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CSBG Archive

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!

141 Comments

Quitely has never been among my favorites, but I admit he’s good.
And Kirby, of course, is great (can’t remember if I ended up voting for him or not but anyway). I’d mention that I started to appreciate Kirby all the more through the b&w Essentials of early Marvel work…once the often splotchy colouring was stripped away it became much more obvious how good Kirby could be in his economical style (some of the latter work, like the stuff on the second example, starts to be a tad too much for me).

I don’t think anyone ever doubted that The King would be number one (even though he’s my number two behind Moebius).

Really surprised Quitely made it this high, given how many people dislike his stuff. I think he deserves top 10 status (I had him at 6), but I can’t believe he’s as high as he is.

So no Jae Lee (my number 8)? No Dave McKean (I forgot about him when I voted)? No Charles Burns (my number 7)? And I can’t remember whether we’ve seen Crumb, but I don’t believe we have (I didn’t vote for him anyway).

Of the others that were on my list, Moebius, Steranko, Sienkiewicz and Sale were too low, but I’m glad they made it at all (especially Giraud). JHW3 was in just the right spot. I also can’t argue with where JR Jr placed (I had him at 9).

yeah, can’t argue with Kirby at one, even though he didn’t make my list. Eek, he didn’t even make my top 30, I see. But the man did so much great stuff for so long, and the raw ENERGY is amazing!

Quitely did make my list, at #4. I’m surprised he did make it so high, considering how divisive his work seems to be. But maybe that dog in the upper corner of this pages gives out hypnotic wavelengths… :)

WE3 WE3 WE3 The greatest mini ever. I love it so much, I tear up every time I read it. The layouts are amazing as well, see above. Credit must be given to Jamie Grant, Quitely’s digital inker and colorist on WE3 and ASSuperman, because I think he makes the stuff pop even more.

And that first issue of Flex is AMAZING! I picked it up in a cheapo bin not long after it was out (before the Atlas controversy, cuz I paid less than a buck for it). I probably only had a vague awareness of who Morrison was at the time, and NO idea who Quitely was, but I remember being blown away by how good that issue was. And that cover, man!

I also love the SFX on his Batman and Robin issues. Really great stuff.

Thanks again for the list, Brian. Hope we can see a long list of all the artists and writers who got votes. I’ll be posting my top 10s on the master lists later.

I am often pleasantly surprised at the collective wisdom of these polls. Kirby at #1 and Frank Quitely at #2 is a great result.

Interesting that many people like Sal Buscaema, MD Bright, Simon Bisley and Quesada weren’t present, but there are only so many places I suppose.
I was also just thinking that if McFarlane had not bothered with his writing career ( ha! ), he would be a lot poorer but high on the list. Imagine 15 years of honing his craft?

Quitely did make my list, at #4. I’m surprised he did make it so high, considering how divisive his work seems to be.

Even if a lot of people dislike his work, those people split their votes among many different artists, whereas all the Quitely people all focused their votes on him.

MD Bright? That is not a name I expected to be uttered in this entire process.

Brian, have you ever explained the process you use to tally up points and rank the winners?

Brian, have you ever explained the process you use to tally up points and rank the winners?

In the initial voting thread thread, yes.

Russ Heath, John McCrea and Sal Buscema got shut out on my list.

I love that All Star Superman page. Superman/Clark is able to save the man’s life without him (or Lois) even noticing. I think it’s one of the most under sung moments of the whole series. People love when he saves Regan the suicidal girl in #10, but I think this is another great moment of Superman always looking out for humanity in ways they don’t expect or realize.

Interesting to look at point and first place vote totals for artists compared to writers. It seems like a lot of people can agree on what a good story is but way fewer people can agree on what good art looks like. Makes sense to me since half my list of artists didn’t show up.

Thanks for running the Top 50s, Brian!

What a great countdown,

I never would have in a gajillion years guessed that Frank Quitely would get second spot, ahead of Byrne, Adams, Perez….

I think his storytelling is very good, but always found the art quite ugly.

Then again, many have said the exact same thing about Kirby! (what with the square heads and all…

Having said that, he couldn’t have gotten better sample pages representing his work. Little details like the man’s papers all being stacked neatly after Clark Kent saves that guy are a very good reason Quitely deserves his rank. Similarly, We3 was incredibly innovative, and no doubt has a lot to do with the respect Qutely enjoys.

This artist list was way more interesting than the writer’s one, I thought. The writer’s one skewed very modern, with the “classic” guys spreading thinner and thinner as the list progressed. The artists, as shown today, were a consistent mixture of old and new school all the way along. Also, there were some notable omissions in camps both new (no Jimenez, Van Sciver, or Darrick Robertson?) and old (Sal Buscema, Cockrum, Berni Wrightson, Mike Zeck and WHERE THE HECK WAS JIM STARLIN?).

Also interesting was very little B&W representation (no Sim, Spiegelman, Chadwick, Jeff Smith) and nobody from First Publishing (Chaykin, Grell, Ostrander, Truman).

All in all, interesting and fun reading. Thanks for all the hard work, Brian!

Really? Of all the pages from All Star Superman to choose, you pick probably Quitely’s most pedestrain. Way to celebrate him. At least you had the sense to pick probably WE3’s most innovative.

Yeah, Quitely has half the points of Morrison & Moore so the distribution for artists seems to be considerably bigger.
Well, about half of my writers made it to the list but only one or two artists, so I guess I contributed to that (no Sam Kieth, no Ted McKeever, no P. Craig Russell…)

One can indeed speculate how McFarlane would have fared if he had stuck to drawing. Better I guess.

Quitely? Really? That makes me sad.

Although with Morrison coming in at number 2, Quitely coming in at number 2 makes sense.

I agree with dhole. How the heck did Jim Starlin not make the Top 50?????

I think Kirby is a clear case of quantity over quality.

And Comics Cube, that’s a great ASS page. It shows how well he can draw people, draw technical stuff (cars, trains, etc), and tell a story. Just look at the way the camera pans around subtly. The We3 page gives you more of the action, although I personally would have picked the one where the cat is jumping through the panels to slash at the army dudes. That blew my mind the first time I saw it.

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.

No, I like Quitely. ASS is one of my favorite works, ever.

I just don’t like him at number 2, as there are at least 8 other artists that I think are far better.

Oh boy, I’m not a fan of Leinil Yu’s art. There’s a Superman cover he did that just looks really stiff to me. I do like that picture of Hulk tearing Wolvie in half though.

Surprised Goseki Kojima never showed up. Lone Wolf and Club is a classic! I didn’t expect Osama Tezuka, since he’s more of a cartoonist, but Kojima was an excellent storyteller.

@riley shotts:
Do check out some of Kirby’s black and white work, or better, check out his original art if get the chance. Kirby’s art was mostly destroyed by the colors and sometimes the inks.

Sorry CC, that statement on the ASS page was meant for Edgar Kinishnish. I just read the names on the posts wrong.

I think Kirby is a clear case of quantity over quality.

This is just all kinds of wrong.

Thanks Mudassir, I will! I saw some original Kirby at an art museum awhile back and it looked excellent. Can anyone tell me if those Marvel Essentials volumes do him justice?

@Joe Rice
MD Bright did a lot of great work on Iron Man, Quantum and Woody, Power Man and Iron Fist. Not to mention his Spider-man Wolverine one shot. I can see that he isn’t for everyone but I reckon he would have made the list ten years ago.

I don’t know if the #1 spot was ever in doubt. What I find amazing is that you were able to pick only five examples of Kirby’s work. That must have been daunting, to say the least.

And Kirby isn’t a case of quantity over quality. More a case of quantity and quality over Quitely.

I’m going to go sit in the corner, now.

Okay, I take back what I said about Kirby. I just found a full page b&w of the Silver Surfer that is quite possibly the coolest illustration of the character ever. Don’t get me wrong, I respect what he did for the medium, and I appreciate the high energy of his comics. His work on Fantastic Four with Stan Lee is easily one of the greatest period.

But he’s still not my favorite.

Edgar Kinishnish

December 22, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Riley, I love more formal, subtle storytelling approach taken in ASS just as much as the dynamic innovation of WE3 — especially the way he portrays time and action/reaction dynamics in the “widescreen” panels — there’s just far better examples of it that the selected example.

The greatest ever and my current favorite. Sweet.

Kirby’s no big surprise, although he didn’t make my list at all. His contribution to the way comics are told, is in my opinion much more important than his pencil work.

Quitely is a surprise, he’s a fine penciler but I’d never expected to see him so high on the list, certainly not at 2.

Okay, Comic Book Urban Legend Time:

Did Kirby invent the splash page? Was he the first artist ever to use full page panels in comic books? I haven’t found anyone working BEFORE him who used splashes, but I haven’t found absolute positive confirmation, either.

(And though I live next to the Michigan State Universtity Comic art collection for a month or two a year, I don’t have easy access to piles of Golden Age books the rest of the time. So that makes it hard to research.)

I’ve always thought Kirby was overrated (I never liked the square heads), but he’s still pretty good, and you can’t deny his influence. I might have placed him at twenty- or thirty-something. I’m less familiar with Quitely, but what I’ve seen is okay.

There seem to be far more greats left off of the artist list than the writers. The writers includes pretty much everyone it should, except for the forgotten Peter Gillis. But look who was left out of the artists– Sal Buscema (far better than his brother, who did make it), June Brigman (horribly underrated), Sergio Aragones, Dan DeCarlo, Curt Swan, and most shockingly, Ross Andru, who might’ve made my top spot if I’d voted.

Quitely: I love the Authority and the WE3 stuff, but I think his work on the New X-Men is some of the worst comic art ever published. Does not deserve the number 2 slot for that reason alone.

I have to say I agree with Mary about some of the artists almost shockingly absent from this list; I could add about a dozen names to the ones she mentioned, but I’ll just limit myself to expressing my dismay that Howard Chaykin didn’t make either list. . .

Greatest creative team of the decade coming in #2 on both lists? I can live with this!

I felt compelled to make a gallery of a few artists I like who didn’t make the top 50:

http://imgur.com/a/QLMA0/2
http://imgur.com/a/QLMA0/not_top_50_material

(Milo Manara, Bernard Krigstein, Alex Toth, Blutch, John M Burns, John Paul Leon, Asada Hiroyuki, Jon J Muth, Mort Drucker, Goseki Kojima, Man Arenas)

Quitely is the most overrated artist in comics. All the people he draws look the same. I’d almost rather my favorite book’s art be taken over by Rob Liefeld. Almost.

Surprised and disappointed to see Kyle Baker didn’t make the list.

I agree! Kyle Baker is a great cartoonist. He was perfect for Plastic Man, and he’s still doing great stuff, like Deadpool MAX

Jack Kirby is right where he belongs, #1. Although I may disagree with the entire rest of the list, starting with #2, there was never a doubt that Kirby was (and still is) King!

“Quitely is the most overrated artist in comics. All the people he draws look the same.”

The three figures on the sample page prove you wrong.

Yeah, Kyle Baker was in my Top 10 but didn’t make the Top 50 list. Same with Jack Cole, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Bob Oskner and almost C.C. Beck (he was my #11).

@ Martin:

The content of this blog heavily favors comics published major American comic book companies over the the last 50 years. By itself, that is a pretty huge mandate, but it obviously excludes a lot of worthwhile material.

However, the odds of creators that did not do a large percentage of their work for Marvel or DC since 1960 making the list were always vanishingly small.

Quitely is the most overrated artist in comics. All the people he draws look the same

Actually if Quitely has a fault, it’s that NONE of his faces look the same, even when it’s the same character being drawn panel to panel. He’s not consistent enough to make one person look the same from panel to panel, much less to make different characters look like each other.

Which is not to bash Quitely. He’s a great artist. I just think if he has a fault, drawing all faces the same isn’t one of them.

As much as I’m a fan of Quitely’s work, I agree with dhole in that I would never, EVER put him ahead of Neal Adams, John Byrne or George Perez.

That’s just silly stuff.

Well, a good list, but shouldn’t this be “The Greatest Artists at the moment.”

I remember a time where John Byrne, Wally Wood, Neal Adams among others would’ve easily cracked the top ten, and tomorrow maybe it will change around.

Imagine if this list was 20 years ago. We ALL know who would’ve made the Top 10 (Three certain Image Comics founders come to mind!)

That Kirby god is pretty epic. Wow. Is Marcos Martin on the list somewhere? I like his Spider Man issues.

Of my list, Tony Harris (#10), Marshall Rogers, Alberto Breccia, Juan Giménez and Ricardo Villagrán didn’t make the cut. I forgot to vote Norm Breyfogle, who would have probably replaced Harris, and I can’t believe that artists like José Luis Garcia Lopez, Dave Mckean or Simon Bisley (and several more) didn’t make it at all.

Now that it’s over, I wanted to take a few minutes to thank you Brian for this list, and all the previous ones, I always enjoy them year after year, and all the comments they inspire. Thanks!

Kirby’s supremacy is unquestioned. That he could also produce a zillion comics a month is a little fact that should put all modern artists to shame.

I like Quitely, despite the fact he sometimes draws some incredibly ugly women. I’m sorry, I don’t remember in which thread it was that I said Quitely’s Emma Frost looked like some alien hermaphrodite? And someone defended Quitely saying Emma probably was supposed to look disturbing to the reader?

Probably. But it wasn’t just Emma’s costume or personality that made her disturbing. I am no prude, and I think the Emma Phil Jimenez drew was seriously hot. I’d hit that in a second. But Quitely’s Emma? Ewwwww. I think his Cat Grant is also quite repulsive, but that is more acceptable, as Cat’s maybe supposed to look like a middle-aged woman trying too much.

Still, Quitely is impressive in many other respects, and deserves to be in this list. But ranked that highly? I don’t know.

What I do know is that I am glad Todd McFarlane didn’t make it. :) Or Silvestri or – shudder – Liefeld.

No Michael Turner? dear lord…..

The Crazed Spruce

December 22, 2010 at 5:36 pm

I had Jack Kirby at #10 on my list, and Quitely was in my 11th-place tie. I’ve always have a decided preference for the more realistic style of artwork, and I’ve always been somewhat put-off by their stocky figure work, but I can’t really argue with either of them (although quite frankly, I’m surprised that Quitely didn’t wind up around 25th or so).

Well, I’m 6 for 10. I’m surpsed Curt Swan (my #2, the difinitive Superman artist), Kevin Maguire (#4, best facial expressions in the business), and Dave Cockrum (#7, his design work can’t be matched) didn’t make the cut, though. I’m not surprised that Steve Lightle (my #8) didn’t finish, though. (He wasn’t very prolific, but damn, his artwork is just gorgeous.)

Nitzan Rotschild

December 22, 2010 at 5:42 pm

I can’t believe the great Michael Turner isn’t on the list.

Once again, I’ve found these lists addictive; particularly when you get to the top 10. I can’t actually remember who I voted #1 artist – either Hitch, Buscema or Quitely I think. The only real gripe I have against Quitely is that we don’t see enough of his work! I find his work quite beautiful in an ugly sort of way. Can’t remember either if I voted for Kirby, but can hardly fault his lofty position; he’s produced some of the most powerful comics pages ever (including that awesome New Gods example).

"O" the Humanatee!

December 22, 2010 at 6:02 pm

There are a lot of people I would like to have seen on the list, but as it’s a poll of favorites of a particular group, I had a pretty good idea who would and would not be on it. From that point of view, the biggest surprise was that Marcos Martin didn’t show up at all. He’s a current artist, he’s appeared in some high-profile places like Spider-Man, and he’s a wonderful storyteller. I can see some people not being enthusiastic about his drawing – it doesn’t have the pizazz factor or degree of detail of many more popular artists, but that doesn’t bother me.

T.: It doesn’t make much sense to say that Quitely’s place is accounted for by the fact “Even if a lot of people dislike his work, those people split their votes among many different artists, whereas all the Quitely people all focused their votes on him.” You can’t really “focus” your votes here. You’re not allowed to vote more than once for the same person, so there are two ways to get a high score. One is to have more of the votes for an artist concentrated in first place or other fairly high places. But Quitely doesn’t have a disproportionally high number of first-place votes: he got 51 first-place votes, while the artists just behind him, J.H. Williams and George Perez, got 50 and 63 first-place votes, respectively. (By contrast, no. 1, Jack Kirby, got 112 first-place votes.)

The second way to have a high score is to have more people vote for you, which is the opposite of having people “focus” their votes. It’s basically a measure of how many people consider you one of their favorites, which is pretty much what this poll is about.

(I’m going to put the rest of my comments on the poll in the master list post.)

"O" the Humanatee!

December 22, 2010 at 6:06 pm

I lied; here’s one more comment: I wonder how many of the people who are turned off by Quitely’s drawing would feel about him if he just did layouts and other people finished the art. He’s a very good storyteller, as the story pages above show. While neither Quitely nor Morrison made my top 10, I love We3.

Hergé and Albert Uderzo didn’t even crack the top 50. That’s kinda disappointing.

Hergé and Albert Uderzo didn’t even crack the top 50. That’s kinda disappointing.

They’re both in the Top 100, though!

Perhaps I should post #51-100 sometime (you all already got a peak at #51).

Quitely finally making it past one place behind Kirby, years ten years being completely rejected by X-men fans during his run with Morrison, is proof that Comic fans are finally starting to develop tastes.

Post EVERYONE who got a vote, PLEASE, Brian?!!?! For artists and writers. C’mon, we know you’ve got the list.

I wanna know who got the least points but still got a #1 vote.

Of course Kirby is number one. He’s probably the best super-hero artist in history (and he could draw the hell out of any other genre, too), and deserves every accolade one could heap upon him.

Quitely’s a favorite. Yes, he has problems with drawing consistent faces and attractive women. On the other hand, he does everything else (layouts, action, talking heads, fantastic elements) with aplomb. He’s one of my two favorite modern artists, along with J.H. Williams III.

Did we see J.G. Jones or Gene Ha on the list? They’re both astounding, capable of rich detail and gorgeous surfaces without sacrificing storytelling or movement.

Thanks, Brian, for compiling this list. as always, it was a lot of fun!

@ Nitzan Rotschild & Weston:

i’ve never liked Michael Turner’s art. Looks like ’90s Image art to me, but slicker.

This goes back to my point about this being people’s FAVORITES, not based on anything else [such as talent].

If Rob Liefield made the #1 spot, it would still be a valid poll, as it is measuring people’s FAVORITES!

DFTBA

It’s a testament to Kirby’s enduring power that he can still command the pinnacle of the pyramid of comic book artistry, 70 plus years after he broke into the medium. He was unquestionably my number #1 choice. I”m still working on my vain project to get every Kirby comic ever made. I’m back to 1965 so far.

The most astounding absences are Alex Toth and Wally Wood. It really is statement of the passage of time that two of the most accomplished and acclaimed artists ever are no longer sufficiently well known to even crack most readers top 50 lists. Pretty sad.

Thanks for the good times Brian.

T.: It doesn’t make much sense to say that Quitely’s place is accounted for by the fact “Even if a lot of people dislike his work, those people split their votes among many different artists, whereas all the Quitely people all focused their votes on him.” You can’t really “focus” your votes here. You’re not allowed to vote more than once for the same person, so there are two ways to get a high score. One is to have more of the votes for an artist concentrated in first place or other fairly high places. But Quitely doesn’t have a disproportionally high number of first-place votes: he got 51 first-place votes, while the artists just behind him, J.H. Williams and George Perez, got 50 and 63 first-place votes, respectively. (By contrast, no. 1, Jack Kirby, got 112 first-place votes.)

The second way to have a high score is to have more people vote for you, which is the opposite of having people “focus” their votes. It’s basically a measure of how many people consider you one of their favorites, which is pretty much what this poll is about.

The person I was responding to said he was surprised that Frank Quitely scored so high because he’s so polarizing that just as many people dislike him as seem to like him. My point was that it doesn’t mean anything because the people who do like him like him very strongly. Even if he doesn’t have the most #1 votes, he might have a lot of #2, #3, and #4 votes, which all count for a lot too. Meanwhile, the ones who don’t like him probably spread their votes all over the place.

My point was that even if a lot of people don’t like you, if the people who do like you are passionate enough to rank you high it makes up for it. Or the other option is that the people who don’t seem to like him are just a vocal minority and aren’t actually that many.

These polls aren’t representative of much. They’re fun to read, but ultimately it only represents the opinions of a very small group of people. Both lists were missing some significant people.

Quietly is number 2 because a lot of people like him. It’s that simple. There’s a difference between “best” and “favorite” and this list is clearly the latter. No pioint raging against it. I mean, Alex Toth isn’t on the list, so that immediately invalidates it as an actual reflection of the “best” artists. Just accept it for what it is, just a good bit of fun.

I’ve never warmed up to Quitely’s art. He can do backgrounds and vehicles beautifully, but – and I’ve used this metaphor a lot when describing his work – all of his people look like bags of skin filled with lumpy mashed potatoes.

"O" the Humanatee!

December 22, 2010 at 10:01 pm

T.: My point (implied) was that if Quitely didn’t get a disproportionately high number of first-place votes relative to the people behind him, it’s unlikely that he got a disproportionately high number of compensatory second- or third-place votes to account for why he scored ahead of them. That logic makes sense to me, but the only way to know what actually happened is to see the breakdowns of the votes by place, which would be demanding a lot of Brian.

The people who dislike Quitely strongly could have had an impact if votes were also taken for least-liked artists – but that’s not how the poll worked.

I like Quitely’s layouts and objects, but every person he draws lands right in the middle of my personal uncanny valley. They all look like mannequins cast in the image of corpses. This has stopped me from ever actually picking up and reading a Frank Quitely book, and probably indirectly worked to keep Grant Morrison off of my top ten list, to boot.

Damn, O, you made everyone have italics!

Brian, you didn’t put the part about this being a “favorites” list in boldface, italics, and with a “whoop whoop” whistle on top of every post, so it immediately invalidates the reading comprehension of people with a stick up their ass about this not including some “best” artists that just aren’t people’s “favorites”.

I swear, if there’s one more post that includes some form of “you didn’t include X, so the list is invalidated”…

Actually, it’s more interesting a list for being favorites versus “best”. As someone said elsewhere about Stan the Man, they felt he was “homework”, and there are certainly comics artists that we recognize as being “important” to the medium, etc, but are just HARD to read, either due to their style falling out of favor or just being technically interesting but lacking that “oomph” that makes them favorites.

@kalorama, again the elitist nerds with the “invalidate” comment. How can a list like this be “invalid?” What would be a “valid” list, to you? Does it involve a number of noted academics and comics critics meeting in an ivory tower, clad in white robes, at a marble table overseen by the great kalorama? Who the fuck are you anyway? Explain please.

@kalorama, again the elitist nerds with the “invalidate” comment. How can a list like this be “invalid?” What would be a “valid” list, to you? Does it involve a number of noted academics and comics critics meeting in an ivory tower, clad in white robes, at a marble table overseen by the great kalorama? Who the fuck are you anyway? Explain please.

kalorama specifically noted not having a problem with the list as is. The “invalidate” comment was only saying if someone said that this list was “the best artists,” which, as we know, it is not. So your response to kalorama is a bit off the mark.

They’re fun to read, but ultimately it only represents the opinions of a very small group of people.

It’s not a “scientific poll,” of course, but come on, over a thousand voters is a lot of voters.

Wait a second- you guys put Jack Kirby over Rob Liefeld????? ‘The King’ can’t hold a candle to ‘The God’.

I jest of course :)

Still, there are a few names that I expected to be on this list that weren’t- Geoff Darrow, Charest, Todd Macfarlane (and one or two that I knew wouldn’t make it, but I do love, like Bart Sears).

Still, I’ve enjoyed this list, and especially the comments. But next time– we need more Liefeld!!! (Or Stephen Platt- remember him? Like Simon Bisley and Liefeld combined- heaven on a page, I tell ya.)

I’m completely off-touch with the pulse of comic public. I thought Lienil Yu was in the Top 10, but he didn’t even crack the Top 50. With no disrespect to some of the artists here but I think he’s better than almost all of them.

Yu had a lot of support, but a lot of artists got a lot of support, ya know?

Listing of #51-100 would be appreciated, would be nice to see if some offbeat creators have a cult following…
Lowest-scoring with #1 votes would probably be someone who got only those ten points, no doubt there are one or two creators like that…

Polls like these do favor some “hot right now” creators (some of the genuinely good but in the long run might not be worthy of the exact position they got) and the readership of the blog brings in the “new American comics from major companies” bias which has cut out EC, manga greats, major Europeans etc.
Latter is unfortunate (go and read some comics outside your immediate comfort zone, people!), the former I’d argue not to be such an unfortunate thing…on other art forms certain media (Rolling Stone, NME and some others) have a tendency to put out regularly these “best albums of all time” lists which more often than not scream “dadrock” and which are just so mind-numbingly boring and unimaginative and suggest that the readers stopped listening to new music somewhere around 1975 (well, there’s the token nod for Nevermind which is a final nail to the coffin).
Not having flavor of the month creators in too high positions would be just sad.

I don’t understand Jack Kirby’s seemingly-unassailable position as the best of all time.

I’m not trying to dismiss him, I actually do think I’m missing something. I was talking with a friend the other day about it and I was saying although I like Kirby and can certainly see why he’s a good artist, I don’t see why he’s so much better than Ditko or Romita or Gil Kane…

Is it because I’m not at all into the cosmic stuff?

While Kirby didn’t make my top 10, Gavin, I think he’s in the best position for several reasons.

Among them include longevity (He started late ’30s and worked until the ’90s),

influence (everybody in superhero comics wants to emulate him in some form, even Scott McCloud had to get his Kirby ya-yas out with DESTROY!),

being THE artist for ’60s Marvel (SpiderMan is about the only major character he didn’t have a big hand in, and even that is in question given his claims in the ’80s),

being able to cross genres (war books, superheroes, cosmic stuff, Boys Ranch is his classic western strip, he created the romance comic with Joe Simon, he did a little of everything),

RAW ENERGY,

I swear I saw someone ask if he created the splash page (maybe on the master list),

he wrote his stuff as well as drew it,

his work is possibly best with Joe Sinnott, but works well with most any other inker who inked him…

Yeah, there’s a lot of reasons.

@Brian

“kalorama specifically noted not having a problem with the list as is. The “invalidate” comment was only saying if someone said that this list was “the best artists,” which, as we know, it is not. So your response to kalorama is a bit off the mark.”

Okay, I may have overreacted a bit, but I was responding to the trend in general to scoff at this list. I understand that a fan favorite list doesn’t necessarily determine quality, but in all seriousness, is there really an objective and “academic” way to do that? One that doesn’t involve white robes, ivory towers and virgin chicken sacrifices, I mean.

To be a goof and also share my dislike of this “invalidate” commenting, Rosselli:

I don’t know about the robes and ivory towers and such, but the way I sacrifice chickens completely invalidates their virgin status.

Man, I feel like reading Preacher now for some reason. And going vegetarian too.

Okay, I may have overreacted a bit, but I was responding to the trend in general to scoff at this list. I understand that a fan favorite list doesn’t necessarily determine quality, but in all seriousness, is there really an objective and “academic” way to do that? One that doesn’t involve white robes, ivory towers and virgin chicken sacrifices, I mean.

Oh, I agree. I just thought it was worth noting that kalorama wasn’t taking part in the reactions that you were taking issue with – I would imagine kalorama has a similar stance to you on the subject.

Was the one person complaining about the Quitely All Star Superman page being his most “pedestrian” making a pun?

Rene, I was the one on the other post suggesting that Quitely’s Emma was perhaps deliberately supposed to be repulsive due to who she was. Thinking about it, perhaps it was something Morrison considered when writing, since by the time Jimenez was drawing her, she was part of the team and fairly well accepted. Just a suggestion, again, I haven’t read New XMen in awhile. Although I wonder if the people who are thinking that Quitely’s Xmen art was ugly are thinking of Kordey’s stuff. That was, ugh, of course, according to a Legend it was done in, what, a week?

Some people mentioned as “coulda been on the list” (JG Jones, Gene Ha, Charest, Darrow) just haven’t been prolific enough or speedy enough to maintain a regular run in order to stick in people’s minds. I like work of all these guys, but there’s just not enough of their stuff to make me go, yeah, they’re WAY up there on my list. Especially with artists, since there are (seemingly) so many more to choose from.

Quitely is VERY overrated in my opinion. He is talented, but nowhere near the level of guys like JH WIlliams III and George Perez.

Oh well.

Amy Reeder Hadley is a glaring omission on the big list. Her work on Madame Xanadu has been beautiful.

I don’t understand Jack Kirby’s seemingly-unassailable position as the best of all time.

I’m not trying to dismiss him, I actually do think I’m missing something. I was talking with a friend the other day about it and I was saying although I like Kirby and can certainly see why he’s a good artist, I don’t see why he’s so much better than Ditko or Romita or Gil Kane…

Is it because I’m not at all into the cosmic stuff?

There are two big problems with Kirby. The first, and even though I’m a big fan even I have to admit this, is that his people are very, very ugly. His storytelling, page layouts, scenery, machinery, cosmic displays, fight choreography, everything else is pretty amazing and innovative, but his people are just plain ugly. The second problem is that his style ended up becoming the House style at Marvel and became very influential over at DC as well. Check out this comment I made a while back that explains his influence on Kane, Buscema and others better: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2010/09/10/a-year-of-cool-comics-%E2%80%93-day-253/#comment-801297

So when you put these two problems together here’s what happens: because his innovations in storytelling and design are now commonplace, it’s hard to see what’s so special about them. They just seem like good, solid superhero comics but nothing groundbreaking. And since everyone else at Marvel was using Kirby’s style too, the ones who could do Kirby’s innovations AND draw pretty people end up looking better than Kirby, who drew his people ugly.

Keeping in mind that this is entirely subjective: I wouldn’t have put Quitely in the top 5, maybe not even the top ten. Kirby should be, of course, though I like George Perez better.

@ T.:

When discussing The Beatles on a Podcast with Bil Simmons, Chuck Klosterman said something that reminded me of Lee-Kirby. He said that it was impossible to be a more definitive rock band than The Beatles because they defined the category in people’s minds. Just about everything we associate with being the biggest rock band in the world is something The Beatles did first. It is impossible to more like The Beatles than The Beatles, so they will always be definitive (which is not the same thing as being the best or anyone’s favorite).

Lee-Kirby did not invent the superhero genre, but those early Marvels pretty well defined it. If you add Ditko to the mix (and I would), then it is pretty hard to think of telling a modern superhero story without dealing with the tropes that they devised. I do not think this is entirely good, but it is pretty well undeniable.

The difference between Stan Lee and Jack Kirby is that Vertigo wave of writers in the late 80s and 90s were able to able to evolve beyond Stan Lee. Four of the Five writers are “Vertigo guys” (or proto-Vertigo) to me: Moore (Swamp Thing), Morrison (Doom Patrol, The Invisibles), Ellis (Transmetroplitan) and Gaiman (Sandman). They invented a different creative space. The potentially defining Vertigo artists either sold out, burned out or fizzled out before they could put a clear stamp on things. The Vertigo sensibility was in the scripts and it kept evolving until it took over the mainstream superhero genre through the backdoor (Wildstorm, Ultimate Marvel).

So, the defining artists of the ’90s were all working in post-Kirby and/or post-Neal Adams mode with light splash of Manga.

“Perhaps I should post #51-100 sometime (you all already got a peak at #51).”

Duh, of course.

Where is an online petition when you need one? :P.

It’s totally fitting and personally very pleasing, but franking surprising, to see Jack Kirby finish so far in front. These polls lean so heavily to the newer works, and the man’s been dead for sixteen years, and hasn’t produced anything of real note for over thirty. Also his style is uniquely different from, well, anybody else, and hardly fashionable. I had been preparing myself to see him finish second or third, especially after Ditko finished so low.

I remember my very first Kirby book. I was in about grade two and home from school with the flu, and my mom came back from the drug store with medicine and a couple of comics. One of them was FF #76. I’d seen Marvels on the comics rack and never bought them, turned off by all the bombast and grimacing and lurid captions. I much preferred the calm decorum of the Legion of Super-Heroes and Aquaman, Gold Keys and Classics Illustrateds.
I read the book a couple of times but never made any real sense of it (it was the third issue in a cosmic four-parter), and found the art…disturbing. Somebody once described Kirby’s art as “nauseous” and that’s exactly what what my seven-year-old self experienced. My fever and queasiness were not helped by wierdly intense images of the Silver Surfer flitting through the freaky phantasmagoria of the Negative Zone. It was disorienting and disturbing, captivating but incomprehensible, and it was four or five years before I bought another Marvel. At that point, my taste had clearly changed, and Marvel’s Greatest Comics (FF reprints) immediately became my favorite book.

His FF stuff is legendary and well-known, but many haven’t read his JIM/Thor run, which I love as much or even a bit more in some ways. Issues #114-136 or so are one long continuing story that I’d strongly recommend to anybody.

Loved that Almighty picture, Julian! I saw it once some time ago and forgot all about it. Now I might make it my desktop background. Does anybody know what year that was done and who inked it?

To John: Byrne and Adams DID crack the top 10, of course.

I could see Kirby out of the top spot because of the flaws in his artwork. But really, he belongs in the top 5 or 10, at least.

To address the inevitable discussion of “best” vs. “favorite,” it would be interesting to run a “best” and “favorite” poll simultaneously. And see if the results are any different.

Regarding the facial ugliness of both Jack Kirby’s Marvel work and Quitley’s NEW X-MEN, I think it is a feature and not a bug.

Stan Lee is a very savvy businessman. He was competing with DC Comics. Think about the defining artists on the DC franchises from ’55-’72. You had Curt Swan drawing the Superman cast. Carmine Infantino co-created The Flash cast, Adam Strange and The Dibnys. Gil Kane co-created the Green Lantern and Atom casts. Joe Kubert co-created the Hawkman cast, the War books and inked the first Barry Allen story. You had Nick Cardy on Aquaman and Teen Titans. You had Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano on Wonder Woman. Finally, you had Neal Adams and Giordano totally re-inventing Batman, Green Arrow and Black Canary. Even an oddball title like Metamorpho had Ramona Fradon on it. The common thread is that the DC superhero line was packed with artists who drew BEAUTIFUL people.

If the DC superhero line from that period sprang to life, then who among us would not be the ugliest person in the room? Be careful, because Kurt Schaffenberger’s Lana Lang is making fun of your hair.

So, how do you compete? Marvel did it by being different. Both Kirby and Ditko created a much less attractive cast for the Marvel Universe. No one had to worry about Kirby’s women judging their fashion sense. It made the Marvel U feel more safe for people that might feel like misfits (aka every teenager, ever). Even artists that were capable of drawing prettier people often didn’t in their Silver Age work at Marvel. Don Heck’s Pepper Potts does not look anything like Gwenyth Paltrow. It was not until John Romita took over Spidey that things started to change. By that point, Marvel already had its reputation established.

Frank Quitely’s NEW X-MEN designs were just a return to that tradition.

“There are two big problems with Kirby. The first, and even though I’m a big fan even I have to admit this, is that his people are very, very ugly.”

Dunno about the others but drawing everyone beautiful is not a big selling point for me, quite the opposite (well, unless you are Jaime Hernandez). It’s not like Kirby (or Quitely) filled their pages with Lena the Hyenas, but he didn’t do modeled-after-Playboy/A&F-catalogue look either, which is good.
But I admit I have never got the “I need my protagonists idealized beyond realism” sentiment.

The one thing about Quietly’s work that could be a negatie, is that he draws so many of his characters as long and thin. his women especially. His characters however ARE consistent. also regarding them looking lumpy, he makes them look as they would if you took a photo and traced it. his fat people actually look fat, not slick looking round people. his characters feel mushy which to me is very much what people look like.
In fact his work is very remenicent of Moebius. his stroytelling capability is far beyond most people on the list.

that said, I am disappointed that Many great artists who should be on the list didn’t appear.
Al Williamson, Ross Andru, Mike Grell, Howard Chaykin and so many more.
Kirby is where he deserves to be. He created 90% of what you and I consider comics to be. for that reason alone he deserves the spot. beyond that, he created entire genres and also every major character that is worth a crap all were spawned by his pencil with very few exceptions.

Rosselli
December 23, 2010 at 1:13 am

@kalorama, again the elitist nerds with the “invalidate” comment. How can a list like this be “invalid?” What would be a “valid” list, to you? Does it involve a number of noted academics and comics critics meeting in an ivory tower, clad in white robes, at a marble table overseen by the great kalorama? Who the fuck are you anyway? Explain please.

Explain what, exactly? The uncalled for dick-ishness of your response? The fact that you missed my point entirely? The inherent hypocrisy of your (incorrectly) calling me an “elitist nerd” even as your own post spews nerd rage like pheromones from a cat in heat? The apparent fact that you stopped reading my (very short) post before getting to the part that reads “Just accept it for what it is, just a good bit of fun”?

Alas, I cannot explain as these things are beyond my ken. I take heart, however, in the fact that I don’t really care.

Have a nice life.

Wow, you got really upset.

But seriously though, you’re right, I was a bit out of turn. Sometimes I get stuck in infantry mode. It might have something do do with being in Afghanistan, I don’t know.

Looks like Superman is taking a number 2 in that picture. In fact all of the Frank Quitely pics look like the person is taking a dump. Maybe he’s like Greg Land and traces people on the toilet to get his faces just right.

Adam – If that’s how you look when you’re taking a dump, I think you’re enjoying it a bit too much.
Rosselli – Please get your army out of Afghanistan.

To all the people who say Kirby draws ugly people, I say to you: Big Barda. One of the most beautiful female characters in comics.

Frank Quitely may not always draw gorgeous women, but his freaky people was perfectly fitting on a comic about mutants.

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.

^So basically, you’d wish more people would read non-superhero comics? Yeah, good point.

Having said that, I will also say that I think Moore is TERRIBLY overrated. I already raised my concerns over the cult of personality that the British Comic Writers have cultivated, and while I would still hold Moore above the rest I think he’s fallen into the same trap. Nothing he has written outside of Watchmen comes anywhere near reaching the depth and heart of that book. V For Vendetta is self indulgent wankery. Supreme is unreadable. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is very enjoyable and sometimes thought provoking but more often uses references to literature as a crutch (it seems to be Moore’s favorite crutch). Lost Girls is interesting when taken as a whole, but is too cerebral and lacks heart considering the subject matter. Miracle Man… had some amazing art.

I still need to read Promethea, and I can’t imagine that a collaboration between Moore and JHWIII could be disappointing so I’m looking forward to it. Likewise I thought From Hell was a very great work. But overall I think Moore has been resting on his laurels since 1986 and every time I hear him talk all I can think of is Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place even when I agree with what he’s saying.

As for Morrison. He needs to drop this Batman stint he’s been on and finish up Seaguy because as much as it’s still him going to the Flex Mentallo well again he was at least maturing a bit with that series. As fun as Batman and Robin was, it’s definitely been some huge steps back for him creatively.

Oops, wrong blog post.

Lists like this only register the tastes, knowledge and insights of those limited numbers who voted and should be seen as such, though their opinions are as valid as anyone elses.

A fun idea as it was, and nice to see examples of many creators I have not seen in awhile, it should only be taken as ‘authoritative’ and ‘definitive’ because of those limited context. For example with little exception there is a bias toward the contemporary (American Superhero genre – which I enjoy and mainly consume) with a questionable conventional nod to some agreed progenitors in that field (Kirby etc)! Where are the great European and Far Eastern creators who work reflects different traditions and literary genres within the medium?

Personally some who are mentioned highly I find a little lacking in certain areas of their craft – great on ideas but lacking to me in their ability to craft a satisfying narrative (style over content).

It’s incredible how modern the Kirby pages still look! The Thor page reminds me of some kind of mash-up between Walt Simonson, Darwyn Cooke and Mike Mignola. It’s just amazing that Kirby came along before the artists I mentioned here and was so bravely and determinedly different! He is the original wellspring from which we all draw inspiration.

Every artist who worked with Kirby refers to him as a mentor.

I’m surprised by how high quitely is but I do enjoy his work. He brings something different to the page. Now, kirby. if this was a list for the artists who is most influential and respected, then he should be #1. However, for this list , I think there are way better artists than kirby. Kirby is good but i don`t really care for his artwork.

@fourthworlder: “Rosselli – Please get your army out of Afghanistan.”

Sorry, I’m just a Captain, I don’t have that kind of power. Why should we leave? We’re not even killing anybody anymore, and even detaining suspected Taliban is left up to the Afghan National Army now. We pretty much just encourage the Afghan people to trust their government and the police to take care of them instead of the Taliban.

Jeremy: Yeah. But I am not some Super Hater. I do make Superhero comics along with other stuff.

I don’t remember precisely how I voted, but I started with a list of my favorites and it went something like this. I only wish there were more diversity on the list, especially women.

1) Jim Woodring
2) Jamie Hernandez
3) Chris Ware
4) Daniel Clowes
5) Alan Davis
6) Darwyn Cooke
7) Adrian Tomine
8) Jack Davis
9) Hergé
10) J H Williams III
11) John Byrne
12) Jason
13) Frank Frazetta
14) David Mazzucchelli
15) Alan Moore
16) Chris Sprouse
17) Bill Sienkiewicz
18) Bryan Hitch
19) Mark Gruenwald
20) Chris Claremont
21) Mark Silvestri
22) Jack Kirby
23) Frank Miller
24) Paul Ryan
25) Mark Shultz
26) Jack Cole

Sorry Ben, I guess the rest of us just don’t have our heads shoved near as far up our own asses as you do.

"O" the Humanatee!

December 24, 2010 at 12:27 am

Every time I read Ben’s screed, my blood starts to boil, because it’s so pompous and dismissive of others’ tastes, presuming that if someone doesn’t appreciate what he appreciates, it’s an aesthetic failure on their parts. Guess what, Ben? Jim Woodring was my no. 10, but I find your no. 5, Alan Davis, to be nothing more than a competent craftsman. I read Acme Novelty Library for a long time, and Ware is a stunning designer, but he’s not one of my favorites because his art is so closely linked with his stories, which ultimately I decided I found horribly depressing. Mark Schultz draws beautifully, but does he transcend his influences, principally Frazetta and Al Williamson? Of course you’re free to like him, because this is a favorites list, but let’s not pretend he’s a major figure in the evolution of comics.

You say Bob Kane deserves a place in the top 20. I presume you mean the same Bob Kane who claimed credit for work on Batman done by Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson, not to mention a host of other “ghosts” like Dick Sprang, George Roussos, and Win Mortimer; and who, when he bothered to do his own art, copied some of his most significant work from other sources (http://www.dialbforblog.com/archives/389/, http://www.dialbforblog.com/archives/390/, http://www.dialbforblog.com/archives/391/)? How can he be anyone’s favorite cartoonist when “Bob Kane” was 10-20 different people, which only rarely included Bob Kane?

Finally: Marc Silvestri? Really? Again, feel free to like him, but I’d be very curious to hear your aesthetic justification for including him.

"O" the Humanatee!

December 24, 2010 at 12:37 am

One note for all who argue for the importance of “mature” and “literary” comics: I have no problem with such work. However, for me, one of the most exciting current comics artists is Mike Mignola. The content of Hellboy is not particularly radical or literary – it’s largely clever pulp fiction with interesting folkloric elements woven in. But his art is incredibly deft from a comics point of view – the formal properties of the page layout and panel arrangement, the careful, economical use of shapes and positive and negative space, the dramatic chiaroscuro. I always praise his work by saying it’s “pure comics,” that its merits arise from how he uses the comics medium (which is why I didn’t find the first Hellboy movie terribly successful – I didn’t see the second – since it lost a lot of what makes Hellboy great in moving to a different medium).

Hellboy is fantastic and Mignola was my number 2, but he doesn’t really draw so much anymore. He was also high on my writers list, I think 3 or 4. Duncan Fegredo does the pencils for Hellboy now, and he’s also an excellent artist who captures Mignola’s essence without simply copying his style.

Let me note for everyone for future reference – don’t cross-post your comments. It is annoying. It could be the greatest comment ever written, we still don’t need to see it on multiple threads. In the future, I’ll just delete the extra comments.

I love Frank Quitely big time so I’m happy with him being there (though he was my #5 behind Mazzucchelli, Tohh, Sale and Tottleben).

Rene, I was the one on the other post suggesting that Quitely’s Emma was perhaps deliberately supposed to be repulsive due to who she was

That would explain why John Cassaday makes her look like Celine Dion

To all the people who say Kirby draws ugly people, I say to you: Big Barda. One of the most beautiful female characters in comics.

when drawn by Steve Rude!

I don’t think Kirby’s characters are ugly. A bit unconventional, yes. But his men are attractive in a rugged way, his women are… ample. In a good way. I say this as a guy that much prefers curvy, healthy women like Christina Hendricks of MAD MEN, and is disturbed by ultra-thin supermodels that actually look like androgynous teenage boys with boobs.

Quitely, on the other hand, really has characters that are slightly in uncanny valley, as previously said. By the way, I don’t think it’s that bad (except for a few of his women), but I find the similes people used hilarious: corpses, bags of cellulite, skin filled with mashed potatoes.

Frank Quitely’s art really has a monstrosity vibe picked up by a few readers. I do think the bizarreness of his characters is part of his appeal.

Damn – that Anonymous two posts up was me.

Two more things:
1 – I don’t get this “ugly people” thing for either artist. They aren’t photo-realistic artists, so both of them draw people who if translated into the real world would look deformed, but within their own art the people are fine.

2 – Kirby’s God is Alan Moore! That explains a lot

It was an accident I swear!

Rosselli, you “encourage” the Afghan people to trust Hamid Karzai??

“O” the Humanatee!:

I did not mean to cause such distress. My primary intention is to open doors, not close them. I suppose when you rant as I did, this is the price I pay. However, it is never my intent to be “dismissive of others’ tastes,” but forming an opinion in this context I run the risk of appearing that way. If you knew me and my other writings on the subject, “pompous”would not be your normal critisim. 

The list was intended to illustrate two things after my rant (which was flawed in that it did not underscore the acknowledged difference between favorites and “top.” Yes, the master
list is a favorites list. I was simply trying to state frustration with a lack of diversity on the list). One: I to contributed by providing choices that where my favorite, not whom I would teach my students where the “top” (not that I do this). Two: I have diverse taste (I do acknowledge that my favorites list is not a wide sampling of all I read. We all have particular leanings).

Glad to hear you like Jim as much as I do. He is a wonderful person and cartoonist.

My pleasure in reading Davis is three fold; the aesthetics of his form and line wright, the quality expression in his acting, and childhood nostalgia. 

I completely understand peoples reservations about Ware. He is consistent in a high level of quality innovative craftsmanship and relentles study of the most miserable people (the kind we all wish we could shake it out of). But occasionally a story will suprise me in a good way and I am always learning how to improve as a cartoonist when reign his work.

Mark Schultz, is on there because I have seen him work and his inks are wonderful to see in person. He always inks with a brush sweeping in one direction. My love for Frazzetta is based in a base instink. I love his female forms. But you are correct Shultz owes much to Frazetta and Williamson. Shultz influence may prove to be on somone of my generation. He has been gracious to us.

Thanks for pointing out the Bob Kane issue. 
Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson, Dick Sprang, George Roussos, ect… should all share that spot. Oh the messy history of comics an our desire for definitive fair lists…to what will never be. 

As for Silvestri: Nostalgia (I got seriously obsessed with the X-Men  on Uncanny 214…the pithy lines and lyrical ease in that fight between my favorite X-Men Longshot and Jargenaut just did it for me). 

Marry Christmas

Brian: My bad. Won’t happen again.

Bob L: What was that? Couldn’t hear you in here.

“If you knew me and my other writings on the subject, “pompous”would not be your normal critisim(sic).”

So, you’re saying that in your other writings on the subject, you write in a style so different from the previous rant that it’s barely even recognizable as being by the same person?

I wish I’d known about this in time to vote.

The examples of Kirby’s art remind me that Kirby as we think of Kirby didn’t become Kirby until the 1960s.

Not “Marry Christmas,” Ben. It’s “Merry Christmas” or “Marry Christ.”
And if it’s a choice I’d recommend the second of the two.
imho etc.

@fourthworlder, he’s better than some alternatives. These people are in general incredibly corrupt and crooked down to the average farmer. It’s common practice to join the military or national police, work for six months, desert on payday, and then go to the Taliban to give them inside information on their former comrades and leaders. Finding an honest politician here is probably not possible.

So is any form of legitimate democracy, so what are we accomplishing except for imperial hegemony and a forward stance on the Eurasian stage??

And what the poop does this have to do with Mister Miracle or Kamandi?

“Finding an honest politician here is probably not possible.”
Sounds like they have basics of western democracy covered then.

@ AS

I left that out because I thought it was an obvious statement.

Rosselli
December 23, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Wow, you got really upset.

I wasn’t the one who went on an outraged, name-calling, f-bomb dropping rant.

Upset? Hardly. Like I said, I really didn’t care all that much.

Gee that Tarzan loin clothe with the black leather boots and the trench coat is really working for Flex Mentallo on that cover of his. I really dig those hairy legs.

Genuinely shocked at Quitely breaking #40 nevermind being #2. I haven’t seen a title he’s drawn that I haven’t hated the art on. His art ruins books for me. He’s the Jeph Loeb of writers. He’s just so terrible that I really can’t understand why so many people are fans. Its baffling.

Frank Quitely is number 2? That’s what comic readers love now? OOOOOOOOOOO-kaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy…. Strip the computer coloring of Quitely and check back with me.

Quitely didn’t make my list because he’s very hit or miss for me, but when he’s on he’s amazing. Kirby was an incredibly close @2 for me behind JH Williams III, simply because Kirby has only one style that he does incredibly well and I put a lot of emphasis on an artist’s ability to work in multiple styles.

COSMIC JUSTICE BE DONE!!

I… I find it hard to put into words, how happy I am that Kirby is finally given his due, by the uneducated youngin’s on this board.

I never thought there could be such appreciation of the art-form that is comics here, for everyone to come to their senses and put the god-damn KING back where he belongs.

As #1.

I would have cried myself to sleep I think, if Jim Lee had been voted #1…

Well done, folks! =)

Jack Kirby had his faults,even as a comic book artist,the way he drew people for example,but he deserves to be at the top of the list,for the sheer dynamic and breathtaking images and panoramas that he through-up in your face.It was at Marvel that he flourished and matured,but continued to do good work elsewhere.Its impossible to imagine comics evolving without him.

Jack Kirby had faults as an artist,the way he drew people for example,but deserves to top the list for his sheer dynarism and breathtaking images and panoramas he through-up in your face.Its impossible to imagine comics evolving without him.

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