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CSBG Archive

Steve McNiven’s Back Pages

Every day this month I will share with you the first (at least as far as I know) U.S. professional work by a notable comic book creator. Here is an archive of the creators who have been featured so far.

Today’s featured creator is Steve McNiven!


Steve McNiven is one of the top artists at Marvel Comics. Pretty much every comic he draws for them becomes a top-selling book. This was almost certainly why they used him to open up the Brand New Day era in Amazing Spider-Man. His most popular series is still likely the Civil War crossover he did with Mark Millar (who he is currently doing the creator-owned Nemesis comic with). Here are a few sample pages from the Civil War story (inked by Dexter Vines)…

McNiven broke into comics working for CrossGen as a staff artist. In late 2000, he got his first break with a handful of pages of Meridian #6 (a book he ended up taking over from the original artist, Joshua Middleton, who was fired during the production of Meridian #6 for talking bad about Crossgen on internet message boards). The pages aren’t labeled and he did non-sequential pages, so there’s at least the possibility that I’m showing you the wrong pages (I don’t believe so, but just throwing it out there that there’s a chance).

These pages are inked by John Dell…

That same month (December 2000), McNiven did a fill-in issue of Sigil. The pages are inked by Batt (the first two) and Jordi Ensign (the last two)…


That first work was MERIDIAN #6, as it had Middleton as artist!


Thanks, Jeremy! Yeah, I just accidentally called both comics Sigil. Fixed now!

McNiven’s art is great, it’s just a shame that the coloring on Nemesis is just so god-awful.

90% of the color comics from the last fifteen years have been ruined by awful coloring. On the whole, computer coloring has been the worst thing to ever happen to comics.

I have just about every issue of Crossgen’s output and it is, almost without exception, the best comics experiment since 1962. A shame it all went south.

Matt – I do have an affection for the old flat colouring, but very few comics actually made good artistic use of it – Watchmen being the most notable example I can think of. Most comics back then were very functionally coloured – Red things were red, blue things were blue etc.

There are some badly coloured comics these days, but personally I think colouring is the best it has ever been right now, and that is – in part – because of computer colouring.

Just look at the colours in recent issues of The Flash. Lovely!

Crossgen was some good stuff

Salman Rushdie

April 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm

McNiven got some flack for Civil War, which is underserved. It was never going to be a great series. He was blamed for the delays, which wouldn’t surprise me if weren’t his fault. Civil War would of made a great Ultimate story, but it just wasn’t Marvel. Non of the characters seemed like themselves and I think it ruined Marvel’s most popular character by making him a sad follow-the-leader type idiot and introduced concepts that were never going to go anywhere. You can’t just promise readers new ideas and concepts and not pay them off or explain why Tony Stark is suddenly this guy who locks people up in a giant prison. It’s stuff like that I think hurt Marvel and still hurts it today. Hey, ready for Fear Itself. It’s been hurt because they already promised readers the biggest thing ever and couldn’t pull it off. The guy at the comic shop blamed McNiven. I bet he wasn’t late at all. This series seemed like a mess from the begginning and that wasn’t his area.

Yeah, it fits in with a bold new style of a universe. He has his own thing going. I don’t know why he’s doing Nemesis right now. I don’t know why. There’s plenty of other cool stuff at marvel he could be doing. I kind of like what’s going on in the Ultimate verse.

“On the whole, computer coloring has been the worst thing to ever happen to comics.”

Don’t blame the tools. Blame the people who abuse them.

Wizard said that Steve Mc Niven’s 1st full work as regular penciller was in Crossgen’s Meridian no.7. He also worked as a fill-in penciller in Sigil and Mystic.

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