “cockrum” not clairemont.

Late voter, late voter… Done! ^^

Extremely difficult not to vote for Byrne — but had to give the nod to Paul Smith, one of my favorites of the period. BWS and Alan Davis get nods, and many of the others were darned good, too. It’s a tribute to the title how many great artists there were there, even after Claremont went all, um, Claremonty.

This is hard. My favorite stories were under Silvestri and JRJR, but they weren’t necessarily the ones with the best art. And since this is specifically for Uncanny I can’t justify picking Davis or Sienkwicz because they didn’t really do much art on that book. Expanding it to his ancillary work would make it a close race between them for me for Excalibur and New Mutants. But, the more I think of it, the more I liked JRJR’s art during that time, especaily his Nightcrawler. So I think that’s who I’ll vote for.

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