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CSBG Archive

Top 50 Comic Book Artists: #7-5

Here are the next three artists that you voted as your favorites of all-time based on over one thousand ballots cast! Click here to see the writers #7-5 on the countdown. Click here to see a master list of all artists listed so far.

NOTE: Five notable works per creator

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

After beginning his career at Charlton Comics, John Byrne quickly made the move to Marvel and soon was working for Marvel on a variety of comics, including notable stints on Iron Fist and Marvel Team-Up (both with writer Chris Claremont) as well as other titles. His skills as an artist got him bigger and higher profile assignments, including Avengers and the Fantastic Four. Looking back, though, his stint on the X-Men is probably his best remembered run, art-wise. Byrne took over from Dave Cockrum as the series artist and stayed on for over 30 issues, eventually becoming a co-plotter of the series with writer Chris Claremont…

After leaving the book, Byrne began writing AND drawing the Fantastic Four…

He also launched Alpha Flight for Marvel (characters Byrne had created for an issue of X-Men)…

During the mid-80s, Byrne left Marvel to reboot the Superman line of comics for DC (longtime Byrne inker Terry Austin worked with Byrne on the Superman reboot, as well).

After a number of issues of Superman (Byrne was writing and drawing two Superman titles for quite awhile), Byrne left the series and returned to Marvel. Since then, Byrne has worked on various projects for both companies. He also worked on independent comics, such as the Next Men…

Recently, Byrne has done a number of projects for IDW, including some of the best Star Trek comic book art ever, and is now also bringing back his Next Men characters for a new series.

Here is a sample page by Byrne….

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

Jim Lee first broke in at Marvel in the late 1980s on Alpha Flight before getting a lot more exposure on Punisher War Journal.

Pretty soon he was given a crack at Marvel’s crown jewel, Uncanny X-Men (still written by Chris Claremont)…

Lee became such a star artist drawing X-Men that Marvel let him launch a brand-new X-Men title that he would write AND draw (after Claremont did the first few issues)…

Lee’s X-Men #1 is likely the highest selling single issue of all-time.

Lee left Marvel soon after launching the new X-Men title to co-found Image Comics. For Image, he debuted WildC.A.T.S….

Lee helped create a number of new series while at Image, including Stormwatch and Gen 13 (two titles that took on a life of their own with different creative teams).

During the mid-90s, Lee’s Wildstorm studio was given Fantastic Four and Iron Man to do with as he pleased for a year (along with his writing partner, Brandon Choi, and his longtime inker, Scott Williams)…

In the late-90s, Lee split from Image and sold his studio to DC Comics. Soon afterwards, in 2002, Lee drew the year-long Batman epic, Hush, with writer Jeph Loeb…

It was a smash hit, leading to another year-long story by Lee for Superman (with writer Brian Azzarello). Lee has been working on All Star Batman and Robin with writer Frank Miller for a few years now.

Recently, Lee was named Co-Publisher of DC Comics, a great honor for a great comic book icon.

Here is a sample page by Lee….

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

Neal Adams had a strong background in the field of comic strips before he made the move to comic books in the late 1960s. Unlike other artists of the previous generations, Adams took his talents to both Marvel and DC fairly equally. He started at DC doing Deadman…

before going to Marvel for a famous stint on the X-Men…

then to an even MORE famous stint on Green Lantern…

then to a famous run on the Avengers…

then to a famous series of Batman comics….

Suffice it to say that pretty much every extended run Adams had on a comic at the time is well-remembered to this day. He was also perhaps the most popular cover artist of the 1970s, spending most of his time working on covers.

Adams took a break from comics in the late 1970s (while still doing covers) to explore the wide world of art in his Continuity Studios, working in all sorts of different media (advertising, animation, magazines, album covers, etc.).

Recently, Adams returned to comics for a Batman mini-series called Batman: Odyssey.

Here is a sample page by Adams….


I think Byrne and lee should be reverse at the very least but overall still a good list.

It is kind of cool that three creators who form such a clear lineage are bunched together. Adams was a huge early influence on Byrne. Byrne was the same thing Lee. That style visually defined the X-Men and (by extension) mainstream comics.

I love them all.

Damn, Adams was good.

I sought out anything Byrne drew when I was a kid in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and his FF run was a classic, much as I may have problems with a lot of his later stuff as a writer.

Jim Lee to me epitomizes the excesses of the ’90s, although his current style doesn’t bug me much (as long as he he steers clear of designing costumes).

All these artists are great, but I had to go with Byrne for my number one pick.

I started reading comics at around age seven, but it wasn’t until late in his Alpha Flight run that I took notice of the name John Byrne. I was around 12 by then, and enjoyed both Alpha Flight and Fantastic Four a good deal. But as I looked through back issues I couldn’t believe that almost every major comic story I loved had been drawn by this same guy. Avengers vs. Nefaria, Galactus vs. Sphinx, the best X-men run EVER and heck, even that Ant-Man two-parter in Marvel Premiere.

Basically Byrne’s name is in more of my comics than any other creator (besides some editors-in-chief and “Stan Lee Presents…”) His art got me hooked on the medium in those formative years and still represents to me what good comic book art should be: dynamic, imaginative, powerful. That’s why John Byrne’s my number one pick.

Great trio, but Adams at 5!!!! What ????!!! Repeat after me, internet: Jolly Jack #1, Nefarious Neal #2; Jolly Jack #1, Nefarious Neal #2….

Still disapppointed that there was no top 50 spot for Marshall Rogers (who at least I managed to vote for), Mike Golden or Berni Wrightson, 3 great artists who followed Adams’ trailblazing. I guess they haven’t done recent high-profile stuff, and have been forgotten about for top placings.

Three artists that don’t do much for me personally, but you cannot deny their skill or influence.

Woo Adams!!

I try hard not to lump Lee in with Macfarlane and Liefeld, and he’s a much more talented artist than either of them. But he’s still been responsible for a lot of (very pretty!) mediocrity.

He IS the second most influential superhero artist (ever) but y’never hear people talk about Neal Adams to much now-a-days. I’m surprised to see him up on the list this high.

Ok, so Kirby will be number 1, what about the rest? I predict McFarlane at number 2 and Madureira at number 3. Maybe Frank Cho at number 4? Wait, George Pérez must be in there somewhere! Will he take number 1 from Kirby? Unthinkable, right? BUT it could happen.

Williams III, Quitely, Perez, Kirby. Dunno what order.

Is X-Men #1 the highest-selling single issue of all-time, or would that go to Superman #75? I always wondered about that, as I’ve heard stories of thousands of unopened copies of each, to the point where one retailer reportedly had stacks of X-Men #1 used as furniture (I”m assuming he had his couch repossessed after his speculative ass lost his business in the mid-90s).

@Dennis: Yes, I’m curious to see if the voters skew toward the 70s and 80s (George Perez, Curt Swan), the 90s (various Image artists) or the 00s (Frank Quitely, JH Williams III). Art-wise, I prefer the 00s, but it seems likely that many people will vote for the artists they remember fondly from their youth.

Yeah, I could not predict who was going to be on this list, but when I saw today’s list, I went, oh, of course Byrne! The other 2 I sort of knew needed to make it.

Can’t wait for the rest of the list!

Byrne is decent, better when with a good inker like Austin.

Jim Lee has done some stuff I like, other stuff I’m not all that interested in. He is willing to change up his style, though. Check out the first issue of Vertigo’s Flinch, where he introduced a different style. (I think it was one of the first things he did at DC when they bought Wildstorm.) And, from my view, since he allowed the birth of the ABC line, he’s pretty damn cool too. (He certainly gave work to several of the top writers on this list, and possibly a couple of the top artists. Neato)

Adams at this point is almost a parody of himself. His style is SO influential, and everything he’s done has been aped so much by others, that it’s hard to see how good he was at one point. It’s like watching Citizen Kane now, you can appreciate the artistry, but to our jaded eyes, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before.

No Rizzo in the top 50? for shame, Internets, for shame!

He was my number One, I believe

I still have six not appearing. I think two will make it on the list.

The OTHER ones: Amy Reeder Hadley, Skottie Young, Dave Stevens, Milo Manara…

YES!!! Glad to see Jim Lee made the list, and at #6 to boot! People often lump him in with the other crap that came out of the 90s, while forgetting that he has done some awesome stuff- his early Uncanny issues with Claremont are my favorite comics ever. Hush and For Tomorrow were (art-wise) amazing, too.

Glad to see two legends, Byrne and Adams, this high on the list as well.

So who are the other four? I’m going to guess Jack Kirby, George Perez, Frank Quitely (which I don’t agree with at all, but I know people love him), and… McFarlane? Joe Kubert? Brent Anderson? Ethan Van Sciver? I hope Ethan makes this list, but somehow I think it’s going to be McFarlane, unfortunately.

John Byrne was the Steven Spielberg of my youth, in that I would feel limitless enthusiasm for whatever project he was in. But just like Spielberg, I think Byrne got worse with age, and lost much of his magic. Not all of it, though. His writing has become more conservative and nostalgic, his art has seen his characters becoming skinner and skinner and the backgrounds less defined.

Not to mention his uber-arrogant personality.

But still, he was on my list as both writer and artist. His work has left a mark on me that is too strong for anything to erase.

Neal Adams was mostly before my time, but even so I can still recognize his greatness. His Batman is THE Batman, as far as I’m concerned. He’s a quantum leap in relation to what came before.

I am not a big fan of Jim Lee. I used to like him when he started in UNCANNY X-MEN, but I had already burned out on him before he started Image. He’s probably the least offensive of the Image artists, but it’s still a style that I have some innate repulse towards. His overmuscled men, his women with ridiculously long legs, the stock postures, and the same faces for every character. Bleh.

I don’t like it that Lee has more first-place votes than even Neil Adams. Lots of people here apparently have grown up in the 1990s. But who am I to criticize that, when I’ve already admited to my nostalgic love for John Byrne?

It’s interesting that we’ve had here the “signature” artists for the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

Kirby and Perez are the slam-dunks. But the other two are going to be interesting. I think it will be two of Quitely, Williams, and Swan. But Macfarlane (ugh!) is always a possibility.

Neal Adams was my #7. At this point there is no way Cockrum will make the list. :( Lee and Byrne are also great artists, but didn’t quite make my list.

Jim Lee in the Top 10?????!!!!
Are you kidding me?????!!!!!!!

Dalarsco: Oh yeah Cockrum, completely forgot about him when voting (although he wouldn’t have made my top 10). Another 70s & 80s artist who’s disappeared under the radar.
I wonder where he’d place if we’d had a poll like this around 1979 (when he’d just come off his 1st X-Men run with Claremont) – or even early 80s when he returned to the title?

Are Cockrum, Marshall Rogers, Mike Golden, Nick Cardy or Berni Wrightson hanging around the top 75 – hint, hint Brian, please publish the list?!
But one I’m REALLY surprised not cracking top 50 status is Wally Wood. I thought a few old-timers would get him hovering up at the 45-50s? Like the others mentioned above, in with the 50-100 also-rans instead?

@ Joe Rice- “Williams III, Quitely, Perez, Kirby. Dunno what order.”

You’re absolutely correct. Can’t imagine any list of top 50 comic book artists that doesn’t include 4 of these yet-to be-ranked superstars.

Awesome, though I expected Byrne to list higher. Oh well, being in the top ten is still good.

Byrne would be way higher with modern coloring and Lee would drop way off without it.

Please tell me Frank Quietly isn’t going to be ten places higher than John Buscema!

Adams was my #1 mostly for his Deadman. It’s one of my all time favorite comic works. I discovered it in the 80’s reprint mini that they did, and found it so incredibly creative, breaking all the rules of comic art of the time, that I found it intoxicating. One of my favorite parts is when he finally meets Rama Kushna and the psychedelics ensue. I found myself compulsively copying his drawing just out of shear passion.
Other artists who did the same for me were, Barry Smith’s work on Conan, and Ditko’s work on Dr. Strange.

Thank you for mentioning Byrne’s time on the Avengers. It often seems completely forgotten, but it was some of his best art ever. (And some great stories, too. The story of Wanda’s and Pietro’s birth, Ms Marvel joining the Avengers, the debut of Gyrich…)

Is it too late for Ross Andru to show up?

People predicting that Curt Swan will still show in the final four strike me as insanely optimistic, but I like the way they think.

Is it too late for Ross Andru to show up?

I’m afraid so, because there’s only room left for Curt Swan, Dave Cockrum, C.C. Beck and Jack Cole.

Three titans. Adams didn’t make my list because I voted all modern age (80s to present)… I’m not incredibly well versed with pre-bronze age comics, and didn’t feel like it was fair to vote for anyone without decent knowledge of who their contemporaries were, so I just left it all out. But of course no argument with Neal Adams; somehow #5 even feels too low. I like that one poster pointed out that each of these three guys basically owned a decade’s style.

Byrne was my #5 and Lee was #6 (my top four were Miller, Sienkiewicz, Windsor-Smith, and Gibbons). I’m happy Brian didn’t show any Byrne artwork after Next Men, because, at least to me, Wonder Woman was his major drop off in both art and writing. But most everything before the mid-90s is pretty nice. I’d also like to give a shout-out to Byrne’s brief 6 issue Hulk run (#314-319), which I think is one of his better writing works and a bit under-appreciated. Also agree with another poster that the 2-issue Marvel Premiere Ant-Man story was prime Byrne art (with Bob Layton on inks: a team-up that should have worked together far more).

I’m a bit surprised that only a few people have knocked Jim Lee. I was expecting this to be like Johns or Bendis and that I’d have to mount my careful defense. I do want to say a few things about Jim though…

First of all, I believe that most people that love him still think his Uncanny work of #s 268-277 is his very best stuff ( I know I do), which leads me to two points: 1) this was before modern coloring, so anyone that thinks coloring is the key element to making his art look good is incredibly wrong, and 2) this was before Jim started indulging his worst habits (every page is a pin-up), and he had some seriously great story-telling capabilities.

Check out these samples (particularly the 12-panel page first example)






Anyways, anyone that wants more can search around. But I think these pencil/ink samples at least prove that coloring is not a key component of Lee’s appeal, and they show that he became a superstar on merit, not because the industry was going in the tanks. While I love Lee so much that I can still at least enjoy Hush, For Tomorrow, etc. (though not All-Star Batman, because that never happened), his original Uncanny run is still the stuff I fell in love with. I honestly think Jim Lee leaving X-Men might have been the second saddest moment of my childhood, only beaten by the death of the family dog.

Lastly, to anyone that would dare argue Lee has been bad for the industry:

Look at the man’s track record as a businessman/publisher/executive. Just a brief rundown of a few titles that likely only saw the light of day because of Lee’s support and/or backing: Planetary, The Authority, Sleeper, Top Ten, Promethea, Leave it to Chance, Ex Machina, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Astro City (the ongoing series), and the list could go on. Not to mention that Lee was the first person to give Warren Ellis total control on a project (Stormwatch), and brought Alan Moore back to super-hero comics after a ten year absence. To say the least, the man is an extremely intelligent and savvy businessman, who is as good (or better) at recognizing quality than just about anyone else.

Hey DC! Where the hell are deluxe hardcovers for Planetary, Stormwatch/Authority, Sleeper, and Top Ten? Get on it!

I like Dave Cockrum, but I think he was unfairly stigmatized by my generation as “that-X-Men-guy-that-was-not-as-good-as-Byrne.”

Blasphemous as it may sound, I always though Curt Swan’s work lacked dynamism. I suppose I was always much more a Marvel’s Kirby than a DC’s Swan kind of guy.

Oh yeah, I agree with most people that think the top four will be, in some order, Kirby, Perez, Williams III, and Quitely, although I don’t think it’s out of the question for this list to surprise us. We’ve only seen about 380 first place votes on this list (out of 1,000 or so), and 430 first place votes on the writer list. But while I think the first place votes on the writers list will end up topping out at over 800, or maybe even 900 (AKA about 80-90% of the total first place votes), I doubt the artist list gets to more than about 600 first place votes (60%). Reason being, I just don’t think a lot of first place writer votes went to guys that didn’t make the list at all. Sure some people might have given a first place vote to Dave Sim, or Charles Burns, or some of the other great independent guys, but the majority of super-hero writers that were going to draw many first place votes made the list somewhere. Much as I love guys like Moench, Grell, Chaykin, Wein, etc, are those guys getting many first place votes? More likely they’re showing up as 5th or 6th on the ballots they were included on.

The artist list on the other hand… I mean, there are SO MANY great artists out there, and the list is SO much more dependent on personal taste (whereas the writer list is a bit more canonical), that there’s an insane amount of possibilities for voting. I suspect that not more than about 300 writers showed up on a ballot, whereas well over 1,000 artists probably got at least one vote.

Anyways, this is all a bit of a round about way of saying that the artist list still might surprise us. (See Brian! I’m using math to statistically analyze what we DON’T know!)

And if that means Jae Lee (my #8) somehow makes the top four instead of Frank Quitely, I’m quite frankly okay with that.

Oh yeah, I’m a bit shocked that everyone seems up-in-arms about Swan’s absence here, but nobody has lamented about Infantino. I’ve always thought Infantino was the far better of the two… am I alone there?

I’m glad Jim Lee didn’t beat Adams, disappointed at all the great guys he did beat. I prefer the much-maligned McFarlane out of the Image crowd. Todd can be good and terrible, but he’s usually interesting.

Lee is very good technically, but even though his art has improved over the years, I’ve always found his work pretty soulless. If he was a musician, he’d be an American Idol finalist.

Gavin Bell–

It’s interesting that you found a musician analogy for Lee, because I was thinking of doing the same thing if I had done a longer defense of Lee, but we wildly disagree on who the appropriate comparison is.

To me, Jim Lee is like U2.

Both Lee and U2 have been superstars for so long, that most people don’t remember why. Most people just find it easier to look at the current work, say, “ehh,” and then bitch and moan that clearly these people shouldn’t be superstars. But people forget that the early Lee (the uncanny work), and the early U2 (everything up to Unforgettable Fire) looked/sounded like NOTHING else at the time. Both were accessible to the widest possible audience without sacrificing any skill or integrity.

To truly love either Lee or U2, I think you sort of had to be in your formative years as they were hitting the stratosphere (or, at the very least, not have grown up well after). But if you were, you’ll always think they’re among the best.

Lee is very good technically, but even though his art has improved over the years, I’ve always found his work pretty soulless. If he was a musician, he’d be an American Idol finalist.

That made me laugh.

Carmine Infantino didn’t make the top 50? I know he’s an old timer, but still that surprises me a lot(I’m assuming I didn’t miss him on the master list)

“To me, Jim Lee is like U2.”

That would only work if U2’s early work was unbearable, and only became tolerable fairly late in their career.
So, more of an opposite.
Also, was the guy thinking that Madureira would still show up joking, or just on really bad (or really good, I suppose) crack?

third man – i actually was in my formative years when jim lee was doing x men, but i was just more of a norm breyfogle guy. I do like early u2, however.

Top 5 Comic Artist for me would be

1. Kirby
2. Perez
3. Adams
4. Byrne
5. Buscema

I’m still holding out hope for a Sal Buscema upset!

Funny, I was just thinking how much more I used to like Byrne, about how familiarity breeds contempt, about how I notice the flaws in his work more than ever, and then WHAM! Brian posted that famous page from the Dark Phoenix Saga. Yeah, Byrne really had it down at one time.

Neal Adams brought realism to super-hero comics. It’s debatable how much of a good or bad thing that is, but his work sure looked great.

Jim Lee was every 13 year-old’s favorite artist. I can’t fault that.

Third Man –

I remember how thrilled I was when I read the story where the Mandarin transformed Psylocke in his ninja assassin. Jim Lee really looked like nothing else at the time. But I suppose I was already too old to remain hypnotized for long. When X-MEN #1 hit the stores, I was already thinking how the space battle at the start of the book was trying to dazzle me with kewlness but the storytelling was as muddled and confused as a frenetic music video. Ultimately, my love for cleaner, straightforward storytelling made me dislike Jim Lee.

> I’m still holding out hope for a Sal Buscema upset!

That’s just not possible if we’re going to fit in Kirby, Blutch, Asada Hiroyuki and Man Arenas in the top four.

Nope Third Man, I still don’t see the appeal of Lee. His work is way too slick and feels empty to me. As McCloud might say, it seems like all surface and no substance. But I respect your right to your opinion.

I find it interesting how many of the artists on this top 50 have worked on the X-Men. I wonder if there’s a connection?

Thomas Morrison-

Read my comment on the Claremont entry for my take on why so many of the artists on this list have been X-Men guys.


December 20, 2010 at 6:36 pm

“But one I’m REALLY surprised not cracking top 50 status is Wally Wood. I thought a few old-timers would get him hovering up at the 45-50s?”

It’s disappointing, but not surprising. Most of the artists and writers who made the list are best known for work produced for Marvel and DC. Those two companies currently share over 80% of the American comic book market. Wood did relatively little work for Marvel and DC. It’s too bad that more people aren’t familiar with the wonderful art Wood created for “The Spirit”, EC Comics, “T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents”, and Warren magazines.

Third Man –

I remember how thrilled I was when I read the story where the Mandarin transformed Psylocke in his ninja assassin. Jim Lee really looked like nothing else at the time. But I suppose I was already too old to remain hypnotized for long. When X-MEN #1 hit the stores, I was already thinking how the space battle at the start of the book was trying to dazzle me with kewlness but the storytelling was as muddled and confused as a frenetic music video. Ultimately, my love for cleaner, straightforward storytelling made me dislike Jim Lee.

Even from his early stuff I disliked Jim Lee. As long as he was drawing something slutty or action-packed he was okay, but he could not draw a “normal” person for the life of him in the early days.

Look at the background characters on these pages:

Used to love Byrne on Marvel Team-Up, X-Men, FF and She-Hulk, but his more recent stuff that I’ve seen like Wonder Woman was less than stellar.

JIm Lee was a favorite on X-Men and WildCats, but other than Hush I really didnt get into anything he did after that, not that he’s not an amazing artist, just that I’m not interested in what he’s drawing. If that makes sense.

No opinion on Adams, I dont think I’ve read more than a few old random Marvel books by him.

So true, and so sad. Guy can’t do everyday life.

Funny somebody mentioned Spielberg, because kinda how I see Jim Lee and his perception from the fans. Hugely popular(and for a good reason, he’s damn good) he has a slew of detractors against his showy style and prefer the more interesting art for their comics. But when it comes to good-looking superheroes having big action scenes, he’s one of the best. He’s like a crazy combination of Jack Kirby(just look at the technology he draws), John Byrne, and Neal Adams. And he’s a good visual storyteller too. Sometimes he has to draw those “ok two page spread of everybody posing with dialog boxes over their heads”, but one of things that separates him from his many imitators is his grasp on panel-to-panel storytelling.

I agree with Travis about Byrne, sort of. I’d go a step further. He’s decent overall; when he’s really good or even great, it’s only because of Terry Austin. Compare a Byrne comic with Austin’s inks to one without, and you’ll see a clear difference.

As someone pointed out elsewhere, Flinch #1 contains some atypical Jim Lee art, with a distinct Moebius influence. I would suggest anyone interested in what Lee can do when he stretches check it out. While he’s not the best artist when the characters aren’t super-heroes, he’s gotten better over the years.

No one could choreograph action as well as Byrne. He could show a fight between the X-Men and another team and you can follow the blow-by-blow of each individual fight going on in the background of each panel, as well as the main action. And he was doing FOUR BOOKS A MONTH EVERY MONTH for the entirety of the late ’70s. Only Kirby could match him on volume, but when Kirby took on too many books in a given month, the quality would dip, whereas with Byrne it never did. Ironically, the quality only dipped long after he went down to one book a month –but why complain? Adams’ quality dipped a lot further a lot faster (7 good years, max), but he’s still legitimately considered one of the all-time greats.

Third Man, interesting comparison of Lee to U2. U2 got better and better and were producing incredible work in the early 90’s and has had a slow agonizing descent since except for some small moments of good quality. Only Lee has not dropped as far into the blandness that U2 achieved.

Only Austin could take Byrne to another level, sure, just like only Sinnott could take Kirby to another level– that’s no knock on Byrne or Kirby, though, just a tribute to power of great inkers.

I’m still holding out hope for a Sal Buscema upset! – posted by The Mutt

Sal is also my number 1. Glad to find others that like him. I only voted for those whose comics I collected. My list:

1 Sal Buscema (Spectacular Spider-man)
2 Guy Davis (Sandman Mystery Theater)
3 Frank Quitely (The Authority, will get the Absolute All Star Superman)
4 Bill Sienkiewicz (Electra Assassin)
5 Erik Larsen (Savage Dragon)
6 John McCrea (Hitman)
7 Tony Harris (Starman)
8 John Cassaday (Planetary)
9 Jae Lee (Hellshock)
10 Jay Anacleto (Aria)

The Crazed Spruce

December 21, 2010 at 2:31 am

I had John Byrne at #6, Neil Adams at #5, and Jim Lee in my titanic 11th place tie.

The last four artists seem to be a lot harder to predict that the last four writers are. Especially since I’ve still got six people on my list. I’d say Perez and Kirby are locks (as is Frank Quitely, another 11th placer), but I’m having a devil of a time figuring out who the other spot’s gonna go to. I’m hoping it goes to Curt Swan, or maybe Kevin Maguire or Dave Cockrum. It’ll probably be someone else I haven’t thought of, though. (I also had Steve Lightle on my list, but I pretty much knew going in that he wouldn’t show up in the top 50.)

I still say that Neal Adams work on Batman reads as sluggish as Hal Foster (who brought realism to comics again?) at his worst, but that Avengers run? That was magic.

It’s too bad Wally Wood didn’t make the list. He is the unsung hero of the Marvel house style. You can see the influence that his work on Daredevil had on Ditko who brought it to the tail end of his run on Spider-Man (the only good issues he illustrated, his best work was definitely Strange Tales) where it gets picked up by John Romita.

When I was a kid I used to read my comics about twenty times and then I would take them and cut them up. I would cut out figures or battle scenes and I would keep them in one of the drawers in my dresser and pull them out and use what I’d cut out to play and make up stories. I’d spend hours on the floor spinning elaborate stories about the different characters. It was some of the most fun I’ve had in my life.

There was a LOT of John Byrne stuff in that drawer. When I was a kid I didn’t really pay attention to who the artist of any particular comic was, but I eventually started to realize that there were three or four people whose art I liked better. By the time I’d outgrown the cutting stuff up phase I was a pretty hardcore fan of Byrne and Perez. I was a faithful “Byrne Victim” until I reached my twenties. By then I’d branched out to all sorts of different artists and styles and Byrne seemed a little wooden to me.

But looking back on it I see what a great damn comic book artist Byrne is. He really understands how a page works and he’s come up with several iconic comic images. (The cover to X-Men 141 is a great example!) I’m not the biggest fan of his current work, but his artwork is responsible for a lot of my favorite childhood comic moments.

@The Mutt: “I’m still holding out hope for a Sal Buscema upset!”
Me, too!
@Chad: I used to do the exact same thing (cutting up comics). However, I had passed that phase by the time I had discovered Uncanny X-men and Byrne’s art therein, so in my case no books drawn by him got the chop-block treatment.

Both Byrne and Adams were on my lists, but I have to say that I always preferred Marc Silvestri to Jim Lee, especially on the X-Men books. Silvestri was able to make the book moody and dark, where Lee tossed in too many pin-up pages.

WOW> Jim Lee does not belong anywhere near the top one hundred, let alone the top ten! His story-telling is unoriginal as he only uses well established techniques and design elements. His anatomy is awful. His male characters all have the same build with the same unneccessary hatching lines all over. All the woman he draws look exactly the same except they have diffrent hairstyles. One of the most over-rated artists of all time. The fact that he is DC’s new golden boy just goes to show you how crappy DC has gotten.

Oh, and John Byrne is not that good either. He was just lucky enough to be drawing Claremonts scripts.
The Man of Steel was one of the worst things to happen to comics ever.

I had John Byrne at #8, and Neal Adams at #10. I think Adams would have placed higher if he’d done a greater body of work that I was familiar with. To me his high-point was the Avengers sequence with Roy Thomas, those were four incredible issues. I wish that run could have lasted longer!
And the less I say about Jim Lee, the better. Wouldn’t want to bash the creators, right, Brian?

You tell’em AssDan :)

But I disagree about Byrne, at least the old Byrne.

Re: Carmine Infantino vs. Curt Swan… I voted for Swan, not for Infantino, because I loved Swan’s work and legacy much more. Probably more than any other artist, Swan was my dearest sentimental choice. His pictures helped me learn to read, long before grade one! But so did Hank Ketchum’s Dennis the Menace, and he wouldn’t make my list, so don’t snicker at my love for Swan. He was a very special artist and creator, just ask Alan Moore…

But the other factor with Infantino, which hopefully didn’t affect my voting but still perpetually curls my lip, is that Carmine Infantino was the short-sighted scum-sucking wretched asshole of a pig dog editor puke who so stupidly cancelled the New Gods and broke the King’s mighty heart, ending Jack Kirby’s most personal creation and depriving us all of who knows what….
Honestly, I’d trade one thousand pages of Flash and Adam Strange for one more issue of the New Gods.

And, obviously, I’m not bashing a creator, Brian, I’m defending a most legendary creator who was dreadfully ill-used by a really, really stupid editor.

Excuse me, Mr. Bird, but I’d have to disagree, in that Mike Royer took Jack Kirby’s pencils to a level that Joe Sinnott had only ever led towards. GREAT as Sinnott was, Royer was even better for Kirby, to me at least.
If Brian did an top inkers’ poll, I’d have Royer and Sinnott as #1 and 2, and Klaus Jansen wrestling with Tom Palmer and Austin for #3.

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