Top 50 Comic Book Artists: #2-1
Here are the last two artists that you voted as your favorites of all-time based on over one thousand ballots cast! Click here to see the writers #2-1 on the countdown. Click here to see a master list of all the artists in the Top 50!
NOTE: Five notable works per creator
2 Frank Quitely – 2052 points (51 first place votes)
After getting his start in independent papers in the United Kingdom in the late 1980s, Vincent Deighan (AKA Frank Quietly) began to get more high profile work in England.
He also began to get assignments from DC Comics (particularly their Big Book line). His first major assignment for DC was on the Vertigo mini-series, Flex Mentallo, with writer Grant Morrison…
Other assignments followed, including a Batman prestige one-shot with writer Alan Grant.
Quitely also drew an acclaimed JLA graphic novel with Grant Morrison.
Quitely’s next major assignment was as the regular artist on the Authority, with Mark Millar, as the successors to Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch on the popular title.
Quitely’s run was aborted, though, when Morrison got him the gig drawing New X-Men for Marvel.
Since New X-Men, Quitely has worked with Morrison on a number of popular and critically-acclaimed comics, including We3…
and All Star Superman…
Most recently, Quitely drew the initial arc of Morrison’s Batman and Robin series.
Here are two sample pages by Quitely….
1 Jack Kirby – 2521 points (112 first place votes)
Jack Kirby broke into comic books in the very early days of the medium. He and his partner, Joe Simon, created the classic character Captain America for Timely Comics…
Kirby and Simon were one of the few “superstar” creative teams of the era, and after Timely failed to take care of them, they signed a lucrative deal with DC Comics, producing a number of popular comics for them, including the Boy Commandos.
World War II interrupted their early success, and after Kirby returned from the War, he and Simon moved on from superhero comics (which were a bit on the wane) and began working on comics in many different genres. Together, they basically created the romance comic book.
They also did horror comics, crime comics, western comics, pretty much everything.
Eventually, Simon and Kirby’s work began to dry up a bit, so they split to pursue work on their own. Kirby worked for DC Comics for a bit, including introducing the Challengers of the Unknown…
but ultimately ended up back at Timely Comics, now known as Atlas, and soon to be known as Marvel.
Kirby was one of a small crew of artists working at the company, and editor-in-chief and main writer Stan Lee gave Kirby a lot of responsibility for how the stories were told at Atlas (Lee would go over a basic plot with Kirby, Kirby would then draw the story and Lee would add dialogue to the finished story).
In the early 1960s, after DC was starting to see a lot of success from their superhero revivals, Marvel got back into superheroes, and Kirby and Lee created almost all of them, most notable being the first major Marvel superhero comic, the Fantastic Four…
I could show you a ton of creations by Kirby and Lee, but suffice it to say that they did a lot of comics…
By the end of the decade, though, Kirby was unhappy with Marvel. At least part of the reason for his unhappiness was that he felt as though he was not getting enough credit for the work he was doing (on Fantastic Four, for instance, Kirby was effectively plotting the book himself, only Lee would change stuff at a whim, forcing Kirby to re-do future issues). Whatever the precise reason, Kirby split from Marvel and signed a major deal with DC Comics, where he created a number of major characters for them, including the Fourth World line of comics…
Ultimately, Kirby soured on DC, as well, and actually went back to Marvel for the rest of the 1970s, although he was given the freedom to basically do what he wanted with the titles he was given (Captain America, Eternals, Devil Dinosaur, Black Panther, etc.).
He left comics for a time in the early 1980s to work in animation. Also in the 1980s, he would do some creator-owned work for Pacific Comics and other places (which was a big deal at the time), He he also did some more work for DC in the mid-80s.
His last major comics were done with Topps Comics in the early 1990s as well as Phantom Force (which Image Comics ended up putting out), before Kirby passed away in 1994.
Here are some sample pages, requested by commenter fourthworlder, who is the biggest Kirby fan amongst our commenterss, so I figured I’d let him pick the pages I used as samples…
That’s the countdown! I hope you enjoyed it!