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CSBG Archive

Top 50 Comic Book Artists #30-26

Here are the next five artists that you voted as your favorites of all-time based on over one thousand ballots cast! Click here to see the writers #30-26 on the countdown. Click here to see a master list of all artists listed so far.

NOTE: As I did last time, I’m featuring five notable works per creator.

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

Ivan Reis’ career first started working on Dark Horse Comics’ Ghost in the late 1990s…

He then became basically the signature artist of Lady Death and the Chaos line of comics…

He then began doing some fill-in work for Marvel and DC, most notably with some Avengers issues…

Eventually he settled in at DC, having a stint on Action Comics and drawing the Infinite Crisis tie-in Rann/Thanagar War before taking over Green Lantern with writer Geoff Johns…

His run on Green Lantern made him a major star artist. He followed up his Green Lantern run with DC’s latest major crossover, Blackest Night (also with Johns)…

Here is a sample page by Reis…

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

Art Adams burst on to the comic book scene with the mini-series Longshot for Marvel (with writer Ann Nocenti).

He soon settled in to a pattern of working on special projects for Marvel, specifically on their X-Men line of comics (most notably the 1985 X-Men in Asgard storyline)…

He also had a prominent storyline on Fantastic Four with writer Walt Simonson, where the pair introduced the NEW Fantastic Four…

During the mid-90s, Adams developed a creator-owned series, Monkeyman and O’Brien…

Mostly though, he continues to do short runs and covers for various comic book companies. One of his more notable short runs was on Jonni Future with Alan Moore for Tom Strong’s Terrific Tales…

Here is a sample page by Adams…

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

French artist Olivier Coipel first gained mainstream attention with his run on the Legion of Super-Heroes with writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning…

Soon, Marvel had snared Coipel to draw the Avengers…

Following his time on the Avengers, Coipel drew the major Marvel crossover House of M with writer Brian Michael Bendis…

Coipel’s next ongoing series was Thor, with writer J. Michael Straczynski…

Most recently, Coipel teamed up with Bendis again for another crossover, Siege…

I do not know what Coipel’s next project will be yet. Although I’m pretty darn sure that it will look awesome.

Here is a sample page by Coipel…

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

After some work on Sandman, Chris Bachalo rose to prominence with a long run on Shade the Changing Man with writer Peter Milligan…

After the run ended, he had a very notable stint on the high-profile mini-series, Death: The High Cost of Living (written by Neil Gaiman).

Bachalo then went to Marvel, where he co-created Generation X with writer Scott Lobdell…

Since Generation X, Bachalo has done a number of series for Marvel, including not one, not two, but THREE separate stints at the regular artist on Uncanny X-Men/X-Men. Here’s the first one…

Bachalo also did a creator-owned book with writer Joe Kelly…

Bachalo today is still working for Marvel on a variety of projects.

Here is a sample page by Bachalo…

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

Gil Kane began working in comics in the 1940s and was working steadily into the 1960s on a variety of titles, from westerns to science fiction (heck, he even had a prominent run on Rex the Wonder Dog!).

But nowadays, it is his involvement in the beginnings of the Silver Age that he is most remembered for, including helping to re-launch Green Lantern…

and the Atom…

He had long stints on each title.

In the late 1960s, Kane tried his hand at independent comics, working on one of the first attempts at a graphic novel outside of the “main” comic book companies…

In the 1970s, he began working for Marvel, including significant stints on Captain Marvel (where he would re-design the character with writer Roy Thomas)…

and Amazing Spider-Man, where he would draw the famous “drug” storyline that did not carry the approval of the Comics Code and, even more famously, the death of Gwen Stacy!

It’s interesting to note that John Romita did the cover for the issue. This is particularly interesting because one of the major uses for Kane by Marvel was to draw covers for about a gazillion comics.

Kane continued to work on a number of different projects before he passed away in 2000.

Here is a sample page by Kane…


Great list. Shocked to see Gil Kane place so highly, not because he isn’t great but because I thought some of the other old-schoolers who already appeared on this list were better like Joe Kubert and Gene Colan.

Seeing those covers of Shade, Death (though it’s by McKean) and Gen X brings tears to my eyes, as I am reminded of how Chris Bachalo was once one of the very best artists in the industry.

Looking back at Art Adams old X-stuff, it becomes painfully apparent now how much of a ripoff Liefeld was doing of Adams back in the day. I guess it was harder to notice because Liefeld’s so less talented that it the end product ended up being miles away from Adams’s level. Liefeld’s lack of skills made for the perfect camoflauge. Just makes it that much sadder that Liefeld got so much more fame and presumable money from his career than the guy he was aping.

Davey Boy Smith, you took the words out of my mind… It’s so hard for me to reconcile X-Men’s Chris Bachalo with the artist who drew the Death miniseries.

As an old school comic book guy I’m very familiair with Adams and Kane and approve of their placement here. Had never really seen any work of the other artists before. I really like what I see of Coipel’s work, but Bachalo doesn’t seem to be my cup of tea. Of the new guys(for me) my favortie by far was Reis. The examples here are fabulous. I’m not sure Reis shouldn’t rank higher based on this stuff.

Gotta love some Art Adams. Some of my favouroite stuff of all time.

Copiel and Bachalo are good too.

Didn’t vote for any of these artists. However I really like Oliver Coipel’s stuff and Chris Bachalo’s older stuff (from Shade!).

This group…Kane and early Bachalo are, well, nice, and what little I have seen from Adams I have liked but I haven’t seen that much…the other two I have read little and they don’t really look like my cup of tea.

I’d switch the previous five with this group in a second.

I prefer Bachalo’s newer/current stuff to his old stuff. That’s right!

@Bill Reed: As do I. I feel like I can actually read it now.

Bachalo was sometimes good on Generation X and on the X-Men sample page shown here, but his recent Spider-Man stuff is absolutely hideous.
I’ve seen Coipel’s work here and there, and it’s mostly all right, but there always seems to be at least a couple of panels where I can’t be sure what’s supposed to be happening.

Good picks today. Coipel and Reiss weren’t guys I considered, but I enjoy their stuff and they make everything look good. Gil Kane is a guy that I suspect you have to be older than I am to fully appreciate. I generally like his covers, but his interiors don’t do a lot for me. I think he’s a guy that’s better at composition than line work, which is what made him such a great cover artist.

Art Adams and Bachalo were both painfully close to being on my list. Someone mentioned that Liefeld’s whole career came from ripping off Adams, which is completely true, but I think a similar case could be made for McFarlane as well. McFarlane obviously had more natural talent than Liefeld, but I still think he owes a hell of a lot to Adams. It really is a shame Adams wasn’t fast enough for monthly work; If he and Claremont could have done an extended Uncanny run, that might have been the greatest super-hero book ever (not an exaggeration). Great sample page choice too, Brian.

Oh Bachalo, how great you once were. Even through most of his Generation X work, the guy really was spectacular. It’s a shame he changed so much (and not for the better). I have to say Brian, I think the sample page should have been either from Shade or early Generation X. His later X-Men work doesn’t give a great idea of why so many people loved him in the first place.

Oh, two more points…

I think part of why Bachalo went south was the separation from Buckingham. Like Lee/Williams and Quesada/Palmiotti, Buckingham really brought out the best in Bachalo’s work, and his pencils have never quite looked as good inked by anyone else. In fact, that would be an interesting supplement to this list… for every penciler on here, what inker brought out their very best?

And the second point: Reiss is heavily influenced by Alan Davis, who I really hope will be showing up on here (and yet, he’s another guy that just barely missed out on my list, so I can’t be mad if he gets left off).

@Bill Reed and Jeremy-

I wonder if you’re both thinking of Bachalo’s “older” stuff as his late late 90s/early 00s X-title stuff, which is the nadir of his career, whereas what other people are calling his “older” stuff is his Vertigo work from the early 90s. Specifically Jeremy, if you had trouble reading what you refer to as his older stuff, I feel like it had to be the X-title stuff. His Vertigo work had unbelievably clear linework and was never overly busy. Next time you’re in a comic shop, just glance through the 2nd and 3rd Shade: The Changing Man trades that are currently in print, or the first Death miniseries.

The Crazed Spruce

December 10, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Still haven’t hit my top 10 yet, but Adams and Bachalo were in my nigh-infamous 11th place tie. And I’m kicking myself for forgetting about Reis, Coipel, and especially Kane.

(And I never knew how much Doc Savage looked like Lee Marvin!)

If the list were “Your Least Favorite Comic Book Artists,” Coipel and Bachalo would definitely be near the top of my list, right alongside Frank Quitely (whom I’m sure is still to show up on the countdown). Ugh. It’s no rip on the people themselves — I just can’t get into their respective styles. Coipel’s Thor is so distinctively ugly to me. It really has gotten to the point where, when reading old Thor comics, I can’t help but see this new butt faced version attached to the stories now. I just don’t get the appeal.

Kane is the first person on either of my lists to show up on these countdowns so far. I think I had him at 8 or 9, and really, I had to put him on my list simply because of how he drew Gwen Stacy. Kane’s Gwendy = heaven on paper.

It’s been a lot of fun to see how these rankings and point totals stack up between these people of different eras. It’s just a bit odd, though, to see the juxtaposition of it all. Not just in stylization, but different eras in terms of what paper was being used, how comics were lettered and colored, and, ultimately, how the artists’ comprehend and adapt to those factors. I suppose the contrast will only become more pronounced from here on out.

I have to say Brian, I think the sample page should have been either from Shade or early Generation X. His later X-Men work doesn’t give a great idea of why so many people loved him in the first place.

I specifically went for one without Buckingham on inks. While I love Buckingham’s art, and they were great together, Buckingham’s inks were so heavy it really was more Bachalingham than it was Bachalo.

Nobody from my list in this batch, but man, I did love Adams’s work, and you can’t argue with Kane.

Reis was high on my list, I think I may have overlooked Bachalo- but I’ve really enjoyed his work over the years, mainly his newer stuff in the X-Books and in ASM. I briefly considered Kane but decided to focus on more contemporary artists for the most part.

Decent choices. I don’t really get the Kane appeal, mostly because the action seems a bit perfunctory and less exciting than the energy that crackles off the Copiel and Reis scenes. It’s almost like all those exclamation points in the captions are trying to make up for lack of urgency in the art. Even the pterodactyl looks bored in the second to last panel.

I think Bachalo’s an interesting artist. He seems to be constantly trying new things with his art. Sometimes it works, sometimes it’s incomprehensible, but it’s never boring.

I’ve never connected with Ivan Reis’s stuff. I understand why people like it, but it’s always left me kind of cold.

Man, Art Adams was amazing back in the day. 12 year-old me would’ve had him at #1.

I can’t remember exactly who I voted for, but I’m pretty sure I voted for Kane. I really dig his Spider-Man work.

I do not know what Coipel’s next project will be yet. Although I’m pretty darn sure that it will look awesome.

Did you vote for him, Brian? Actually, did you vote at all, or are you a completely neutral moderator or somesuch thing?

Finally one of my picks showed up: KANE! Gil Kane is an amazing penciler AND inker. Happy to see that people still love the old-timers. Didnt vote for Colan but he’s definitely on my top 20.

I’ll back Adams, Kane, and Bachalo, but those are two are just silly.

Uh, other two. Typos are also silly.

Tom from West Chester

December 10, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I don’t think I’ve seen anyone mention it, but I think that Bachalo’s recent Spider-man work has been outstanding, and much more interesting than the other recent Marvel worked that preceded it. He felt like a dynamic and exciting storyteller again, rather than muddled and confusing like he often does to me.

Huh. I’ve read some of his stuff, but the name “Ivan Reis” never registered with me. Does whoever drew the most recent big crossover get a free pass?

(Although that Ghost cover is really good.)

Dave – “Decent choices. I don’t really get the Kane appeal, mostly because the action seems a bit perfunctory and less exciting than the energy that crackles off the Copiel and Reis scenes. It’s almost like all those exclamation points in the captions are trying to make up for lack of urgency in the art. Even the pterodactyl looks bored in the second to last panel.”

I feel just the opposite. Copiel and Reis work (on here) rely so heavily on the slick coloring that you can’t see the art work underneath it.
Kane’s work is incredibly dynamic with his use of angular panel boarders and such. No he deffinetly doesn’t need exclamation points. If Kane had all the help those other 2 got and worked on the high profile books they do, you can be sure he would be raking way up the list.
My favorite Kane is his 80’s work on things like Atom and Green Lantern.

I haven’t seen Reis work besides what’s here but I’ve seen some of Copiel’s work on Avengers v. 3 and like previously listed artist, Finch, I thought it was adequate but not an artist that I’d go looking for. He must have improved a whole lot in the last 6 or 7 years to make it on this list.

Adam’s is the man! No one was better than him in the day! His Wolverine was on every comic add for at least 10 years!

re-enforces my desire for the DnA Legion Run to be collected… (Although I did hear rumors that Legion Lost will FINALLY be collected sometime next year)

Why isn’t Ivan Reis attached to a book? I’m sorry..I know the Green Lantern current artists have their fans but compare those to his page above…

Bachalo and Ramos are in the same category for me..at times I really like their work…and other times it looks like a muddled mess…

Kane is one of the greats no doubt… and Adams…whew! I so miss Monkeyman and O’Brien

I love Arthur Adams. He made my list, #3 if I remember correctly. It’s a shame he’s never really been fast enough to do a regular monthly comic for very long. He’s one of a very small group of artists who will get me to buy a comic solely for their artwork.

I was one of those first place votes on Gil Kane. I’m not an art aficionado by any means, but I love the guy, especially when he was his own inker.

The only one from my list in today’s go-round is Gil Kane.

It’s amazing how good Adams’ work on Monkeyman & O’Brien and Tom Strong looks compared to that hideous early Longshot and X-Men stuff. It’s barely recognizable as the same artist. Then again, it’s from the early-ish years of a fairly ugly era all-around for the X-Men, Marvel, and comics in general.

Kane was literally my eleventh place pick. At the last minute I remembered someone and bumped him down (and off). Kane is absolutely amazing. As Kevin Nowlan has said, whenever you need to choreograph a dramatic fight scene, just crack open a Kane comic.

Bachalo and Adams!!! Fantastic artists!!! I think I had Bachalo down as my #2 fav… and I’m pretty sure Adams was on there too. The other guys are also wonderful talents — I loved Reis’ work on Action Comics. Coipel on House of M, and Gil Kane’s Black Panther covers in the 70s.


That’s quite a compliment from Kevin Nowlan, another great artist who almost got in my list. Kane was the master of the fight scenes.

[i](And I never knew how much Doc Savage looked like Lee Marvin!)[/i]

@Crazed Spruce… Kane’s creation “His Name is Savage” is not based on the Lester Dent Doc Savage creation of pulp lore. Kane came up with his Savage character (not a “Doc”) in 1968 for his experimental indie graphic novel. I do believe he had Lee Marvin in mind by way of physical appearance. Certainly, that’s the model for this painted cover.

Gil Kane was on my list and Art Adams almost made it. I love Kane’s clean, sharp lines. Adams, like Michael Golden, always made everything look fun without being too cartoony. A fine line some on this list haven’t mastered.

His Name is Savage is not actually Doc Savage, Crazed Spruce. Different character, but because of the Lee Marvin look, the book didn’t last long. I *think* in the story in Anything Goes #1, the Marvin look is less pronounced. Brian probably did a Legend about Savage, right, Brian? (and I typed this before reading bendaydot’s comment) If you want to see some neat later Kane art, find the one Judgment Day book, Aftermath, from Liefeld’s Maximum Studios or whatever it was called, but it’s Kane drawing Alan Moore stories. And it’s awesome (oh, wait, that’s right, the company WAS called Awesome!)

Reis, I haven’t read enough, but it looks ok.

Coipel, I actually read those Legion issues. Good stuff. House of M looked ok, too.

Bachalo is good stuff, but I haven’t seen much lately. Shade was a great book, but Brian’s probably right that Buckingham overpowered him.

Art Adams! Woo! There was a letter column I saw in an issue of Marvel Fanfare where someone was annoyed that “some new guy” signed his name “Adams”, trying to “fool” people into thinking that *Neal* drew the cover. Funny. His work is great, and it looks even better today than back in the day. And for those comparing his work to Liefeld and McFarlane, in the latest version of the Cerebus Guide to Self Publishing, there’s a bit somewhere in there where Dave Sim characterizes the Image guys as promoting or utilizing the Art Adams linework for their stuff. I can see it when people point it out…

Art Adams almost made my list. His early artwork may have been a bit line-heavy, but the cartoonish qualities offset the overrendering. Unlike, say, Jim Lee, Adams work is characterized by a sense of humor and fun. In addition to the comics featured above, readers would do well to seek out his Creature From the Black Lagoon adaptation, and his Godzilla one-shot from Dark Horse in the ’90s. Art Adams is one of the best monster comics artists in the medium.

Reis & Coipel seem like solid artists. I’ve read little from either.

I like Bachalo’s current art, but Bachalo & Buckingham were one of those magic penciler & inker teams. Each one brought out the other’s strengths.

Gil Kane is one of the masters, and almost made my list. His action scenes are superb, and he infused his work with such dynamism.

Arthur Adams is awesome. And T. is right, it’s a fucking shame how Liefeld ripped him off. As an artist, Liefeld isn’t fit to lick the ground Adams walked on.

The others are all good, even though I’m a bit tired of Ivan Reis’s style. He’s like an Image artist, but not as silly.

Yay Bachalo! Was my number 2, I believe.

Please none of this “let’s statistically analyze who will be on the list” stuff. I hate that.

And a second pick of mine makes the list. Bachalo was my #9. I wasn’t impressed with the first issue I read of his work (X-Men #188), but he quickly grew on me. Every once in a while he gets carried away with crazy layouts (like in the aforementioned X-Men issue), but when he’s on he’s on. I love his work so much that I’m reading a second arc of Gischler’s X-Men.

This is fun, great batch. I love Coipel’s work, so it’s too bad on of the 5 examples isn’t really his. Maybe you could change that, Brian.

Art Adams was on my list.

His stuff on X-Men was just so Iconic to me. Adams, Byrne, Lee and Silvestri are, to me, the premier X-Men artists. Not the best, necessarily, but the ones that defined the look of the team in my eyes.

This is fun, great batch. I love Coipel’s work, so it’s too bad on of the 5 examples isn’t really his. Maybe you could change that, Brian.

Sadly, he never did any Avengers covers, so I had to go with a cover not by him to represent his Avengers run (which was very notable in his career, so I had to include it).

Gil Kane deserved a lot better than this, but as with Gene Colan is a victim of being a past master. I know Gene is still around but the reality is he is all but retired, and most of this generation of readers would have little contact with their work. Shame really. IMHO Kane is just plainly one of the best ever. Still think that his Green Lantern looked like he was really flying, and the costumes for GL and Captain Marvel ( I’ll go out on a limb here and assume Kane designed them) are 2 of the coolest.

These 2 artists are the embodiment of what I think of as “best of all time”. Not JUST because I like their style, but also because they amassed a large body of work across multiple genres, decades, and companies, and rarely failed to deliver. And as with few others you can still see their influence in the art of a lot of newcomers.

Coipel from the little I have seen (Thor) is talented and I do really like Reis, but when I voted I felt the candidate needed longevity, a decent body of work (hence no Art Adams for me), or to have influenced others to a large degree(Neil Adams anyone).

i like bachalo, i’ve always enjoyed what others consider “messy” artwork. it makes reading comics more like a discovery than being spoonfed a story. it’s just a matter of paying attention to what you see. and as a guy said before, he always seems to be trying new stuff. am i the only one that though how genious he was on Steampunk? or how it turned out when he made that demon cross the gutters to punch spiderman in previous panels?

and i’m particulary glad that he’s not the kind of artist that would add a shitload of veins on every character’s necks and arms.

Bachalo (my number one pick) is one of those artists who isn’t afraid to let his style evolve. And while I prefer his early 90s work to what he puts out today – he is still a great artist when paired with the right inker (like Tim Townsend).

Many of his books today get up to three inkers – and the Townsend pages really stand out. Some of the others become muddy and hard to follow.

But Bachalo/Buckingham – it doesn’t get any better than that.

Gil Kane could Not draw faces!

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