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CSBG Archive

Top 125 Comic Book Artists Master List

Here is the master list of the artists voted by you by your ballots (over one thousand ballots cast!) as your favorite writers of all-time! Here is the Top 125 Comic Book Writers Master List! Click on any name below for more information about the artist listed!


NOTE: We’re still filling in the list between #125 and #51, five artists every other day in April (with five writers being counted down the other day).

125 Tony Daniel – 84 points (2 first place votes)

124 Sergio Aragones – 85 points (1 first place vote)

123 Jock – 86 points

122 Geoff Darrow – 87 points (3 first place votes)

121 Terry Moore – 88 points (1 first place vote)

120 Chris Samnee – 89 points (2 first place votes)

119 Tony Moore – 90 points (2 first place votes)

118 David Mack – 91 points (2 first place votes)

117 Salvador Larroca – 92 points

116 P. Craig Russell – 93 points (2 first place votes)

115 Marshall Rogers – 94 points (3 first place votes)

114 Dave Sim – 95 points (2 first place votes)

113 Mike Grell – 96 points (3 first place votes)

112 Terry Dodson – 97 points

111 Sean Murphy – 98 points (2 first place votes)

110 Howard Chaykin – 102 points (1 first place vote)

109 Amy Reeder – 103 points (1 first place vote)

108 Michael Lark – 105 points (1 first place vote)

107 Jill Thompson – 110 points (2 first place votes)

106 Bernie Wrightson – 112 points

105 Sam Kieth – 113 points (3 first place votes)

104 Herge – 116 points (1 first place vote)

103 Jeff Smith – 117 points (1 first place vote)

102 Jae Lee – 119 points

101 Keith Giffen – 120 points

100 Mike Wieringo – 121 points (2 first place votes)

99 Marcos Martin – 123 points (1 first place vote)

98 Mark Buckingham – 127 points (2 first place votes)

97 Norm Breyfogle – 128 points (1 first place vote)

96 Carl Barks – 129 points (2 first place votes)

95 Travis Charest – 131 points (4 first place votes)

94 J. Scott Campbell – 136 points (2 first place votes)

93 Guy Davis – 137 points (2 first place votes)

92 Darick Robertson – 138 points (1 first place vote)

91 Ed McGuinness – 139 points (1 first place vote)

90 Carlos Pacheco – 140 points

89 Cameron Stewart – 141 points (1 first place vote)

88 Marko Djurdjevic – 142 points (3 first place votes)

87 Dustin Nguyen – 143 points (2 first place votes)

86 Sal Buscema – 144 points (2 first place votes)

85 Tony Harris – 145 points (3 first place votes)

84 Frank Cho – 146 points (3 first place votes)

83 Chris Ware – 147 points (1 first place vote)

82 Steve Rude – 153 points (7 first place votes)

81 Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez – 155 points (4 first place votes)

80 Humberto Ramos – 157 points (5 first place votes)

79 Mark Bagley – 160 points (1 first place vote)

78 Leinil Francis Yu – 165 points (1 first place vote)

77 Adam Kubert – 166 points (2 first place votes)

76 Todd McFarlane – 167 points (3 first place votes)

75 Michael Turner – 171 points (4 first place votes)

74 Dave Cockrum – 173 points (3 first place votes)

73 Ethan Van Sciver – 176 points

72 Alex Toth – 177 points (3 first place votes)

71 Jimmy Cheung – 182 points (4 first place votes)

70 Gary Frank – 184 points (3 first place votes)

69 Nicola Scott – 186 points (7 first place votes)

68 Mike Choi – 189 points (8 first place votes)

67 Robert Crumb – 190 points (2 first place votes)

66 Wally Wood – 192 points

65 Kevin Maguire – 193 points (2 first place votes)

64 Skottie Young – 195 points (3 first place votes)

63 Jim Starlin – 196 points (3 first place votes)

62 Frazer Irving – 198 points (2 first place votes)

61 Carmine Infantino – 199 points (2 first place votes)

60 Dave McKean – 200 points (4 first place votes)

59 Andy Kubert – 202 points (2 first place votes)

58 Steve Epting – 203 points

57 Joe Madureira – 205 points (5 first place votes)

56 Eduardo Risso – 206 points (2 first place votes)

55 Marc Silvestri – 208 points (2 first place votes)

54 Amanda Conner – 209 points (10 first place votes)

53 Phil Jimenez – 210 points (1 first place vote)

52 Curt Swan – 211 points (4 first place votes)

51 Gabriel Bà – 212 points (2 first place votes)

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

49 Sean Phillips – 222 points (1 first place vote)

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

47 David Finch – 242 points

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

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

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

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

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

41 Mike Allred – 262 points (2 first place votes)

40 Adam Hughes – 273 points (3 first place votes)

39 Alex Maleev – 276 points (2 first place votes)

38 Dave Gibbons – 278 points (1 first place vote)

37 Tim Sale – 283 points (5 first place votes)

36 Joe Kubert – 285 points (4 first place votes)

35 Steve McNiven – 291 points (4 first place votes)

34 Barry Windsor-Smith – 294 points (3 first place votes)

33 Jim Aparo – 298 points (4 first place votes)

32 Moebius – 305 points (10 first place votes)

31 Gene Colan – 335 points (4 first place votes)

30 Ivan Reis – 385 points (5 first place votes)

29 Arthur Adams – 388 points (6 first place votes)

28 Olivier Coipel – 408 points (6 first place votes)

27 Chris Bachalo – 429 points (11 first place votes)

26 Gil Kane – 435 points (3 first place votes)

25 David Mazzucchelli – 438 points (5 first place votes)

24 Walter Simonson – 449 points (7 first place votes)

23 Jim Steranko – 467 points (5 first place votes)

22 Brian Bolland – 489 points (9 first place votes)

21 Bill Sienkiewicz – 493 points (10 first place votes)

20 Bryan Hitch – 495 points (6 first place votes)

19 John Romita Sr. – 505 points (7 first place votes)

18 Will Eisner – 512 points (10 first place votes)

17 Stuart Immonen – 535 points (10 first place votes)

16 John Buscema – 593 points (17 first place votes)

15 Alan Davis – 678 points (14 first place votes)

14 Darwyn Cooke – 686 points (21 first place votes)

13 John Cassaday – 728 points (13 first place votes)

12 Steve Ditko – 749 points (5 first place votes)

11 Mike Mignola – 810 points (12 first place votes)

10 Alex Ross – 822 points (21 first place votes)

9 John Romita Jr. – 846 points (13 first place votes)

8 Frank Miller – 897 points (10 first place votes)

7 John Byrne – 1029 points (11 first place votes)

6 Jim Lee – 1270 points (40 first place votes)

5 Neal Adams – 1296 points (31 first place votes)

4 George Perez – 1877 points (63 first place votes)

3 J.H. Williams III – 1945 points (50 first place votes)

2 Frank Quitely – 2052 points (51 first place votes)

1 Jack Kirby – 2521 points (112 first place votes)

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


Hmmmm…how many artists will be in the top ten who’s work should be in the roller next to my toilet? I’m going to say there will be three artists in the top ten who’s work I think is junk.

Wow, if this is only the back half, there had better be some DAMN good artists in the top ten. Pope, Sale, Gibbons, Bachalo, Coipel, Moebius, Colan, Kubert, Maleev, and Allred all deserve to be WAY higher than where they are.

hmm… i predict jim lee as number one. no judgment, just a prediction.

Ack! How could Jaimie Hernandez be number 50????? He was in my top 5!!! He’s been amazing from the beginning of L&R and he gets better every year! Wait, does everybody else read it for Gilbert’s drawings of giant boobs? Maybe he’ll be further up the list….

I am thrilled that Jim Aparo made this list. More than any other artist, he defined Batman visually for me.

Joe Kubert’s popped in at No. 36? – I’m sure he wasn’t on the original #40-36 list? Did you rediscover a few 1st place votes, Brian, & have to bump him up the list? I quite understand, those votes must’ve been a bugger to tally up…but again if it’s my oversight then I’m sorry and I win a Negative Zone no-prize.

Joe Kubert’s popped in at No. 36? – I’m sure he wasn’t on the original #40-36 list? Did you rediscover a few 1st place votes, Brian, & have to bump him up the list? I quite understand, those votes must’ve been a bugger to tally up…but again if it’s my oversight then I’m sorry and I win a Negative Zone no-prize.

Yeah, on my master list I had #33 twice by accident. So Joe Kubert, who was #35 on my list was actually #36. So Gabriel Ba got bumped out of the Top 50.

Sure, I have some issues with the order, but am pleased that I actually don’t mind and even like or love 2/3 of this list as of Gil Kane at No. 26. Sure do wish that 1/3 I don’t get was replaced with a more diverse representation; I.E. Non-superhero artists.

Gil Kane and Joe Kubert are way higher in my top 20

There is just so much wrong about Ivan Reis and Gil Kane being on the bottom part of this list both guys should be at the very top imo.

While the bottom group has meandered a bit, but things are looking up with this solid group, Mazzucchelli – Sienkiewicz. I should have known with Gil Kane at No. 26.

What makes this so difficult is that there were no guidelines. If someone had said…take into consideration the body of their work….or whether or not their contribution influenced comics guys like Mobius, Steranko and Simonson would rank a lot higher. There are alot of damn fine artists on this list…but how do you choose Oliver Copiel over Moebius and Colan? It doesn’t seem fair when you consider the whole history of comics.

Don’t get me wrong…Copiel is a quality artist and I like his stuff….but in my mind, his career is just starting. What Copiel, and artists like him, has accomplished so far is because of guys like Joe Kubert, Moebius, Colan and BW Smith…who paved the way.

Wow….this is such a difficult undertaking….there are a lot of artists from the 1950’s who did great work that just will never show up….

What makes this so difficult is that there were no guidelines.

There was a very straightforward guideline – vote for your favorite artists and writers of all-time, whoever that may be. If your favorite artist is Olivier Coipel, then vote for him. If your favorite artist is Moebius, then vote for him. It would do us no good to have a “vote for the artists who contributed most to the history of comics” vote, especially because I assure you, the people who voted for Coipel will continue to vote for Coipel no matter what the criteria is (and I use Coipel only as an example because you mentioned him, just in case people were wondering “Hey, why’s Brian picking on Coipel?”), so we might as well go with “favorite,” so the list would be an honest reflection of voter intent.

Brian, is there any chance we could get a rundown of 100-51 in both categories (just the names, no narrative)?

What’s really standing out for me as we run down the list is how deep the field is after 75 years of comics-as-we-know them.

Prior to the top 10, I’m surprised Ethan van Sciver hasn’t made the list yet. Thought he would go in around the 20s. Pretty sure we’re going to see George Perez and Alex Ross near the top. Also guessing Dave Gibbons will be up there too. Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane… other guesses.

Williams III, Quitely, Kirby, Adams . . .

So, let the top ten speculation begin!

Kirby’s a shoo-in. Who Else? Perez? McFarlane? Lee? Kane? Ross? Adams? Byrne? (None of whom were on my list besides Kirby, but they seem to be some of the biggest names left.)

Kirbys an instant number one, no question. I will be shocked and disapointed if JH Wiliams 3 don’t make it.

This list continues to impress, with one curiosity, Stuart Immonen. I love new discoveries and I am not previously aware of his work. But other then a couple of ok covers, those are terrible examples of work in comparison with others in the 11-26 range. In fact the sample page would be an example I would use for my students on how not to help the reader with your storytelling.

I just wonder: Where is Tony Harris?

joe mad, jim lee, michael turner, mark bagley are my favs, i’m hoping at least 3 of them make the top 10. todd mcfarlene would be a great addition. i thought david finch shoulda been at least top 25, but oh well. im just praying that rob liefeld is not in the top 10 or i’ll just lose faith in these things


December 18, 2010 at 7:46 pm

“7 spots left – and I expect Byrne, Perez, Adams and Kirby to be there. That leaves 3 spots – one of which has to be Curt Swan, my number 1. But, given the modern popularity of Lee and McFarlane, there’s likely only one spot left. And, it could be one of those young whippersnappers like Quitely.
So much for Dave Stevens, Carl Barks, Jerry Robinson, Jack Cole, CC Beck, Don Rosa, Richard Corben, Dave Cockrum, Steve Rude, Mike Ploog, Mike Sekowsky, Jose Garcia Lopez, Ross Andru, and a host of deserving others. (Not all who appeared on my list of ten).
But, we’ll see.”

It’s also looking unlikely that Alex Toth, Wallace Wood, Al Williamson, Bernie Wrightson, Bernard Krigstein, Harvey Kurtzman, Osamu Tezuka, and Mark Schultz will appear in the top 50 artists as well. However, it’s not surprising that most of the creators on the list are best known for work at Marvel and DC.

@Ben Cohen: Frankly, I think Immonen is the best of the artists in the 16-20 range. What problems do you see with the sample page?

I have a hunch that Jack Kirby, Neal Adams, John Byrne, Frank Quitely, Alex Ross, JH Williams III, Jim Lee, George Perez and Curt Swan will be in the top 10. I’m guessing Toth won’t be, which makes me very worried that Todd McFarlane will make it.

Oh wait, there’s also JR Jr. Hmm.

Martin: Regarding Immonen. The first panel is the money shot, do to the size and clarity. You can see both figures and have a clear understanding of the action. 

The style is adequate, but I am not a big fan of angular forms. They disrupt gestures in action flow, and unlike Kirby’s style the forms lack gravity. I am assuming my empathy is mention for the women in this fight, but she is so lanky and angular she is more like Cuela Divil. He could be the one, but he us not very empathetic either, because his design lacks paradoxically an exciting design and an empathic face. The closer the character is to the bottom left of McCloud’s Triangle, the happy face, the more suited they are for the protagonist, because we can see ourselves in it. Also the more realistic the body type the more we do. The further away on the triangle and the more fetishes the form the more adversarial they get.

The top tier does have a visual reading pattern, through the top of the guys head strait line through the women’s left leg, to the guitar’s body, zig up through it’s neck, up her torso to the text and back down her left leg, to the right hand corner of panel 3 (sorry don’t read this book, so I don’t know their names…if I should, then that would be another issue with it). While it does guide your eye through the tier it is absolutely wrong in term of telling the story.

 First the guys head is brushing the panel boarder, taking the reader out of the flow of the story (never have your extremities butting up against or cut off by the panel boarder). Then you realize his body is flying against the direction you are reading (in western comics we read left to right). He is the effect, not the cause of the action, so he should be heading toward the right not the left of the panel. 

Davis causes a head to hit the ground on the left of panel 2 in his sample page, but this is ment to stop the action for comedic timing and works, because of the gestural flow of Davis’s figures…plus it’s not on the panel boarder and your eye simply bounces back off the ground through the form and onto the rest of the story.

The solution in panel one would have been to flip horizontally the panel and pull the camera out a bit, moving the text in panel 2 to the left, and showing the head to lead into that text.

Not only have you been taken out of the story and stopped visually, but then in panel two you must stop for a cliche superhero stance killing the action and confusing us on where the advisory is and what condition they are in. 

Then her feet sit in the right hand corner of panel 3 (braking the panel boarder). Gil Kane, I think, really figured out when and when not to do this (someone correct me if it was someone else). Since then many have done so, but far to often going against the story. I love Bryan Hitch, but his sample page is horrible, principally for the way Superman brakes the panel boarders.  And Superman’s face, has to be the worst face he has ever drawn. As far as the panel 3 we are focusing on, I like the aesthetic aspects of her feet braking the panel boarder and sitting in negative space, but again they lead our eye backwards through this longshot to the effect and then the cause. And because we have stopped the action and are disoriented by panel 2 we are dropped out of no ware into action and forced to read back through. Thankfully, along the line of the guitar, whose momentum is sort of pulling us back to panel 4. This would have worked if we had not already had to reverse read action in panel 1. 

But now we are at panel 4, which aesthetically I hate. It is poorly drawn; his right arm is to short or foreshortened wrong, his left elbow and shoulder are cut off by the panel boarder, so he is cropped in to much…and they guy is looking at me, reminding once again I am reading a comic and not immersed in the story. The left upper arm leads me into panel 5 and through the guitar to the text, which would be good. 

However, panel 5’s lack of color separation or  chiaroscuro between the guitar, her head the background makes the panel difficult to read. As does the cropping, which could be designed to show empathy for the intensity of predicament, making me want to read on to the next page, but she is betrayed by her snarky smile. Which may show how bad ass she is, but I simply find it annoying, because I am not empathic to her character, because of visual storytelling and character design.

Basically, it does almost everything I teach my students not to do, as I was taught.

As far as your hunches, I think any of them could make it. I love JH Williams III (he was on my list, or should have been) and am assuming Kirby will be there. It is a crime though that Chris Ware and at least one EC artist won’t be there. McFarlane or Lee should make it for their influence if not their art, which is as flawed as it is gifted.

Where’s Phil Hester?

I’ll agree that the sample page has its problems, IMO mainly panel 2 and the coloring (which isn’t really Immonen’s fault). And I agree that in a continuous action sequence, it’s preferable to stage action from left to right (unless you want to show someone changing direction or returning). On the other hand, considering that there’s a pause in the action here anyway, I don’t think it’s the end of the world.

Panel 2 is baffling. I think that if any panel should have figures outside the border, then panel 1 or 3 would have worked better, especially as the guitar gets cut off in an unfortunate place. And I’m more bothered by her craning her neck, apparently looking back into the previous panel, than by the robot in panel 4 looking towards the viewer.

I don’t see any problems with foreshortening in panel 4, although it looks a bit simple and dull.

About empathy — Nextwave was a humor book about a superhero team mostly comprised by idiots and generally awful people. I’m not sure we’re supposed to feel empathy for any of the characters.

And regardless of the problems, there’s much that’s right with the page: the characters aren’t stiff or inconsistent — Immonen is someone who can draw the human figure in motion well, from any angle. And he’s got range; here’s a collage of panels from him (including good imitations of Winsor McKay, Paul Pope, Dan Clowes, John Paul Leon and Mike Mignola):


Finally, here’s the last page from the latest New Avengers, just to show him drawing in a more traditional, realistic style (including a panel border overlapping figure that works much better than the Nextwave example):


Perhaps it is just the page itself. I have made far more mistakes myself. The collage is reason to take a closer look. I am not lien away by the Avenger page, but it is better then the Nextwave page. Bottom line, comics are brutal, and consistency is brutal. I have a varied style and understand completely how that can result in a real challenge in maintaining quality.

Brian the HTML for 7-5 is broken, pointing at 7-5 on nthe writers list instead

I’d realy love to see a rundown of 100-51 on both lists as well.
As far as artists go, only two on my list have showed up yet. I’m gessing one will be showing up on the Top 4 (J.H. Williams III), but the others will most certainly be out. I’d like to know if they even showed up on the Top 100 list.
I voted for quite a few non-american artists, so it will probably be hard to see them on any list, namely Juanjo Guarnido (“Blacksad”), Lorenzo Mattotti (“Docteur Jekyll & Mister Hyde”), Miguelanxo Prado (“The Sandman: Endless Nights”), Eduardo Risso (“100 Bullets”) and Hergé (“Tintin”).
I also voted for Scott Morse and Dave McKean. My guess is these two would probably show up on a Top 100 list.

Thanks, Philip!

My guess for top four is Jack Kirby, George Perez, Frank Quitely, and JH Williams III. Probably in that order.

@Danton Flin

That’s what I think. And not just because that’s my top four. (I missed the voting, but It’s still my top four favorite artists.)

Now we get to the really fun part (I write this with only four slots left to be revealed). There are far more artists to choose from than writers, so while I’m only missing one writer from my list when compared to the poll results, currently I have SEVEN artists who haven’t made the cut, according to the masses. I feel good about one of my old-timers — Kirby — but it’s probably a sure thing that we won’t see Dick Dillin or Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez.

As for the current crop of artists, I’m pulling for JH Williams III (whom I think we’ll see). Somehow I left Quitely off my list (!) but I agree he should be here. I included Frazer Irving and I’m disappointed to see he didn’t place; I doubt his work, as incredibly strong as it is, will put him into the top four. Well, his career is young.

One travesty, maybe two: No Jill Thompson. Will she be top four? Probably not. Should she be on this list? Absolutely. Top 20, maybe even top 10.

My last choice (and perhaps the second travesty): Chris Ware. I’m still pulling for you Chris. I think you could slip on here, along with Kirby and Perez, but then Quitely would have to fall. What are the odds of that? Still, a list of Top 50 comic-book artists without Chris Ware in the Top 5 (much less anywhere in the rankings!) is a sorry list indeed. (I suppose many see him as a graphic novelist. Could they be unaware that he publishes Acme Novelty Library?)

Anyway: Thanks Brian! This has been great fun to follow.

Michael Turner BETTER be in the top 5

@ bongoes

I know, I greatly enjoy their work, too.

Jack Kirby and George Perez are guaranteed top picks.
Frank Quitely and JH Williams III, they are incredibly talented and they definitely deserve the top 4 position.
Still, I can’t help but feeling a little worried for an upset, but let’s wait and see.

Also, kudos for Brian Cronin for facilitating this. This is great!

I am hoping Curt Swan is number 1, but no one has even mentioned him so far.

A general comment about something I feel like has happened with people’s artist votes…

I feel like people are voting LESS for “great/favorite artists” and MORE for “the artists who worked on great/favorite comics.”

There is a big difference.

Steve Dillon, for example, has been the artist on some great comics, and he did good work on them (good, not great), but he is not a great artist. He is a good artist who does dependable work and has collaborated with some great writing. This isn’t a knock on Dillon–he’s pretty much maximized the potential of his career, and few artists manage to do this. It’s a commendable achievement.

On the other hand, guys like Jae Lee, Sam Keith, Tony Harris, Mike Zeck, and John Totleben are absent only because they haven’t worked with Ennis, Ellis, Morrison, Bendis, or Brubaker.

Quitely is definitely the biggest beneficiary of this voting practice. Quitely is an interesting artist, who is great at times (We3), but good god… (assuming he’s #2) he’s ranked ahead of Perez, Byrne, Miller, Adams, Romita(s), Ditko, Eisner, Sienkiewicz, Simonson, Windsor-Smith, Steranko, Mignola, etc. Whaaaaaaaat? If Quitely wasn’t Grant Morrison’s favorite collaborator, he wouldn’t be on here.

And yeah, I understand that rising to the challenge on great projects means a lot (or even being the guy PICKED for great projects), but measure that against, for example, Steranko or Williams III. Both of those guys managed to ascend to the top without getting great projects (yeah yeah, Williams III worked with Moore on Promethea, but that wasn’t exactly a comic for the masses). They took small projects and made them jump off the stands to the extent that they were noticed in an unlikely place. I don’t place Quitely in that group, because nobody remembers anything he did without Morrison (The Offspring, 2020 Visions… how many people bought those?).

Great writing will always make art look better, but a great artist doesn’t need great writing to stand out.

(And no, none of this means I’m a Quitely hater. If he were ranked 33 or something, I would have been perfectly fine with that.)

Bagley is still not here? I thought he’d be mid-20s. I’m not sure if he’s top two or totally missed the list.

Mike Deodoto makes the top 50? And Keith Giffen, Terry Moore, or Ted Mckeever. Three of the best (and most interesting) artists of the last 20 years are left off the list? Wow!

But I have major problems with this list anyway. Of the 48 listed so far, I could easily swap out 20 artists.

Neal Adams should be higher on the list!!
It seems there are alot of newbies that voted. I mean Ditko,and Sternako behind Jim Lee and John Bryne?
Is this list based on popularity or actual artistic vision? Outrage.
And I don’t see Todd McFarlane in the top 50 yet. Like him or hate him, he revolutionized the way comics are visually represented in the medium. He should be in the top 10 period.

Is this list based on popularity or actual artistic vision?

Popularity among those who responded.

And I don’t see Todd McFarlane in the top 50 yet. Like him or hate him, he revolutionized the way comics are visually represented in the medium.

Nah, Art Adams is in there, so whatever McFarlane borrowed from him and spread to others is covered.

Bart Sears… I totally forgot about Bart Sears (the Steve Mcniven of the 90s…)

Third Man said “Great writing will always make art look better, but a great artist doesn’t need great writing to stand out. ”

Which seems to invalidate his overall point about Quitely. He’s arguing that Quitely’s getting votes for his work with Morrison, but by that token, either Morrison is making Quitely look better, or other artists on this list who HAVEN’T worked with great writers AREN’T standing out without great writing. Just wanted to question that assumption there.

What’s interesting to look at is how many of, say, the top 10 writers and artists have worked together. I haven’t written down the top writers revealed, but artists, JRJR worked with Miller the writer on DD Man without Fear; JH Williams with Ellis on Desolation Jones, (assuming on the 1 and 2, whatever order) Moore on Promethea, and Morrison on Seven Soldiers; (assuming on the 1 and 2 artists) Quitely with Morrison on Flex Mentallo, WE3, All Star Superman, Batman and Robin, New XMen (maybe something else); and of course Stan and Jack. Unless I’m being very dumb, it’s odd and intriguing that it appears there are no other collaborations in the top 10. F’r instance, none of Gaiman’s artists make the top 20, even (he did a story with Sienkiewicz for the Endless Nights book).

I’ll post some more thoughts in a bit.

How on earth is Mike Choi no where to be seen?!

I wish Duncan Fegredo had made the list.

There a very few artists I follow religiously, and Fegredo is one of them. Other glaring omissions from the list are Howard Chaykin, Al Williamson, P. Craig Russell, John Totleben, Eddie Campbell, and perhaps even Carlos Pacheco (if one wanted to include another great superhero artist), IMO.


Please let me quibble a bit with your headline of “50 Top Comic Book Artists Master List”. Shouldn’t it really read “Top 50 Favorite Comic Book Artists”? You asked for favorites of those voting, but “top” might indicate “best”–and that’s a different matter entirely. I’d have one list for favorites, another for those considered the best of all time.

I know, small quibble.

Loved that Buscema (John) and Gene Colan were included here. However, no Steve Rude or Alex Toth? My guess that most of the guys on this list would admit both of those guys could draw rings around their stuff.

Thanks for doing this. Always fun to argue and discuss comic greats.


Can you imagine if people on CBR’s writers and artists lists had teamed up with their corresponding numbers on the other list for ANYTHING? Alan Moore and Jack Kirby! Neil Gaiman and JH Williams III! Warren Ellis and George Perez! Stan Lee and Neal Adams! Kurt Busiek and John Buscema! Steve Englehart and Jim Steranko! Will Eisner and Dave Gibbons!

Isn’t Lienil Yu good enough to even be in the top 50? I think he’s even good enough to be in the Top 10.

STEVE RUDE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Everything he does shows a level of cartooning and draftsmanship half the men on this list dream of achieving. Hrrmm, No chicks on the list, someone call Dave Sim.

Steve Ditko’s 12 and Frank Quitely’s 2? Love them both, but that’s my big What the-? for the discussion. Everybody’s got one.

Some other notables missing, John Bolton, Phil Jimenez (noted in another thread), Phil Winslade, Marcos Martin!!, Ed Mcguinness (a real super superhero artist)

And a Travesty of Epic Proportions : Eduardo Risso (lowers head and sobs)

…and let’s not forget Wallace Wood and Jose Luis Garcia Lopez.

Or Curt Swan.

Please let me quibble a bit with your headline of “50 Top Comic Book Artists Master List”. Shouldn’t it really read “Top 50 Favorite Comic Book Artists”? You asked for favorites of those voting, but “top” might indicate “best”–and that’s a different matter entirely. I’d have one list for favorites, another for those considered the best of all time.

It’s a fair enough point, Peter. Honestly, it was just economy of space, not wanting to make the headline be too long.

Wow. ONE person from my Top 10 list showed up at all (Will Eisner, #6 on my list, #18 on the overall list)! (And only 3 writers.) I’m not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, I knew a lot of my choices weren’t going to show up (like 3 Japanese writers, 3 Japanese artists, and Albert Uderzo of Asterix fame). But then seeing great American names like Stan Sakai and Jeff Smith (not to mention my own first place artist of Jill Thompson!) completely ignored makes me very sad.

Then again, it’s pretty hard to ignore the bias towards capes and masks on this list.

I expected a superhero-centric (as well as anglo-centric) list, but I’m really surprised that Crumb isn’t on here anywhere. The same goes for Carl Barks and Chris Ware. The complete omission of Jeff Smith is a shock.

In terms of superhero/genre artists, I’m pleased to see names like Jim Aparo and Gene Colan, but no Al Williamson? No Curt Swan?

Earlier polls, while being very superhero oriented and biased towards recent work, still gave attention to important older and “alternative” work. I wonder what happened with this one?

"O" the Humanatee!

December 22, 2010 at 6:54 pm

I don’t know if this is the right place to put our own top 10’s – maybe Brian will set up a post for that – but here are my top 10 artists:

1. Don Newton (woefully neglected artist who died young; best known for his Batman work) – didn’t make the poll results
2. Jim Aparo – #33 in the results
3. Steve Rude – didn’t make the results, but I wonder how he would have fared if more people had read Nexus
4. Mike Mignola – #11
5. Paul Smith – didn’t make the results, but anyone who’s seen The Golden Age, Leave It to Chance, or his work on Dr. Strange or Nexus should at least be impressed (I don’t think his early X-Men work was very good)
6. Marcos Martin – can’t understand why he didn’t make it; an excellent contemporary artist who’s done some high-profile work, most notably on Spider-Man
7. Jack Kirby – #1
8. Gene Colan – #31
9. Duncan Fegredo – not in the results, but an amazing draftsman (look at how he draws hands!) who worked on one of my favorite comics, Enigma, with Peter Milligan and who’s currently doing a stellar job of maintaining Mike Mignola’s “flavor” on Hellboy without directly mimicking Mignola
10. Jim Woodring – not in the results – and I never expected him to be

Close also-rans included John Paul Leon, Rodolfo Damaggio (who left comics for Hollywood after a brief but impressive period at DC, working mainly on Green Arrow), Tony Millionaire, Joe Kubert, Eduardo Risso, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, and Dick Sprang.

Kinda says something about the integrity of this list when Chris Ware and Dave McKean aren’t even represented.

Kinda says something about the integrity of this list when Chris Ware and Dave McKean aren’t even represented.

Yes, the “integrity” of a popularity contest. Well argued.

It’s really not an argument, Brian. Nobody’s crapping on your contest.


No McFarlane? No Liefeld? Where’s Sam Kieth? Howard Porter? Mike Wieringo? Romeo Thangal? Fred Hembeck? :-)

In all seriousness, this was harder than the writers. There are so many artists that come and go while writers, as a whole, are a fairly stable lot.

I also think that there is something to the “writer/artist” tag-team dynamic. Quiteley’s art is nice, but I do have to wonder if he’d be as high as he is if it wasn’t for him being Morrison’s wingman. But then, Porter isn’t here, and he was on JLA, so maybe people really think that highly of his art.

While I wouldn’t have put him on the list, I was also surprised at the absence of McFarlane. If this poll had been taken 15 years ago, I think a place for him in the top 10 would’ve been a given. I guess it goes to show how fickle fandom can be and how we tend to say to our favorite creators, “yeah, but what have you done for me lately?”

Makes you wonder how many people on this list will drift out of the limelight in the decades to come.

As formidable as Quitely is, his taking #2 is a little puzzling. I’d agree that he tends to package himself with great writers, which helps a lot. Wouldn’t put him above, say, Mignola or Mazzuchelli, but his art definitely has that undefinable Something that fans respond to. And, let’s face it, he’s an awesome storyteller.

I think I voted for these, can’t recall exactly, in alphabetical order:

Guido Crepax (Manara draws better pictures but Crepax page layouts are to die for)
Alan Davis (#15)
Mary Fleener
Jaime Hernandez (#50)
Sam Kieth
Jack Kirby (#1)
Ted McKeever
Joakim Pirinen
Hugo Pratt (the only one who I had both in writer and artist lists)
P. Craig Russell

Kieth, McKeever and Pirinen were positions 1-3 on my list, others were in some order.
Should have sneaked in Eisner. And Wally Wood. And Barks. And Jill Thompson. And maybe Moebius and Sienkiewicz. Flemming Andersen was considered but his latter stuff has taken a turn to the worse. These picks wouldn’t really have helped to make my list more popular though.
First books of Sin City brought Frank Miller into consideration too, but generally I haven’t been that enthusiastic about the rest of his artwork.

And wider distribution in art votes is somewhat understandable, as I think art allows larger variety on “what is good”. As can be picked from my list, I tend to favor stylized, expressionist or cartoonish art which for many others is a horror, and while I find meticulously realistic or idealized-realistic art somewhat offputting or boring it is obvious many others think that the best thing ever.
In writing it is easier to agree.

Brian, I would love to see that 51-100 list. Since i think I had Curt Swan at 2 or 3 and see “some” complaints about his non-inclusion on the list, I wonder how close he was. It’s an interesting poll, in that I would not have thought Jim Aparo would make a list that Curt Swan did not make – and yet Steranko makes the list with probably the least amount of actual published work! (And Steranko was on my top 10 list). So, it’s not all flavor of the month – no respect for some of the groundbreakers. But, man, the list makes me feel “old” at the inclusion and rankings of some and the non-inclusion rankings of others.

Note: I am posting this on both writer and artist “Master” list plus the winners pages for both. 

I myself have been agitated by both these list. As noted previously more so on the writers side then the artist. Perhaps that is do to the history of this medium being an appreciated visual storytelling medium, but one that until late was never seriously considered a literary art form (although in terms of visual fine arts, outside of Crumb, there has not been much fuss in the fine arts world either).

I digress, I want to underscore before I fly off the handle, Brian is right. Each of these cartoonist are worthy of our respect. As a lifelong cartoonist, student of the craft and fan I can’t stress enough how much hard work, intelligence, talent and grit it takes to even approach cartooning, let alone be on these lists. Very few art forms, literary and storytelling mediums are as complex and tough.  And don’t get me started on pay, longevity, quality of life and copy rights. When I teach about comics, I use these men’s work to show how to do it, even those I am about to wish lower on the list or even off the list. I also use examples of many others, including (gasp) women. Many of whom diserve more consideration here (I need to check out Jill Thompson). That said, if I know their work well, that’s one thing. But I confess, many I do not know well enough. And people throwing out names I am unfamiliar with helps. It means I get to go read more comics. Yippee!

If this list was compiled in a different time, it would reflect those times. If it was created in Belgium, Argentina or Japan then it would reflection that. So it is somewhat acceptable that there are an overrepresentation of what is consumed here. But I am disturbed by the idea that what is our favorite is not, in my judgment, what is the best. Anyway, I am also frustrated by unclear lack of knowledge on both the historical greats in comics and the contemporary greats outside of the superhero genres. This implies popularity and commerce, not quality, influence, genius and expertise run armpit here at CBR and CSBG, among it’s readers. And I believe that this is not, because of the bloggers. I read The Comics Journal, but often need to not take my comics so seriously. I wish there was a better bridge between the two worlds. And this list proves despite some efforts, that CBR is not it. I love great old comics, great superhero comics, great comics in other genre and great comics that take their artistic approach and literary approach more intellectually then some.

I would note, my friend and former classmate Kelly Thompson’s blog here at CBR attempts to diversify the readership here, and she is not alone in this concern, otherwise she would not have been asked to join. 

In my male feminist opinion, one of the reason’s women are not represented here and I am not presenting a strong argument in favor of a particular one (Wendy Pini!), is because, while women have been making comics since the late 1800’s, they have always have opportunities stacked against them to reach greatness. This reality and the 1962-1990’s male centered market has diminished their collective longevity and growth despite some exemplary female cartoonist. This is changing and it is my hope when my daughter is an adult they will be right there in the fray of this type of discussion. An aesthetic and subject mater collective consciousness shift will need to occur. In comics education circles an effort has been afoot for over a decade to push for opportunities for female cartoonist. While occasionally I feel my toes being stepped on, I welcome it. Our industry will die without efforts like these, and our art has suffered without it.

So on with my fighting over names on this list (sorry if I have mentioned some of this before)…gotta geek now!

On the artist list I count 2 artist (Mazzucchelli, Jamie Hernandez) who I would consider to fall in that artsy side of comics. Obviously both have done SciFi/Superhero work. I had both of them on my list. I did not have Berto on my list, but was glad to see he made it as a writer.

It is often inferred or assumed the men and women who work outside of sups comics simply can’t draw or design comics well. This is simple nonsense from a historical and contemporary perspective. First off most genre’s where either created or improved by Jack Kirby…which is why he is King and No. 1. So in other words, once upon a time a cartoonist, was not pidgin-hold by a singular genre like Superheroes. This practice is returning, thank goodness. But the king is dead and the new King’s of comics are Chris Ware and Daniel Clowes. I can understand arguments about their comics being the antithesis of superhero comics and just as limited due to that. But it is my impression most people working in the field believe they are the best working today, even if most readers don’t. Some would argue Crumb, as well. I would suggest he has ascended beyond comics and has just transcends other new important work, with Genesis after being outpaced by Clowes and Ware. Same goes for Spiegleman. It is not just Clowes and Ware’s writing. I am appalled at Clowes place on the writers list and can not understand Ware’s absence. Both men should have been top 5. However, it is thier mastery of visual storytelling, craftsmanship, page design, illustrative technique, inking, lettering, coloring and drawing skills that make them deserving of the same position on the artist list, top 5. Of course they are absent.

There are others besides Ware, Clowes who should of minimally appeared on these lists and are from the more artsy and literary world of contemporary comic books. Crumb should have made the artist list and Spiegalman the writers list. Who else on the  artist list has been compared with Goya? Who else has won a Pulitzer? Oh yeah, NONE! While the rest of the world slowly opens their arms to comics after discriminating against them. Nationally covering a few outstanding cartoonist. These are the names that surface, Clowes, Ware, Crumb, Spiegleman, James Sturm, and Kurtzman for their comics. Siegel, Shuster, Bob Kane, Lee, Kirby, Ditko, Miller, Eisner, Gaiman and Moore as much due to films based of their comics as the source material., Oh ,and Todd McFarlane, because he bought a baseball. All 17 deserve a place in the top 20 of at least one of these lists, even McFarlin. Well perhaps not Sturm. However, a strong argument could be made for top 100. Only 8 of 16 made it at all. I am hypocritical of course, in that I think I only had 3 of the 17 on my list.

Sure, if you kill off Superman or Captain America for  a few months, it brakes a headline, or if Batwomen comes out of the closet. But this did not bring Rucha or Williams III notoriety. In their case I support strongly their presence on these list for their bodies of work and influence in propelling the medium forward.

The only other national story I can think of that poked it’s head out and into the big wide world was  the tragic murder of Steve Perry, which shed a much needed light on the day to day challenges most cartoonist live, as the destitute creators of comics which help broadly shape our culture. But his life story would not warrant a presence on this list.

Now, my number one Jim Woodring did not make it. However, given the competition, I am not alarmed by his absence. Just because I think Frank is the greatest comic ever made, does not make it so. Few people in comics are influenced and driven by his presence in the comics community. I was introduced to him by James Sturm at a Jack Davis lecture. James and I may love Jim’s work, and in my case even love it more then Jack Davis’s. I can love it more then James work. However, I can admit that James through his teaching is more influential then Jim and Jack Davis through his comics is far more influential, even on my work, then James (my former teacher) and Jim (my favorite cartoonist). So there are plenty of artsy or literary personal favorite cartoonist I would have loved to have seen make it (Adrian Tomine,  Seth, Jessica Abel, Robynn Chapman, Ben Towle, Max Clotfelter, Jason, Jordan Carine, David Cooper, Bernetti, Steven Weismann and Joe Sacco ). For everyone of these there are others in this corner of comics I don’t personally value as much, but are equally valued by others and share the same stature. None however even Jim, can compete with Jack Davis.

Because prior to 1969, let alone 1980, 1993, 2000, or 2010 there was Kirby, EC Comics and Jack Cole. Jack Davis and Frezetta where my favorites from EC, but an argument could be made for any of them to brake the top 25 artists. But for the sake of my bias, I would add Davis, Frazetta and the non-EC cartoonist Cole to represent what most Artsy, Literary and Popular corners of comics consider to be the bar they are attempting to reach, the mid 20th Century cartooning.

Now I had accepted this list would be American centrist. However given the influence, quality and popularity, I second the frustration with absence of a minimally broader international cartoonist and Manga in general. Of those the biggest omission is Hergé. He should have made top 5 on the artist list along with Clowes, Ware, Kirby and Crumb. Moebius presence does not cut it…and hello Akira!

Ok, so this sounds like I am a superhero hater. This is not the case. I have been reading Superhero comics almost daily since I was 4. I had Chris Claremont, Bill Sienkiewicz, Alan Davis, Darwyn Cooke, John Byrne and Bryan Hitch on my lists (in addition to some already mentioned). I support the presence of others that made it. I am baffled by the omission of Mark Shultz. I wish Mark Silvestri made it, he is my favorite of the Image founders, or the creators of DP7 my all-time favorite superhero series, but like Woodring, do they actually deserve it?

As mentioned, I have been surprised by the few I was not aware of, like Stuart Immonen. I wrote a scathing critique of his sample page, but I admit I am unfamilure and one page can not make or brake a cartoonist.

(Sorry about this next one Brian and Frank) Nevertheless, I am familiar enough with Frank Quitely strongly object to his place behind Kirby. When he replaced Hitch on the Authority I mark that as point similar to when Larson took over Amazing Spider-Man. I stopped buying them. I have since understood Larson’s competence outside his drawing style. I have gotten over my objection to Quitely’s style, but not enough to put him above 30-31 artist I have been trying to bump up or simply put on the list of 100. Certainly not number 2. It just happen’s I am retracing one of his books over the holiday, so if I change, I will let you all know.

I look forward to checking out others suggestions. I would hope we all will.

Three of my top ten artists didn’t show, I had Rick Veitch at #4, Paul Gulacy #5 and Curt Swan #6.

Rant my child, rant like the wiiiind…

Anyway, for the most part I agree and likewise I would find more people and forums (fora?) between just-superheroes crowd and Comics Journal crowd, neither of which is really for me…

Would be nice if more people read more comics, and preferably different types (at least before making broad statements about how this-and-that has changed all comics coming after them…sorry, Lee and Kirby, but you didn’t…Dirks&Knerr or McKay were probably the last ones in a position to do that). Doesn’t mean that one has to like everything (God knows I don’t) but restricting oneself to just one genre, or location, or historical period, or way of writing/drawing…I don’t see the point.

I’d mention though that recognition coming from non-comics sources is of course interesting but not an end-all either…especially since so far many of them have been centered on individual works and are concentrating more on newsworthy topics than, say, craft. It’s not like Time magazine would give a damn if there were good comics or not, or have universally applicable rules of what makes a good comic.

Would have been nice to see Clowes higher, even if I didn’t vote for him. What little I have seen of Ware has not interested me tbh. Tomine, sure. Seth, Brown and Abel, maybe (even if some of their work remind me of some Sundance phenomena who I am not that fond of).

Dunno about your definition about artsy, beside Jaime and Mazzucchelli I’d count Pope, Eisner and Moebius too…and of course that doesn’t do full justice to these people; before, elsewhere, I mentioned that I consider superhero comics as artform to have evolved in a way similar to, say, noh theatre or opera, that the art has become somewhat disconnected from common experience and unapproachable by a layman. And as such, folks like Kirby, Steranko, Sienkiewicz, Miller and so forth have been decided to explore possibilities of this specific field, and one assumes they have done it at least partly out of interest in art (there are no doubt artists in the field who want to make a quick buck out of doing some kewl pictures, or some who want little more than recreate the nostalgia of yesteryear, but they are not everyone in the field). I’d point out that these artists won’t have a chance of getting recognized by Time magazine, for Time is not interested in comics as artform an sich (though a friendly hint to anyone who wants to become one of the genuine artists in superheroes: it would be stupid to not pay attention what happens in other art forms and restrict your reading just to superhero comics).

Where is Simon Bisley~?` This is out rage~!` I was reading The books with Bisley’s art in the 90’s I would look at the wall of comics at the local comic shop and the stand out was Bisley covers. His run with Lobo and Dredd, and the Iconic Batman/Dredd, bring the King and axel rose together in Whitetrash, Marvel’s Toxin covers, Doom patrol covers, Slaine. His style is weird and Metal

Simon Bisley Is number # 1 in my book there is my vote~!`
Should be in the top # 25

Where the hell is Dave Sim if we’re going to name off who should be on this list. Seriously, I know folks don’t like his views and such, that’s why it was a stretch that he’d make the list as a writer since he doesn’t do superheroes (but does mock the heck out of ‘em in Cerebus) but I thought he’d rank somewhere on here as an artist. He did as much, if not more with the graphic narrative of comics than just about anybody on this list, let alone consistently keeping at it for a straight TWENTY-SEVEN years (monthly at that) while keeping the quality high. I don’t mean to disrespect the artists on this list because at the very least I like most of them and love just about all the rest but seriously, it sucks that Sim didn’t get a nod simply because he’s never drawn a superhero book at the Big Two.

AS:  Thanks. I am honestly of both worlds, and also one who embraces the old and new. So while here many are interpreting what I am saying as a rejection of Superhero Comics, it not. I am saying there is more out there and always has been. I am inviting them to check it out. This plea comes from a cartoonist and fans perspective. Yes, I want to read a wider diversity of quality work, but more importantly, I am pushing for the survival  of medium I personally value more, but has been treated as a second class citizen, and in turn protected by it’s readers from diversifying in a way that brings in other readers. Not elightist readers (we figured that one out), but everyone. Superhero comics have done a good job of maintaing many populist strengths the medium holds, while the Crumb-Clowes we have an attempt to deal with the real world. But Superhero comics Are limited by fantasy and Crumb-Clowes we have seen limited exsposure through market share and the peculiar proclivities of the individual artists. I no clue why I love both, but it mist come from the unique quality of experiences you get in reading and creating comics.

Your point about Time (ect…) not giving a crap, like I do of preserving and valuing the American visual and literary artform comic books like I do. One reason I am not there ranting, is I believe if we can’t all unite on basic appreciation in comic circles, then they will always exploit, devide and concur us, and we will never regain a sustainable cultural and market share.

This is just a favorites list, but I can not help my realization that it reflects how far we have to go as a community to become accessible to non-members.

I get that many have read Clowes and Ware and simply can’t stand their character’s story and point of view. I agree as thorough  as they are in delving into the human condition, both cartoonist are limited by the narrow outlook they have. More reason for more cartoonist of diverse perspectives who can work with the medium in such innovative and masterful ways, to provide access to “non-members.”

Like “Sundance,” ok (shrug). Don’t like “Sundance,” oh well. As for Artsy, I guess I should have said “Sundancey.”

Clearly all those who are great in comics strive to move the medium forward. Unfortunately your Opera comparison maybe quite astute.

Marry Christmas.

My no-shows here are:
8 – Eduardo Risso (I’m really surprised he didn’t appear)
7 – Sam Keith
4 – John Tottleben
2 – Alex Toth

Tragic miscarriages of justice all round.

Really interesting lists. Thanks for putting in all the work to compile them. 6 out of 10 from my picks placed which is probably a good percentage. If you’re up for it, I would also like to see the #51-100 list since I’m curious what votes my other choices received: Berni Wrightson, Wally Wood, Russ Heath and John Severin.

Nice to see Adam Hughes in the top 50. Very surprised to see J.H. Williams at 3rd. He is a terrific artist but I would have thought Moebius or BW Smith to be higher than Williams. I guess this is highly indicitive of the age demographics who voted. Congratulations to all the artists.

No Crumb. No Pekar in the writers list. Only big boobs and explosions for this crowd.

Disappointed that I don’t see Jim Starlin (tho it was nice to see him on the writer’s list), Sam Keith, and Ron Lim, who I believe drew the perfect Silver Surfer.

Some that maybe should have made the list..(or not) Jim Starlin, Sam Keith, Michael GOlden, Mike Zeck. Not to mention newer guys: Humberto Ramos, J Scott Campbell, Michael Turner, Marc Silvestri, Liefield(ugh) and McFarlane. I mean if it was a popularity contest, some of these artists were pretty popular and contempory with Bachalo who was in the 20’s. Others forgtten, Amanda Conner, Steve Hughes, Phil Jiminez, Joe Mad, and Ron Lim.

Lists are always fascinating and totally subjective. The same list could be run in 6 months time and display quite a difference in positions; in 10 years time, perhaps many (some) of the artists won’t even be in the list. As a snapshot of interest in particular artists, mainly US ones, it is a very useful list.

Disappointed that hardly any of my favourites turned up on the list (Alex Toth, Mort Meskin, Maneely, Everett, Colleen Coover, Jack Cole, Rumiko Takashi, Frank Bellamy, Williamson, Frazetta, countless British artists who toiled on UK comics but rarely got their names on the issues etc) but at the same time, quite a few favorites did turn up on the list. Guess, we all have our favorite artists and writers.

Oh my god, this is even worse than the writer’s list!

the fact that Herge or Tezuka didn’t make either list… wow.

I’m convinced that Mark Bagley going to DC cost him a spot on this list. His Trinity work was sub-par, and made everyone forget the years of fantastic work he did on Ultimate Spider-Man.

You’re only as good as your most recent work, right?

Oh my god, this is even worse than the writer’s list!

the fact that Herge or Tezuka didn’t make either list… wow.

To be fair, exposure has a lot to do with it too. How many people who voted have been exposed to significant amounts of Herge or Tezuka?

For me Herge falls into that writer-artist slump, he is a decent writer but not quite among the top, and a great artist, but not quite enough to get a vote from me, and role of some stuff like panel and page layout is hard to place either to Herge-as-writer or Herge-as-artist. If there was top 10 writer-artists category, maybe then (some other greats, like Eisner, have the same problem).
And I guess it is established that manga- or Euro-readers among CSBG followers are definitely a minority.

I am still curious to see the 51-100 list, there have been some names mentioned in several posts…

I never read a Herge strip, but I did watch the occasional episode of “The Adventures of Tintin” animated TV series that ran in the early 1990s.

I didn’t like it very much. Looked like Indiana Jones, only boring and “clean.”

But I only watched bits and pieces of it because I was waiting for WONDER YEARS (both shows were on the same TV station here in Brazil).

And I also don’t know how much the TV series was faithful to the strips.

I’ve found the comments made throughout the countdowns to be just as entertaining as the countdowns themselves. It’s really interested how much of a personal interest fans take in the creators and their ranks on the lists.

As for myself, I admit to have a relatively recent respect for the creators. I say this because when I first started reading comics around 7-8 years old, I paid no attention to creator credits. It wasn’t until I was in college and I began to talk to other comics fans my attention to creators increased. Today, after 30 years of reading comics and at the age of 38, my main rule is (as it’s been since I first began reading) to read a comic because of the characters, not because of the creators. I don’t consider myself to follow creators from book to book, and I’m interested to know who does. For example, I’ve been reading the Avengers titles since the Steve Englehart and Roger Stern days. I now know, honor, and respect the work of the comic book creator since they’re the ones who make the characters I read interesting.

I thank Brian Cronin for initiating these polls and for keeping the guidelines simple: vote for your favorite creator. There are other artists and writers I wished would’ve rank on the poll, but the 50 most voted are just that: the 50 with the most votes. Many have asked for an #51-100 ranking, but after reading the comments, I think we fans have created our own (LOL).

"O" the Humanatee!

December 26, 2010 at 7:15 pm

I don’t consider myself to follow creators from book to book, and I’m interested to know who does.

I follow creators and characters, in differing proportions. If I am a fan of a creator, I will certainly give them a shot on a character I’m not generally a fan of. For example, back in the day, I started reading Power Man (Luke Cage’s retitled book) when Don McGregor – whom I was a fan of from his Black Panther and Killraven work – started writing it.

On the other hand, I give a lot more creator leeway when I’m a big fan of a character. The main example is Batman: I’ve generally continued buying Batman and Detective even when the writing or the art has become pretty dire. Even with Batman, however, I’ve dropped titles when things have gotten too awful.

In general, I try only to buy comics I enjoy. (This is made easier by having a limited budget.) IMHO, it’s silly to buy comics that suck just because your favorite characters are in them.

Not exposed to Herge? I really, really feel bad if that’s the case.

As for Tezuka, they may not know it, but they have. I mean, he’s the Godfather of Manga, for Pete’s sake.

@Shurron Farmer

I think you and I have polar opposite reading/collecting habits, and I’m a bit fascinated that you’re surprised by a habit like mine. I ONLY follow creators, and have/would never stick with a character through bad creators (with the lone exception of buying all x-titles between the ages of 11-14 regardless of who was working on them).

Virtually every semi-major character in comics is represented in my collection, but only certain stories and certain runs. Here are just a handful of characters that I own every issue of one run, but basically nothing else of that character:

Thor: Simonson run, nothing else
Alpha Flight: Byrne run, nothing else
Superman: Byrne run, Alan Moore stories, almost nothing else
Hulk: David run, almost nothing else
X-titles: all Claremont issues, Morrison run, almost nothing else
Nightwing: Dixon run, nothing else
Aquaman: David run, nothing else
Legion: both Giffen runs, nothing else
Titans: Wolfman/Perez run, Johns run, nothing else
Doom Patrol: Morrison run, nothing else
Stormwatch/Authority: Ellis run, nothing else
Moon Knight: Moench/Sienkiewicz run, nothing else
Iron Man: Layton/Michelinie run, nothing else

Just thinking about it (without really checking), the only characters that I have huge stretches of issues that span multiple creative teams are Hellblazer, Swamp Thing, Justice League, Daredevil, and the Avengers. But even in those cases, I don’t think I have the titles through any bad creative teams, with the exception of the Doug Wheeler Swamp Thing run, but that was pretty brief.

Anyways, I guess my only point is that I pretty strictly only follow creative teams, regardless of what character they’re working on, because a good writer can make anyone interesting, and any writer with an established career wouldn’t take on a character unless they had a specific plan.

So while there aren’t many characters that I have a lot of stuff by, I own almost every comic ever written by Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Chris Claremont (pre-90s), Frank Miller (pre-00s), Neil Gaiman, Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, James Robinson (pre-comeback), John Byrne (pre-Wonder Woman), and a handful of others.

To be honest, and I’m sure this will incite a fair share of argument, I feel like following a character regardless of creative team is ridiculous, and is no different than a housewife that watches a soap opera every day; ultimately you only do it because you’ve become a slave to knowing what happens next, even though it will almost always aggravate you. When longtime Spider-Man fans bitch about things like the Clone Saga and One More Day, I just find it ironic because by still buying the comic, you’re enabling the creative team to get away with what they’ve done. On the other hand, if everyone that hated One More Day immediately stopped buying the Spidey titles, Marvel might have been forced into apologizing for it, or retconning it, or at least somehow acknowledging wrongdoing. This is (more than) a bit corny, but it’s like Gandhi said: Be the change you want to see in the world. If you think a creative team is doing a shitty job, stop giving them your money.

In general, I think a lot of comic fans are loyal to a fault, as if dropping (for example) Spider-Man will somehow be cheating on poor Spidey, and his feelings will be hurt. Or worse, those fans feel like dropping Spidey would be like cheating on their 12-year old selves, so they just have to persevere through it.

I sometimes am too loyal to creators, but there are still limits. I loved John Byrne, but I dropped Wonder Woman pretty quickly, and have only given him a few tries since then. Few people are bigger Claremont X-Men fans than me, but Sovereign Seven was atrocious, and I haven’t bought a single Claremont comic since (though I keep thinking I should try X-Men Forever… does anyone have any opinions about it?). Likewise with Frank Miller, I thought he jumped the shark with Sin CIty: Hell and Back. I took one glance at DKSA and knew I didn’t want anything to do with it, and I got ASB&R from the library and thought it was legitimately the worst comic I’ve ever read, and was thrilled that I hadn’t actually bought an issue (though I do think Frank Miller owes me 2 hours of life).

So that’s my rant. Are there others like me? Or do most of you out there own every single issue of Amazing Spider-Man that came out since you were 12 and you think I’m insane for not having a single character that I follow?

I guess here’s what it really boils down to: For me, comics aren’t about the characters. I truly love comics for two main reasons. 1) I’m fascinated by the art of visual storytelling, always have been. (I’m a film critic.) And 2) I love the idea of a shared universe, and when it’s done well (Green Arrow: Quiver is my favorite example), It’s an amazing story-telling device that is almost totally unique to comics (and sci-fi/fantasy novels).

Wow, no Curt Swan?!? That’s just crazy. His iconic rendition of Superman (and Superboy & Supergirl, who he co-created) is the single most identifiable image of a hero by an artist in pop culture history. It adorned lunchboxes, magnets, posters, pins, t-shirts, toys, and virtually every Superman promotional event from the early 50’s to the late 80’s. He co-created the Legion of Super Heroes. He worked (sometimes uncredited) on western comics, crime comics, romance comics, war comics, science fiction comics. He was DC’s version of Jack Kirby, insanely prolific, usually putting out 2 to 3 books a month for almost 3 decades. But more to the point, the man was good, years before Neal Adams came on the scene, Swan brought a sense of realism to superhero comics, particularly to superman who before he took over drawing the character, was drawn either plasticy by Al Plastino or Boringly by Wayne Boring (sorry for the puns, I couldn’t help myself). His characters had different and noticeable facial differences, he could draw real emotion in those faces. He never shirked on backgrounds or in conveying a sense of place. But most importantly he could tell a story with his art, conveying what the writer was trying to get across with his (or her) words. I think it’s fair to say that only Kirby, Adams & maybe Steranko inspired more young people to become comic book artists. The man deserves his props, he should be on that list.

This list is not reflective of all time. Too many young voters with a shortage of perspective. Quietly is good, but not shoulder to shoulder with Jack good. Not even close.

Third Man

I don’t think I have the titles through any bad creative teams, with the exception of the Doug Wheeler Swamp Thing run, but that was pretty brief

It was – god it felt eternal. I guess it’s like that bit in Moore’s Swamp Thing when Arcane finds out he’s only been in Hell for a day rather than the endless years he thought he’d been there.

As for buying habits, I agree that it’s very silly to buy a comic when you’re not enjoying it just because you like the character. I did it a couple of times in my youth (mainly Doug Wheeler on Swamp Thing), but I have to admit, that I give a bit more leaway to certain characters – particularly Superman and Batman.

@Third Man

I don’t think either of us are alone in our collecting habits, and I believe comics are so vast that there’s room for readers of either habit (following a character or following creators). I guess I’m one who won’t read a comic solely because of who’s creating it. Therefore, I don’t think your comments will incite an argument as you stated. I cite the following titles I’ve been reading for many years:

1. Teen Titans – Every version since 1980 (i.e. Wolfman and Perez), including Teen Titans Spotlight, Team Titans, The Titans, and the current Teen Titans and Titans comics
2. Avengers – from Vol. 1 #243 to today and including New Avengers, Secret Avengers, and Avengers Academy. I also read WCA/Avengers West Coast and Avengers Spotlight
3. X-Men – Since the 90s, but went back and read the issues post-Giant Size X-Men #1. I have to say that I did stop reading it after Onslaught, picked it up again and have been reading since Grant Morrison’s New X-Men era, and am now thinking of letting it go again.
4. Justice League – Since the Gerry Conway/George Perez days; I didn’t read it post-Legends, but picked it up again during Grant Morrison’s time on the book (not because of Morrison, but more because I prefer the Big 7 roster). I’m not too happy with James Robinson’s current run, but I’m interested to see where the book heads in the future.
5. Legion of Super-Heroes – This was the 1st comic I ever read (beginning with the 1st appearance of the Fatal Five). I read this comic until the Keith Giffen 5-year jump, but picked it again and have been reading since the appearance of the SW6 version.
6. Thor – I’ve read Thor nonstop since Walt Simonson’s run on the book. This includes the previous volume began by Dan Jurgens and the current volume.

I tried following creators for a time, but found it didn’t work for me because of lack interest in the characters. For example, I followed the Image Founders in their initial releases but found only WildC.A.T.S. to be most interesting (and this interest didn’t last for more than 5 issues). I also tried comics by independent publishers and in genres other than superheroes, but in doing so found I’m just a Marvel and DC fan first and foremost. I also found that for myself it’s first about my interest in the characters and 2nd honoring the creators who make the characters I read interesting. As long as I’m interested in the characters I’ll keep reading the book. This isn’t to say I’ll keep buying what I think are bad books; I agreee with DanCJ’s post that this would be silly, especially in today’s time with today’s comic book prices.

To end my comments, I encourage all who read this to check out Comic Vine’s video on knowing when to stop reading a comic you’ve followed and hit the group with your comments.

You guys should mention that this is only about American comics, it would make it clearer. And you could make a world list, it would be nice to read articles on Moebius, Masamune Shirow, Otomo, Akira Toriyama.

My Top 50 Comic Book Artists in no particular order

Neal Adams
Jim Aparo
C. C. Beck
John Byrne
Dan Clowes
Dave Cockrum
Gene Colan
Jack Cole
L. B. Cole
Darwyn Cooke
Robert Crumb
Kim Deitch
Tony DeZuniga
Steve Ditko
Will Eisner
Will Elder
Al Feldstein
Frank Frazetta
Jean “Moebius” Giraud
Paul Gulacy
The Bros Hernandez
Carmine Infantino
Michael Kaluta
Jack Kamen
Gil Kane
Jack Kirby
Joe Kubert
Jim Lee
Dave McKean
Jerry Ordway
George Perez
H. G. Peter
Paul Pope
Frank Quitely
Mac Raboy
Alex Ross
Steve Rude
P. Craig Russell
Mark Schultz
Bill Sienkiewicz
Dave Sim
Jim Steranko
Curt Swan
Alex Toth
J. H. Williams III
Al Williamson
Barry Windsor-Smith
Basil Wolverton
Wally Wood
Jim Woodring

André – it’s not just about American artists. It’s about whoever people vote for, which on this site just happens to be predominantly American artists.

DanCJ – Yes, I got that, that’s why I said American Comics, not American Artists, because apart from Moebius (that worked briefly on American comics), I believe that all others made their careers through that industry (at least most of them did). And it was merely a couple of suggestions, no critic intended. I thought it was a fair thing overall.

Sad part is that it wasn’t about just American comics, but due to voters, the top 50 creators are.

But of course one could just as well ask what we who are reading also other stuff than Marvel/DC are doing here in the first place (except to say “I don’t wanna talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries! “). Well, there’s the headline of the blog, “comics should be good”, on which I naturally agree. And the quickest and easiest way to achieve that is to notice that there are other things than Marvel and DC.

Almost half of the artists in my list are primarily known for their non-DC/Marvel work.

Just sayin’

It’s hard to take a list seriously when a guy dumps down fifty in no particular order. Bet if I listed my top seven hundred in no particular order I could include every single artist that anyone here has mentioned, a good three hundred that nobody else considered and most haven’t heard of, and not offend anybody by the sequencing or who I’ve left out.
Anyway, as it stands you’ve got DeZuniga clocking in just ahead of Ditko, so PLEASE give at least a little thought about SOME sense of order. And Rick Veitch not even in a top fifty?? Please……

André you’ve missed my point. I’m not pointing out that a few non-Americans who’ve done American comics have made the list. I’m pointing out that people can and did vote for artists who’ve never done American work. It’s just that none of them made the top 50.

fourthworlder –

Notice my list is alphabetical by list name. That’s the only preference given DeZuniga over Ditko.

I love the works of both men but their so different. How can I say which I like better ? There’s variation in an artist’s work as well. Is early Kirby the same as 80’s Kirby ?

In keeping with the theme and trying to simplify it somewhat, I felt compelled to add my 2 cents. It took a surprising amount of restraint to list just 50.

DanCJ. All right, you win. You’ve said it the first time but I didn’t understand. The problem was that I only saw the final list, I didn’t watch the voting process, but now I understand what you were saying. I take my words and apologize. But it’s a fantastic group of 50 artists anyway, so let’s enjoy that.

Hello everybody,
while i was enjoying the list very much, i’m astonished ! Where are Richard Corben, Eduardo Risso (!!!), Danijel Zezelj, Kelley Jones, Jill Thompson, Juanjo Guarnido, Mark Buckingham, Tony Harris, Moon/Ba, Frank Cho, Cameron Stewart, Sam Kieth, Chris Sprouse, Don Rosa, Simone Bianchi, Gene Ha, Skottie Young, Terry Dodson, Jeff Smith ??? I can see that lots of the voters like the superhero guys, but Mignola 11 and Risso nowhere…i don’t get it.

[…] a lista completa aqui.   E a lista dos 125 artistas aqui.     […]

WOW Frank Quitely is #2?… Why? Cause he likes to draw lumpy faced people? …. i don’t understand the love for his art…. I avoid a book at all costs if he’s on it.

Did ok with my artist picks.

4 George Perez – 1877 points (63 first place votes)
5 Neal Adams – 1296 points (31 first place votes)
16 John Buscema – 593 points (17 first place votes)
19 John Romita Sr. – 505 points (7 first place votes)
24 Walter Simonson – 449 points (7 first place votes)
57 Joe Madureira – 205 points (5 first place votes)
Claudio Castellini
Dan Jurgens
Jeff Matsuda
Ross Andru

Funny how only TWO of the Image Comics founders are here (Jim Lee and Todd McFarland, respectfully) considering they were the ones that completely changed the comic book industry. Rob Liefeld (no bashing) art did change Marvel and for a while and the way they designed newer characters. Marc Silversti, Jim Valentino, and Erik Larson also were big influences. Again, funny how times change.!

Brian Cronin

May 1, 2011 at 2:14 am

Silvestri is on the list.

I thought David Aja would have made the top 10, he’s not even listed and that’s just criminal.

No Capullo? Seriously? What is wrong with the world?

Ah! Marc is #55. My bad. But still, my point stands!

It seems that you forgot about Lee Bermejo :(

Any list with Wrightson this far down is simply a poor list.

I think John Paul Leon, Sergio Toppi and Milo Manara should be among the first ones on the list. But it’s ok… nothing is perfect.

I’m sad there’s no still no Oskner, C.C. Beck or especially Jack Cole. Wotta revoltin’ development..

Three artists I voted for were in top 50 (Kirby, Davis, Hernandez), two more showed up in the lower positions (Kieth and Russell, both who I was genuinely surprised to not see on top 50), remaining five (Guido Crepax, Mary Fleener, Ted McKeever, Joakim Pirinen and Hugo Pratt) are ones whose lack of support is probably more unfortunate than major injustice.

Some nice, albeit mostly expected, choices both in this and the writers list.To the people getting frustrated by these lists, they are just some lists, with the purpose to steer some discussion about the comicbook medium, not the be all and end all list of value for writers and artists. Actually, comicbooks as a form of art have no objetive value, just the subjective value their readers give them. And the same goes for the comicbook creators. There is no such thing as the best artist, just the artist somone likes the most. Most of anything in the comparisom of two artists, seems to me, like a behavioural left-over from ones less mature years, and really sad to be manifesting once more.

[…] been a year since Comic Book Resources published their 125 best comic book artists, as voted for by the readers of the site. After […]

[…] been a year since Comic Book Resources published their 125 best comic book artists, as voted for by the readers of the site. After […]

Brian Henson

May 9, 2012 at 9:53 pm

One name Frank Frazetta. He influenced everyone,and could do anything. He could paint realistic covers, drawfunny characters, animation, you name it. He did it better, and years before any of those guys on your list.

Jack Kirby had his faults,the way he drew people for example,but deserves to top the list,for the sheer dynamic and breathtaking images and panoramas he through in your face.It was at Marvel he flourished and matured,that enabled him to do good stuff elsewhere.Its impossible to imagine comics evolving without him.

With all do respect to other comics artists John Buscema is no.1!!

I think you’re proberly right,he certainly drew people well,not looking like comic book characters,but think he acknowlledged Kirby’s influence.

Ya know, some listers here are offended that we American have predominantly chosen American artists and mostly superheroes at that. News flash : Comics are an American art form and predominated by the superhero market. We’ve had only a tiny sliver of international product translated or reprinted for our marketplace.

Comics don’t have to be and are’nt rellay a genre.All genres are man-made,artists and writers rather,are born.

I guess I’m not understanding what you’re saying.

Well,lets say that they belong to the larger media;so many myths evolve around genres that lead to misleading and full of ill-informed ideas,but all true works of art or literature to which many so-called “comics” belong,and can be judged on their own merits.Ok.

Only one of the great ec artists made the list and probably for his work on daredevil. They were robbed.

I know who you mean,and he was great,but its unlikely that many people today will remember EC,and is not helped by the fact that during the witch-hunt for comics in the 1950s,they nearly all went underground.

Al Williamson, Harvey Kurtzman, Willie Elder, Al Feldstein, Wally Wood, Bernie Krigstein, Frank Frazetta, Jack Kamen, George Evans, Johnny Severin, Graham Ingels, Johnny Craig, Jack Davis all belong on this list IMO.

I wouldnt disagree,but unless they did stuff for mainstream comics from the 1960s onwards,the’re unlikely to be known to comic fans/collecters today.You have got a very strong point though.

I agree. Marvel is the big dog and most fans think backwards to the 60’s. That’s what they’ve been exposed to.

I’ll be honest,when I first started reading comics seriously and taking notice of the artists in 1970,I only knew Wally Wood from the reprint comics.I thought is stuff was fantastic,showing great technical detail,but he really, like John Buscema,knew how to draw real people.Also Steve Ditko at that time.Unless there today’s fans scrouge for reprints and assuming they are available,they won’t knew these 1950s veterans.I think theres younger fans now who proberly don’t know of Jack Kirby,Steve Ditko,Jim Steranko,Neal Adams, or even Wally Wood for his 1960s stuff.Also it should be remembed,that fashions have changed so much,and will look dated to many modern fans.You’re right though.

i agree with this : that’s why it was a stretch that he’d make the list as a writer since he doesn’t do superheroes (but does mock the heck out of ‘em in Cerebus)

thank u

Do you mean Wally Wood?The stuff he did on superhero comics proberly did’nt look like superheroes,but was superior to that done on those of the same generic type.He did do some excellent work for the Dr Doom mini series inthe early 1970s for Marvel though.

Am I missing something? No Frazetta?! Bogus list.

I think Will Eisner should be 2nd place and Neal Adams at 3rd just for they’re impact alone. I don’t see Frank Quietly and J.H. Williams having the same longetivity those two have. Also, Wally Wood and Alex Toth are too low on this list and Frank Frazetta is completely abscent.

No Basil Wolverton? Seriously? Glad to see Kirby at the top, but Neal Adams should be right behind him. I thought artists like Wrightson and Barry Smith could have been higher. What about Frank Frazetta and Jim Woodring?


sebastian brecht

January 14, 2014 at 8:58 am

don martin of mad

1. Jack Kirby
32. Moebius
124. Sergio Aragones

As for Enki Bilal, doesn’t seem to be in the list.


A list like this is bound to be an exercise on futility and nonsense, and to cause some of the negative comments above. There is nothing necessary wrong with the list as much as it is pointless and utterly subjective.

Imagine someone in a cinema site doing a “Best 100 Movie Directors” list. Then we’ll have Ridley Scott as #50, and whomever directed “The Matrix 7 – Revenge of the Counter-Attack” in #2, etc. and there will be endless bashing and trolling.


This list is a joke! Rob Liefeld didn’t even make it. Maybe he’s #126, just barely got cut out?

Um, I’m flabbergasted there’s no mention of Adi Granov on this entire page. List or comments. Flabbergasted.

Dale Keown??

Aaaaaand I forgot Paul Pope, Tony Harris, Pia Guerra, Declan Shalvey, Darwyn Cooke and Jeff Smith.

I’m terrible.

Random American Omissions: Frank Frazetta, Lou Fine, Jerry Ordway, CC Beck, Simon Bisley, Fred Guardineer, Nick Cardy, Jack Cole, and dozens more.

Somehow I doubt CBR’s fanbase actually loves Jack Kirby as much as he’s voted, which defeated the whole purpose of having a poll based on favorites.

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