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CSBG Archive

Top 50 Comic Book Artists #50-41

The countdown begins now!!!

Here are the first ten artists that you voted as your favorites of all-time. Click here to see the first ten writers on the countdown. Click here to see a master list of all artists listed so far!

Through a slight mistake on my part, I accidentally had an extra artist on the list. My apologies for the confusion.

51. Gabriel Ba – 212 points (2 first place votes)

Brazilian artist Gabriel Ba really got everyone’s attention when he co-created the acclaimed Image series Casanova with writer Matt Fraction.

Ba’s brother, Fabio Moon, took over from Ba after the first story arc.

Ba then co-created the series Umbrella Academy with writer Gerard Way…

That’s two-for-two in terms of acclaimed, award-winning series by Ba!

More recently, Ba and his brother wrote and drew their own mini-series for Vertigo called Daytripper…

Here is a sample page by Ba…

50. Jaime Hernandez – 213 (3 first place votes)

In 1982, Jaime Hernandez co-created the anthology series Love and Rockets, along with his brothers Gilbert and Mario.

Jaime’s stories followed the adventures of a group of women as they both had wacky misadventures around the world but also had very down-to-Earth problems back in the States. His most famous creations are the two main leads of these stories, Hopey and Maggie.

Jaime has been working on Love and Rockets (and Hopey and Maggie) for nearly 30 years now.

Just recently, Love and Rockets re-debuted as an extra-sized annual.

Here’s a sample page by Jaime….

Voter Travis gave his reasons for voting for Jaime:

Xaime synthesizes the Archie style with other great cartoonists, and creates his own wonderful worlds. Who can read his stuff and not fall in love with Maggie and Hopey? Always beautiful to look at.

Voter Mario gave his reasons for voting for Jaime:

I admit, i’ve only just recently read my first Love and Rockets comics and what struck me the most was Gilbert’s storytelling and Jaime’s art. I dare you to find anyone else in the world who can draw such beautiful characters (i’ll admit, i’m talking mostly his women) without treating them as objects. He doesn’t draw idealized versions of women, he doesn’t draw women drawings, he draws actual women. He’s even able to evoke their personality with their body language! Look at the cover of The Education of Hopey Glass to see what I mean.

49. Sean Phillips – 222 (1 first place votes)

Sean Phillips got his work for DC over 20 years ago, before DC even HAD a Vertigo line of comics!

When the Vertigo line DID debut, Sean was right there on the front lines, drawing one of the new launches that coincided with the line becoming known as Vertigo, Kid Eternity.

He followed that up with a long stint on Hellblazer…

Next, he did an acclaimed run on Wildcats with writer Joe Casey.

Phillips followed up THAT accliamed collaboration with another one, as he began working on Sleeper, with writer Ed Brubaker.

Phillips and Brubaker would soon create two new titles together.

First, though, Phillips drew the smash-hit mini-series Marvel Zombies, along with writer Robert Kirkman…

Back with Brubaker, Phillips co-created two creator-owned titles with Brubaker for Marvel’s ICON imprint.


and Incognito…

He and Brubaker trade off arcs on the different titles. I should mention that Phillips’ work has gotten even BETTER since he began working with colorist Val Staples, who has really added a lot of great texture to Phillips’ already outstanding artwork.

Here’s a sample page by Phillips…

48. Francis Manapul – 230 (8 first place votes)

Francis Manapul broke on to the scene with an extended run on Top Cow’s Witchblade…

Soon after his long run ended around Witchblade #75, Manapul moved on to DC Comics, where he worked on the Legion of Superheroes with writer Jim Shooter…

He has been at DC ever since, and the evolution and maturation of his art has been nothing less than stunning.

First with his run on Adventure Comics with writer Geoff Johns…

and now on to the new Flash series, also with Johns…

Manapul’s artwork has always been dynamic, but as he’s gotten older he’s become a much more accomplished storyteller. It’s great to see an artist progress.

Story continues below

Here’s a sample page…

47. David Finch – 242 points

David Finch was still a very young man when he was given the honor of taking over as the artist on Top Cow’s then-flagship title, Cyberforce.

Finch stayed with Top Cow for the rest of the 1990s, creating a few series for them, including Ascension…

and Aphrodite IX…

Throughout it all, he continued to work inker Matt “Batt” Banning.

Eventually, Finch left Top Cow and came to Marvel, where he was put right to work on a high-profile assignment, Ultimate X-Men.

The writer was Mark Millar at first and then Brian Michael Bendis.

Bendis and Finch then launched New Avengers, which quickly became Marvel’s #1 selling book.

After a short stint on Moon Knight…

Finch’s last major assignment with Marvel was Ultimatum, written by Jeph Loeb. This major event drastically altered the Ultimate Universe forever!

Besides a few projects here and there (including X-Men: Second Coming #1), Finch was finished at Marvel, instead moving over to DC Comics, where he has done some Batman interior work…

leading up to his brand-new ongoing series written AND penciled by Finch (who is now working with inker Scott Williams)!

Here is a sample page by Finch…

46. Doug Mahnke – 249 points (5 first place votes)

Doug Mahnke got his start at Dark Horse Comics, working on a number of projects, especially Mask-related stuff (as the madcap style of Mask stories really suited Mahnke’s offbeat brand of art).

After a number of years at Dark Horse, Mahnke eventually made his way to DC Comics, working with his Mask-collaborator, John Arcudi, on a new series at DC, Major Disaster…

While the series got good notices, it did not sell a lot. However, Mahnke’s art was so loved by DC that they have not let him leave in the thirteen years since Major Bummer came out!

First he was given the regular penciling gig on Superman: The Man of Steel (the first new regular penciler after original artist Jon Bogdanove)….

and that led to an even HIGHER profile gig, when he and writer Joe Kelly took over JLA!

After their JLA run ended, Doug next found himself as the regular artist on Batman…

Over the next few years, Doug drew too many DC projects for me to note here, although I will spotlight Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein, as it must have been great to have been hand chosen by Peter Tomasi and Grant Morrison to be one of the Seven Soldiers artist.

More recently, Doug has been doing dynamite work as the regular artist on Green Lantern, with writer Geoff Johns…

Here’s s sample page by Mahnke…

45. Mike Deodato – 251 points (5 first place votes)

Brazilian artist Mike Deodato first came to the attention of US audiences when he inked Tom Derenick’s pencils on Malibu’s The Protectors in the early 1990s…

Soon, Deodato would take the comic world by storm as a penciler. First, with a popular run on Wonder Woman, where he helped introduce a new Wonder Woman with writer William Messner-Loebs…

then a stint on the Avengers…

as well as an acclaimed (if short) run on Thor with writer Warren Ellis.

At one point in the mid-90s, Deodato was working on upwards of four comics a month!

By the end of the decade, though, his profile had lessened a bit. He had a run on Elektra for Marvel, but at the turn of the 21st Century he was not doing a whole lot in mainstream comics.

This changed early in the new century when Deodato debuted a new art style…

Soon Deodato was right back into the thick of things. First with a run on Incredible Hulk during Bruce Jones’ tenure on the book and then, most notably, a run on Amazing Spider-Man with writer J. Michael Straczynski!

After some high profile temporary jobs (like a stint on New Avengers), Deodato reunited with Warren Ellis to work on Thunderbolts.

That led into Dark Avengers with Brian Michael Bendis…

which, in turn, led to his current project, Secret Avengers with Ed Brubaker…

Here is a sample page by Deodato…

44. Steve Dillon – 253 points (2 first place votes)

Steve Dillon made his comic debut in 1991 with a run on Animal Man for DC Comics…

Story continues below

I kid, England, I kid!! I just wanted to see if your heads would explode.

In actuality, by the time Dillon came over to the States, he was an accomplished comic book creator of over a decade’s worth of British comics, from the late 1970s and early 1980s at Marvel UK, to Warrior…

to a long run at 2000 A.D. on a number of different projects.

Eventually, though, he DID come to work for DC Comics. First on Animal Man and next, in a major turning point in his career, on Hellblazer. It was here that he first began to work with writer Garth Ennis…

After their Hellblazer run ended, Ennis and Dillon created one of the biggest Vertigo hits of the 1990s, Preacher…

After Preacher ended, the pair took their talents to Marvel for a popular and acclaimed Punisher mini-series…

Dillon worked on the follow-up ongoing series, but eventually he moved on to work on other projects.

He worked with Daniel Way on a couple of Bullseye mini-series…

which likely led to him working with Way on the very high profile Wolverine: Origins series for a few years.

After a quick reunion with Ennis for a Punisher mini-series, Dillon began working on a NEW Punisher series, this time with writer Jason Aaron.

While that book is on a bit of a hiatus, he is working on a Ultimate Comics: Avengers series with writer Mark Millar.

Here is sample page by Dillon…

43. Paul Pope – 255 points (3 first place votes)

Paul Pope really began to make a name for himself in the world of indie comics in the early 1990s, especially with his series THB…

He worked at Dark Horse on some slightly higher profile stuff…

but it was likely his work in the late 1990s for DC that really got his name on the map, as he followed up a quick one-off Batman Chronicles issue (how amazing is that cover?)…

with a Vertigo mini-series, Heavy Liquid…

that followed with another Vertigo mini-series, 100%…

He worked on a number of various projects over the next few years, including a one-off issue of Spider-Man’s Tangled Web…

In a two-year span from 2005 and 2006, Pope returned to DC for two of his most popular works, the award-winning one-shot Solo…

and the amazing Batman mini-series, Batman Year 100…

Most recently, Pope did a brilliant Adam Strange series in Wednesday Comics…

Here is a sample page by Pope…

42. Ryan Ottley – 261 points (7 first place votes)

Ottley took over on Invincible after issue #7, when the book’s original artist, Cory Walker, left the title.

Years later, Ottley is STILL the artist on the book (which is written by Robert Kirkman), having carved out a remarkable run on the book!

Recently, Ottley also helped launch a new Image series, Haunt, co-written by Kirkman and Todd McFarlane, with Greg Capullo finishing Ottley’s breakdowns…

Here is a sample page by Ottley…

40. Mike Allred – 262 points (2 first place votes)

Here’s a sample page by Allred…

That’s the list for today!

Come back tomorrow for the next five artists on the countdown!

As a general note, do not use the comments here to bash creators. It seems that a lot of posters need to tone their rhetoric down about 150 notches. If you think a creator is too high or too low, feel free to say it, but just keep it civil. -BC


See, I don’t have a problem with someone like Manapul ending up here, but I’m surprised that an artist who hasn’t done a TON of work is in someone’s top ten. That’s like saying Lady Gaga is your favorite singer of ALL TIME. Shouldn’t we see what else Manapul can do before anointing him a top 10 artist of ALL TIME?

I love these lists. They’re so much fun.

These lists are fun, although I hope we get some pictures(at the very least, of some of the artists work)!

@Greg Agreed, but think about it this way: what if you’d only been reading comics for two or three years? I remember thinking I knew A LOT about funnybooks at that point (I really did not! I was reading Youngblood and Cyberforce for Gawd Sake’s!) and I could have easily made a list of my own top ten. It’s a bit baffling for people who’ve been reading a while (Ottley with SEVEN first place finishes?! I love the guy, but…). It’s definitely going to skew toward contemporary, I’m just hoping to see my ten somewhere.

Los Bros in the high 40s of both lists…probably doesn’t bode well for a few other names on my ballot. Ba’ and Philips just missed the cut for me, and I honestly forgot about Pope and Mahnke, both of whom I should have considered. Sooo tough.

Thanks for doing this Brian!

Not to mention Francis Manupal has been doing comic book art for ten years now.

Wow, this list already took an unexpectedly weird turn. I suddenly find myself wondering if Kirby/Eisner/Miller/Adams will be the only non-contemporary artists on the list. Bill SIenkiewicz, Barry Windsor-Smith, Dave Gibbons, John Byrne, and Mike Mignola all made my top ten, but I’m wondering if any of them even have a shot with a guy like Francis Manapul getting 8 first place votes. (And I’m with Burgas- I find nothing wrong with his work, only the notion that 8 people think he’s the best ever.)

@Third Man – Keep in mind that this is a list of people’s FAVORITES — not a list of THE BEST EVER. While “Citizen Kane” may be the greatest film of all time, it’s certainly not my favorite film of all time. The two lists will — and should — end up being quite different.

I think people have a skewed view of what makes an artist “new” or “contemporary.”

Seems to me that some fans feel that if an artist only blew up in popularity after they themselves were already in to the comics scene, then that artist will forever be seen as “new.”

I put Dustin Nguyen really high on my list, and despite his recent popularity, hes absolutely not some fresh-faced kid.

The list will almost certainly be biased towards artists who are currently working, because they are still actively building on what came before them. But many of those still working have been doing so for several decades.

I myself am a bit worried, because I feel like if there aren’t any Japanese artists in the bottom 10, then it seems unlikely they will rank anywhere else. Regardless of the differences in approach and publication for manga, the likes of Hiroaki Samura, Kentaro Miura and Naoki Urasawa, deserve to stand amongst the best of western artists.

All in all though, I think pretty much everyone on the list so far is worth celebrating, They are fantastic artists.

David Finch? Seriously?

Doug Mahnke should totally be much higher up this list. (Ba and Hernandez too, but especially Mahnke.)

Ottley and Manapul are fine artists….but they shouldn’t be anyone’s number 1 of all time…..come on now…

AJ, manga is (maybe 1% of CBR readers follow) not going to be represented on this countdown. Its not a great injustice, IMHO.

I thought we were going to get a top 100 for both artists and writers? Anyway, this is still going to be great fun.

I’m as surprised as anyone to see Manapul, Finch, & Ottley, but I remember being blown away by Chaykin, Keown, Colan, etc. the first time I saw their work. A few artists (like Sienkiewicz, who was on my list) took a while to get used to, then like, then love, but visual art can dig itself into one’s brain quickly and strongly.

AJ Ryan, I don’t think there’s a ton of crossover between manga readers and Western comics readers. I like some of the manga that I’ve read, but much of it still seems like an unfamiliar way to approach comics (not bad, just different from what I’ve always gravitated toward). The differences between the art of most super-hero comics, other popular genre comics, Western indies, and manga are telling. There are some manga titles I will try (Detroit Metal City looks funny, I’ve heard great things about Pluto & 20th Century Boys, and I’m intrigued by Within the Light), but it’s outside of my comfort zone. Despite knowing that several manga artists are great (Otomo is the first name that comes to mind), maybe even better than some of the artists I voted for, none of them are personal favorites.

Aaron K- I understand that it’s a list of favorites and not best, but you need to keep in mind that it’s not a list of “favorites right now,” it’s a list of “favorites EVER.” The best vs. favorite distinction is an easy one to understand and account for, but even being aware we’re dealing in favorites, it’s difficult to fathom that some of these guys are people’s favorites ever.

Manapul has been working for a while, sure, but he’s not been a high profile guy until recently, so it surprises me. It’s as if someone voted for Yildiray Cinar as their favorite artist ever – again, I wouldn’t have a problem with it, but it would strike me as odd. If you’ve only been reading comics for a few years, it makes more sense, but I was just struck by the fact that someone who hasn’t done a lot of high profile work not only made the list, but got eight first place votes. It seems odd.

I also suspect no manga artists will make it, or indeed few artists whose main work is outside Marvel-DC-Image. Hernandez brothers and Daniel Clowes probably have the highest profile of those, and they showed up already in 40s.
I’m kind of curious to see if Carl Barks or Robert Crumb will make it…

Well, it’s a CSBG poll and CSBG coverage for manga or other stuff that is not American superheroes is marginal (there is some coverage, but marginal), so I suspect it is likewise marginal reading for people following the blog.
(and in case someone wants to fume about this comment, I am not making an “ugly American” dig, just pointing out a bias…)

Yaaaay more details/pictures!

Now after this, the incredibly handsome Mr.Cronin can finally finish that uncanny Top 50 X-men write-ups, right? Right!?

*sigh* A man can dream…

Also, I TOTALLY forgot Bill SIenkiewicz.

Now I just feel bad.

Manapul has eight brothers and sisters…………zing!

Finch being higher than a Hernandez brother is a goddamn travesty.


Regarding manga I think you’d be surprised. I’m not the typical CSBG reader–I don’t really read many superhero comics these days–but I do buy a lot of manga. I’m hoping that Tezuka, Oda or Urasawa make the list since they’re all pretty well-known in the US.

The David Finch thing bothers me way more than the Manapul and Ottley thing. Manapul may not have done a lot, but what he’s done has already made me a huge fan. But Finch, he’s one of those artists whose art is just busy for the sake of being busy, like Ethan Van Sciver. And all those scrunchy squinty expressions and excess hatching lines everywhere.

I’m fine with the rest of the list though, especially Sean Phillips.

I don’t know if what I’m trying to get across when I say excess hatching lines is clear, but it’s that weird chicken scratching he puts over all his surfaces that I guess is supposed to be shading or texture in an effort to make the art seem like it has more depth and detail, but tcomes off (to me at least) as just unnecessary business and artistic clutter.

Thomas Morrison

December 4, 2010 at 2:15 pm

I suspect that Crumb is a big enough name that he will make the list. Crumb seems to have transcended his roots like no one else. And deservedly so. I think he has gotten stronger and stronger over the years to the point that his new stuff REALLY IS his best stuff. Also he has jumped his ‘underground’ roots and now is illustrating the Bible for G** ‘huh’, for peats sake!
What I’m wondering is if my #2 writer, Art Speigelmen, will make either list.
I’m glad to see Jamie and Paul Pope on this list.
I guess you need to expect current popular creators will make the list. Just think what the list would look like if it was made in 1993. And lets see how many of them will make this list.

based upon the samples shown above only Manapul and Finch are interesting/good. (note: I won’t judge an artist by his covers, as that is probably their 100% effort, it’s the storytelling aspect that matters, Immonen is a crappy artist, but the inside panel on each New Avengers is always good, while the rest of the art in the book is weak quickly thrown together garbage, that shouldn’t be on a book that is the flagship title for a publisher)

well here is hoping that Infantino, Perez and Epting do well.

And the award for biggest retard on the internet goes to…

I’ll agree with Adam K about the placement of Jaime Hernandez being a travesty (hell just the notion of A HERNANDEZ BROTHER at second-to-last-place is just gross), and with T’s points about what makes Finch’s art just kind of ugly, regardless of the guy’s apparent ability.

And “capt usa(jim)” you have terrible taste.

Good stuff, nice to see Ottley on there, and Dillon draws a mean Dredd!

Thomas Morrison

December 4, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Cap USA (Jim) – “based upon the samples shown above only Manapul and Finch are interesting/good. (note: I won’t judge an artist by his covers, as that is probably their 100% effort, it’s the storytelling aspect that matters, Immonen is a crappy artist, but the inside panel on each New Avengers is always good, while the rest of the art in the book is weak quickly thrown together garbage, that shouldn’t be on a book that is the flagship title for a publisher)”

!?! Does this mean that you like Manapul and Finch and not Hernandez and Pope? ….How interesting. And why the talk of Immonen? Was he somewhere on the list that I didn’t see?
I do agree with you on Epting and Perez though.

I really didn’t like Dedato’s Avengers work (really, really, really…) but that Spidy page is pretty cool. He’s come a long way. But then again Epting has morphed himself into a completely new persona since his Avengers days as well. And I’m sure we’ll see later on in the list too, and Deservedly so.

Hm, just one from my list so far (Jaime), who’s also the one person on this page who even would have occurred to me. I do enjoy Ottley’s work, though I didn’t know him by name. Never much liked Finch or Deodato, although I like Deodato’s stuff much better now than his (ultra-)’90s work. I have a gnawing suspicion that the Golden Age artists I voted for aren’t even going to show up in the Top 50, but we’ll see.

Really? Ottley is one of my favorite artists of all time! That’s the best sample they could get for him? That is years old, while its not bad, he is so much better now.

Odd place to throw in a LeBron reference, DL&M …

Nice to see Ottley get some love. Sure he’s probably not one of the 50 best of all time, but he draws great action and expressive faces and body language, and is a really fun cartoonist.

Three of my top ten!

Gabriel Ba, Jaime Hernandez and Paul Pope. Man, I didn’t expect any of those three to show up on the first day! Well, i’m just glad they still made the list. They all definitely deserve to be on it.

the Hernandez is ok, but the sample was underwhelming in my opinion. Again not looking at covers, just the interior samples, I know Hernandez has better stuff out there. The sample page for Pope is ugly. Deodato and Dillon weren’t up when I posted, again just from the samples, Deodato looks nice, Dillon seems so-so… and Otlley has got to have better examples out there.

Almost all the covers look good, which is why I don’t want to judge based upon covers. (as to why I mentioned Immonen, just saying that when any artist puts effort into their work it’s going to look good, but you have to look at their monthly work, and he was the first example I had of a guy who when he wants can do good stuff, but when you pick up his monthly work the interiors are rushed and unfinished)

Steve Dillon made his comic debut in 1991 with a run on Animal Man for DC Comics…

I kid, England, I kid!! I just wanted to see if your heads would explode.

Ha! You got me there, right before my skull went all Scanners!

Anyway, I’m digging this list so far… though I agree with T.about the FInch thing. But alas, I guess he does have a rather avid following…

Immonen might just be the best artist Marvel has right now, even if I think he keeps being just very good and rarely ventures into “brilliant”. Also, his art on New Avengers would look better with less garish coloring.

Regarding the top 50 list, I’d say that Jaime is the only artist mentioned so far who belongs on one (even if the sample page isn’t very remarkable).

capt usa(jim),

To give you an idea of what people see in Hernandez’s art, look at the sample page. The women have different body types. Their body language and facial expressions carry a lot of information. The use of silhouette, lighting, and negative space in the last tier of panels fit the story. His stories, and the accompanying art, have originality and emotional content not found in most mainstream artists.

Finch, for all his strengths, has trouble with faces, body language, and composition. He doesn’t do naturalistic interactions between characters, making non-action scenes static. Even action scenes can be unclear, without the flow an artist like Perez, Immonen, or Dillon can provide.

I’ve noticed that most of the “hot” super-hero artists whose work features busy surfaces, and anatomy going toward action movie hero features only with more exaggeration. They are good at individual panels, especially full-page shots. Nothing wrong with that, but there are many, many types of comic book art out there. Wholesale dismissal, which I can be guilty of (e.g. manga, JR Jr.), can keep a reader from broadening his or her horizons, and he or she will miss out on some really good comics.

Y’know, I don’t agree with some of these selections, and some bits are mindboggling (Manapul gets 8 first place votes?), but it is voter’s FAVORITES. If this was a greatest of all time, yeah, it’s a different story, but if people like some of these artists, hey, more power to them.

A lot of the people on this list would have made my long list (past 10, that is)

And wow, I got quoted about Xaime! He was my #6.

I bet if someone here pimped their columns about comics that people should own, perhaps some people who voted for “newbies” might look into other artists? Hint hint, Burgas?

I mean, Ba’s only been big in the states for about 5 years, but look at what he’s done. Why put limits on our votes, man?!

Six of these guys are great. Two of them I have no opinion on. One has vastly improved over the years. And one of them is David Finch.

Just remember alot of these guys would also show up on 50 worst artists list too

The Crazed Spruce

December 4, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Well, I still haven’t cracked my picks yet, but I had Dillon, Mahnke, and at least a dozen others tied for 11th.

Mike Deodato made the cut? SERIOUSLY? Okay, I’ll give him some credit for evolving his artwork over the years, but the bulk of his work is like the worst of Image in the 90’s. (Replace “worst” with “average”, and you get my feelings on David Finch, though I put him a few notches ahead of Deodato.)

Not really familiar with any of the rest, but that’s probably as much my fault as anything. (Doesn’t help that I never lived near a comic shop.)

And hey, I never knew that Major Disaster had his own series, let alone that Doug Mahnke drew it! Weird that the news is tacked onto a cover to “Major Bummer“, though….

Can´t help notice that most of the pictures illustrating the Steve Dillon bit are covers that were not draw by Dillon… we have Bolland, Quesada, Deodato, Fabry.

Although I understand that the idea was to illustrate the titles Dillon was working in, I think it would be a nice idea to do so with images actually draw by the artist, even if they´re not from covers. It keeps more in tone with the whole concept of this series of posts, offers wider opportunities to display the artist´s talents and maintains confusion at bay.

Probably cases like Dillon, who did a lot of interior art but few covers will come up again. Hopefully this suggestion will prove helpful.

I thought Pope would be higher.

I’m with The Crazed Spruce on Deodato. The majority of the man’s work is rubbish, he has gotten good only recently.

Who is the flying man with the bowler hat and the umbrella on the cover of 2000 AD?

Whoops! I mean on the cover of Warrior mag.

It’s interesting how some artists, like Doug Mahnke, can work for twenty years and slowly, steadily get a little better with each project, to the extent that Green Lantern is probably his best work.

Other artists, like Frank Miller, Jim Lee, or John Byrne, can enter comics with a blaze of glory, hit their prime about 3 years later, and then slowly decline for the next 2-3 decades.

And still other artists, like Steve Dillon or David Finch, can neither get better or worse, or change at all. Their art looks exactly the same as it did 15 years ago.

And I don’t quite get the Finch hatred (well, I do get it; a lot of people like to hate on anything popular simply for being popular and not “edgy”). Finch didn’t make my top ten, so I’m not defending my vote, and I don’t think he’s one of the 50 greatest artists ever. But given that this list will almost certainly be more than half full with guys who have done their best work in the 2000s, I DO think Finch is one of the 25 best artists of the last decade… so under that criteria, I will defend him.

Finch is a mainstream super-hero artist. He doesn’t want to be David Mack, or Paul Pope, or Jae Lee. Are those guys more interesting? Yes, they are, just as a great songwriter is probably more interesting than a great accountant. But the world needs great accountants to function, and the comic book medium needs great super-hero artists who don’t try to be edgy. Why? Because 12 year old kids don’t give a shit about edgy art and they don’t like it. And without 12 year old kids getting hooked on comics, we don’t have adults reading them. I’m guessing the percentage of people who frequent this blog that got into comics past the age of 15 is probably less than one. The medium simply needs artists like Finch, or Jim Lee, or Ethan Van Sciver to survive. How many kids have fallen in love with comics partially due to Finch’s art? I bet a lot. Of course most of them will grow up to like guys like Sean Phillips better, but Sean Phillips isn’t getting kids into comics, and that’s the single most important thing for the survival of the medium. I love Sean Phillips, but I didn’t when I was 12. When I was 12, Jim Lee’s X-Men run turned me into a life-long comic fan. Now, I love the stylized art of guys like Mignola, Jae Lee, Sam Keith, Sienkiewicz, Tony Harris, J.H. Williams, etc. But I never would have seen any of those guys without Jim Lee inviting me to the party.

David Finch has invited people to the party. A lot of them. He’s an incredibly detailed and well-crafted super-hero artist who never mails in an issue. He has genuine story-telling ability, can draw dynamically in small panels, and crafts a killer cover. Anyone who thinks Finch is a hack should check out the Ultimate X-Men issue where Wolverine has to kill the kid who’s radiation is killing everyone around him (I think it’s #41). It’s a great, emotional story, and Finch’s art rose to the task.

I was also gonna complain about Finch and Deodato ranking at all, but shouldnt we all just be relieved that at least they’re not making the top 10? Besides, as some have pointed out, favorite doesnt mean best.

None of my 10 yet. I’m fairly confident at least half of them will make the cut, and I’m pretty sure nobody else voted for Gotlib or Ross Andru.

The guy with the bowler hat on Warrior is alan Moore’s Big Ben, the man with no time for crime, a bit character in Miracleman!

Hernandez at 49? Oh Brother. I’m thinking this is just gonna be a list of people’s favorite Marvel and DC artists who started working after 1990.

“And I don’t quite get the Finch hatred (well, I do get it; a lot of people like to hate on anything popular simply for being popular and not “edgy”). ”

Show me where you base that on anything anyone has actually had to say about why they have a negative reaction to his art in this thread, rather than just jumping to the lazy, lameass old “people just hate popular things because they want to look cool” argument.

Immonen being a “crappy artist” made me do a spit-take. He’s hands down one of the best Marvel artists (if not the best) working today. I liked his realistic early work from Hulk, Superman: Secret Identity etc. but love his cartoony riffs from New Avengers and especially NextWAVE: Agents of H.A.T.E.

I’m shocked Phillips and Pope are so low on the list. I’m kind of curious who will populate slots 40-1.

Also, glad to see Ottley get some love. He’s one of the most talented comic-ers working right now. Absolutely amazing story-telling sense, and a wonderfully expressive artist to boot. He’s close to what I imagine Kirby drawing, if Kirby drew comics nowadays.

Jack Norris-

There’s no reason to jump to anything other than that lameass old argument. Anyone can always find any reason to dislike anything. If you want to find a reason to dislike canonical works like Watchmen, Maus, Lee/Kirby FF, A Contract With God, etc, there are surely reasons to be found. But the more popular something is, the more people will try to devalue it; that’s just the nature of the beast, and every artistic field experiences it. Finch’s comics sell in bundles, so the target is bigger. I’m sure there are plenty of people who dislike Paul Pope, but there’s no innate need to criticize his work because it’s playing to such a small audience as is, so there’s no perception that he has some sort of undeserved massive success.

Finch is often working on the most high profile books that Marvel/DC is putting out, so there will always be a need for a dialogue of whether he deserves that stature. Very few people care whether someone “deserves” to be the artist of Ka-Zar, or The Creeper, or any other third stringer that has his own monthly at any given moment. You can think the artist either sucks or doesn’t, but it’s not generally a topic of debate. But anyone drawing the big books will always be under scrutiny, and nobody has been getting bigger books over the last few years than Finch.

Am I suggesting people ONLY dislike him because he’s drawing Batman instead of Blue Devil? No, not exactly. But that’s certainly the instigator for why people debate about him and develop strong opinions one way or the other. It’s the same reason people surely have stronger opinions about the Kings of Leon than the Arcade Fire.

Finch certainly doesn’t have the range or originality of many of the artists that play to smaller audiences. In almost every way, he is less “artistic” (for lack of a better word). But the other side of that argument is that Paul Pope does not have the ability to play to a mass audience. Pope could not succeed at Finch’s job, just as Finch could not succeed at Pope’s. Even if it seems like a less noble venture, there is value at having the ability to please a large number of people.

Look at it this way… Tom Waits and Michael Jackson both released one of their greatest albums in 1982 (Swordfishtrombones and Thriller, respectively). Swordfishtrombones is almost definitely the more interesting album, but is it better? It’s an unfair question to ask, because neither artist could do what the other did. Both albums were triumphant successes in being what they aspired to be.

The majority of people that knock a guy like David Finch believe that there’s somehow less nobility in doing what he does in comparison to what someone like Sean Phillips does. But why? Is Finch somehow aiming lower? Is wanting to be liked by a large number of people synonymous with a low artistic goal? Often yes, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s not like Finch is Rob Liefeld.

Of course Finch has his flaws, and I concede that his work is less interesting than most of the guys that he’s listed with today, but it’s unfair for people to argue that he sucks or that his presence taints this list. His work is quite good for the type of art it aspires to be, and if the comic industry didn’t have that type of art, it wouldn’t survive long.

I never got around to voting, unfortunately.

I think Deodato is pretty good. I don’t understand the hatred towards him. But I’ve only seen his recent stuff. I do think his art is usually too dark, though. But unless he does his own colouring, that’s not his fault. (I’m not looking anything up now to see who the colourists have been.)

I don’t see much appeal in a lot of the modern artists that people seem to like. The sample page by Manapul is good, but I’ve never read an actual story.

I hope people remembered to vote for Ross Andru. And Dan DeCarlo.

Steve Dillon’s Judge Dredd is one of the best for my money

Nice to see pics now, there were couple of artists whose names were familiar but who I couldn’t quite place to titles I have been reading (and I was too lazy to google).
And couple of artists who I don’t think I have read and whose art, based on samples, didn’t look like something I’d be interested of (yes, Finch and Deodato, but if that works for some others, great).

Thanks Thomas. I totally forgot about him. Its been ages since I’ve read Miracle Man.

“I thought we were going to get a top 100 for both artists and writers?”

This. I hope that when the countdown finishes, Brian will expand it.

Im pretty confident we’re gonna see some of Marvel’s old artists like Kirby, Romita Sr, Ditko amd maybe Colan on this list, but i dont think there are gonna be any of the DC early artistis like Bob Kane, Dick Sprang or Joe Shuster.

Third Man, are you saying we should put Michael Bay on a “Top 50 Greatest Directors” list cuz he’s popular and gets people interested in movies? Because that seems to be the whole crux of your argument here, and that people can’t just dislike Finch because they don’t like his work.

I admit it. I dislike Finch because he’s popular. It has nothing to do with the inability to draw faces and ridiculous amounts of rendering. I’m just jealous.


No, because Michael Bay IS like Rob Liefeld. There’s absolutely no skill or integrity in his work. A better analogy for Finch would be Avatar. How many people swiftly dismissed Avatar as populist garbage?

I’m only arguing that the nature of making entertainment to be enjoyed by the many (as opposed to the few) does not necessarily mean that work can not be of any value or skill.

And it’s fine if people don’t like Finch. Just don’t come to that conclusion simply on the grounds that he does big bombastic super-hero stuff instead of edgy Vertigo titles.

Davey Boy Smith

December 5, 2010 at 9:42 am

Third Man makes a good point. If one argues that an artist like Finch shouldn’t make the list for, I don’t know, “lack of artistic integrity”, one could argue that an artist such as Jim Lee isn’t worthy of making the list either. And without the work of artists such as Joe Madueira and Jim Lee I would perhaps not have ventured into the comic book medium. While we’re at it, I don’t think that John Byrne’s art has ever been very innovative, but readers love him all the same, and nobody would think to deny him a place on the list.

Davey Boy Smith

December 5, 2010 at 9:50 am

I also agree with one poster’s assessment that Hernandez is the only one deserving of a spot on a true “Greatest 50 Comic Book Artists of All-Time” list, as chosen by a panel of experts, historians, peers etc. instead of CSBG-readers (who in most cases simply haven’t sampled enough of comic book work to make an informed decision). Though one could perhaps argue for Pope’s inclusion, as well.

I never realized enough people even knew who Ottley was to get him onto this list, let alone put him ahead of Mahnke, Dillon or Pope.

Thomas Morrison

December 5, 2010 at 9:57 am

I didn’t even know that Finch was popular, I just don’t care for his work much.
I’ve read his Avengers Disassembled, other earlier Avengers work, and while I thought he was competent and sometimes could manage a nice picture or two, I found his style distracting from the story and slightly off. I think he needs to clean up his art a bit and go for a simpler strait forward style so that it doesn’t take away from the story so much. I like his covers for the most part, it’s just his sequential that I think need some work. My advice to Finch; Check out someone like Gil Kane with his beautifully striped down art. Think shapes, less messy detail.
I have no hate for Finch. So, people love him; That’s great for Finch, but I think there must be sooo many more deserving artist than him.
(No offense Finch, please don’t bang my mother.)

“I kid, England, I kid!! I just wanted to see if your heads would explode.

In actuality, by the time Dillon came over to the States, he was an accomplished comic book creator of over a decade’s worth of British comics, from the late 1970s and early 1980s at Marvel UK, to Warrior…”

The funny thing is my head had already exploded after you’d been so dismissive of Sean Phillip’s BRITISH work!

AFTER doing exactly the same thing with Dan Abnett’s writing on his own in the introduction to this vote.

Sigh, oh America look beyond yourself

The funny thing is my head had already exploded after you’d been so dismissive of Sean Phillip’s BRITISH work!

I know that British comic fans are never happy unless they feel like they’ve been marginalized, so I threw them a little sumthin’ sumthin’.

Nah we’re never happy until we can be smugly aware how much boarder our out look is

So broad that you’ve never read an Abnett and Lanning comic book? I don’t think that exactly makes any sense.

I’m aware of them at least

And I’m aware of Abnett’s British work – but had he been counted separate from Lanning, he would not have made the Top 50. That’s not the best solution. The best solution is giving him his best chance he has of making the list, which is being paired with Lanning (and he did make the list, by the way – check the updated list – it just went up).

Pleasantly surprised at how low Finch is. Less happy about how low Paul Pope is.

Jamie has been huge influence on me. His Love and Rockets No. 1 Cover was one of a handful which have been locked in my earliest memories of my first adventures into a comic shop as a kid. It was on that shelf, I was not alowed to touch. As I got older and broadened my comic apetite and my own cartooning beyond superheroes and Tin Tin (ect…), Jamie was there for me. As a guide with both technical lessons and one of few who was male and depicted “real” women in comics like I try to do. That is why i voted for him. I am not surprised, but disappointed he is so low on the list, but at least he has good company with Paul Pope.

Again, Third Man, go back and look at what people actually said in this thread about why they dislike his work. Your response to my previous post was a load of irrelevant blather (and pure projection) from beginning to end.

Regardless of any of these people’s talent, this is a list of our FAVORITES. And I doubt most people’s list of favorites would match up completely with their list of BEST ever.

And from what I read on this post about Finch, people were mostly just saying, “Finch? Really?”, the equivalent of an eyeroll. Some people were surprised that he beat out Xaime. T discussed how he uses squiggly line hatching. Nothing at all about the man’s popularity.

Which, if he was so popular, why didn’t he get ANY #1 votes?

I HATE Finch, and it has nothing to do with him being popular, or any other of the reasons previously mentioned.
I got into comics when i was about ten years old with marvels launching the ultimates universe. When David Finch took over for adam kubert it almost made me leave comics altogether. Seriously, as soon as the solicitations came out I would go straight to ultimate x-men hoping that Finch had been taken off the title. This is partly due to the fact that, at this young age, i thought adam kubert was the best artist to have ever lived (I do still like him a lot). I do respect his technical skill as a draftsman, but as someone said earlier he has no compositional sense and his faces are so overly rendered they look more like shrek-pug offspring than relatable human beings…

If I’m being honest, I can’t believe Paul Pope even placed on this list. His work is more suited for posters or art that captures a single message/action. Sequentially, his art confuses the reader. THB is his better work. Batman Year 100 was atrocious.

Additionally, Mahnke would have been LEGEND if DC had consistent inkers on his GL run. GL #43 was absolute perfection.

I’m go glad Francis Manapul made the list! He was in my top three. It seems a lot of people are a little upset he made the list, but I think Francis Manapul (along with David Lafuente) are helping drag mainstream comics away from that boring, plain house style of mainstream comics and infusing it with incredible colour, energy and heart. This is what I want to see in my comics.

Finally some Manapul defenders! I’m one of the Manapul firsters. I’m a fine art student and a longtime reader and I find his art, at least his current art, incredibly engaging. I think Francis Manapul’s art has the energy, character and heart a lot of contemporary art is missing (Van Sciver), which is also why Jack Kirby, Stuart Immonen, Mike Mignola and Paul Pope were on my list. The whole point of the medium is to let creativity drive the storytelling and people are still buying comics with redundant, static artwork by guys like Ross and Eaglesham? Buy a decorative plate already and let the comics be fun.

Uh, peace out.

I’d like to thank Mat for his comment about Manapul. It’s interesting to see why people who voted for someone voted the way they did. Since Manapul is someone who never would have even occurred to me to include even on my big list that got whittled down, it’s fascinating to find out why some people do dig his stuff.

So if anyone else out there voted for the people that some other commenters are rolling their eyes at, let us know why you did pick these guys.

The funny thing is my head had already exploded after you’d been so dismissive of Sean Phillip’s BRITISH work!

Personally I’d say Sean Philips didn’t hit his stride until Eddie Campbell’s Hellblazer run so I can forgive that.

Unlike the writers list this list is just reminding me of people I forgot about like Jaimie Hernandez and Paul Pope. (also Steve Rude Brendan McCarthy and Stuart Immonen have popped into my head too).

I’m not sure what Francis Manapul, David Finch, Doug Mahnke and Ryan Ottley are doing on the list. None of them are bad, but I can’t see anyone getting excited about them either.

I’m surprised at all the Finch hate. I mean, I don’t particularily like him, but he isn’t terrible.

If you want terrible, you don’t have to look very far away on the list.

Deodato? Seriously?

I also really dislike Pope, but that is just an issue of style.

The only person I voted for on this list was Jaime Hernandez… but I voted for him on the writer list (though I quite like his art. He was CLOSE to my top 10…)

@Mat Groom. I kind of agree. He made my top 10 but so did Carmine Infantino which goes to show it’s not just from peeps who choose comics from the last couple of years. I think Manapul has been one of the best around for a couple of years now and seeing his sketches as well shows a great talent. Simply put Flash is the one book I look forward to each month as its a perfect balance between writing and art.

Deodato was terrible back in the day, but I think he’s quite good now – though still not worthy of this list.

I completely agree with DanCJ in regards to Deodato

some stupid japanese name

December 10, 2010 at 11:03 am

Why the heck does everyone get a nice write up, and then we get to Allred who just gets a here’s-a-quick-page-now-move-on dismissal?

My first exposure to Deodato was an issue of Samuree. Oh Samuree, your endless cheesecake shots kept one little boy very busy at night.

some stupid japanese name

December 10, 2010 at 11:06 am

Oops. All that time with Samuree must have been why I didn’t see that some descriptions will be filled in later.

rick leonardi???

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