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CSBG Archive

Top 125 Comic Book Artists: #75-71

Here are the next five artists on the countdown, based on your votes for your favorite comic book artists of all-time! Here is the list of all artists featured so far!

I’ll give you a sample page for each artist.

75 Michael Turner – 171 points (4 first place votes)

74 Dave Cockrum – 173 points (3 first place votes)

73 Ethan Van Sciver – 176 points

72 Alex Toth – 177 points (3 first place votes)

71 Jimmy Cheung – 182 points (4 first place votes)


sweet!! can’t wait to read the discussion about this batch

also, great to see Bachalo not on the list, all of us Bachalo-ites are marching towards #11 (he wasn’ listed in the earlier 1-10 list)!!

Bachalo was #27.

Wow, this grouping is probably the most varied in terms of extreme genius and extreme awful within a single batch. Every entry is either ranked criminally low or criminally high.

Ethan Van Sciver…. I really thought he would be in the Top 50. Personally, I think he’s an amazing artist.

Surprised (or maybe not-so-surprised) to see Alex Toth this low on the list.

That Green Lantern selection is fanfiction level writing at its worst. I still find it so weird when modern fans scoff at older comics for having nonstop thought bubbles that explain what’s already clear on the page, but then rave about stuff like this that has narration caption after narration caption filled with emo noir. It’s just so bad. It’s exactly the same as thought bubbles, except in a square box instead of inside a little cloud.

I think Joe Rice had the best review of that book ever:

Gosh, I’ve never even heard of … oh wait, that’s not true.

Man, Cockrum and Toth were great– and of course both terrific character designers as well as pencillers. Disliked Turner’s stuff, can’t get into Cheung’s, and kind of enjoy Van Sciver’s although man, his GL stuff is busy. Of course that’s the way it’s written too–every scene a mob scene.

Oh, and T.: I completely agree about Rebirth. Personally I was happy to have Hal back (although the way he’s been written since then has given me cause to reconsider that), but the way it was done was like watching someone make sausage. Not pretty.

I can’t stop looking at that Green Lantern page. It’s just so bad. I think it may be actually hurting my feelings, that’s how bad it is. And look at Kyle stroking his chin just to reinforce that he’s, you KNOW, thinking all artsy-like while he’s drawing a masterpiece. So subtle! I love how Kyle has to take the extra time to conjur up a PEN that then draws a construct, rather than just conjuring up the construct directly because…well, he’s an artist.

I haven’t read this book myself but I know John Stewart is an architect. Did he conjur up drafting tables and drafting tools before conjuring up his constructs? I know Guy Gardner was a social worker at some point before becoming a Green Lantern. Did he conjur up case files and then smack the monsters with them?

love jimmy cheung and man, michael turner could draw a lady.


@ T.

The art referenced John being an architect by showing him using the ring to construct a blueprint of something that smacks monsters, IIRC. Guy is apparently bursting with energy so he was drawn with green droplets erupting from his green aura, like he was sweating Green Lantern Juice. The truth is stranger than your mocking questions. Ugh.

I commented too soon. I re-examined the pages and realized that John Stewart actually is already there using construction-like devices to restrain the monster. I guess that’s supposed to be a nod to his architect job! Was there a scene where Hal went “And John, he’s an architect. Precision is the name of his game.” It’s just so hilarious.

I also just noticed in one panel, Kyle is using the eraser end of his giant green pencil. I love that: “Hold on guys, I know this is a life-and-death battle, but I need to take a break to correct this line with my giant eraser. Cause I’m an ARTIST. And a PERFECTIONIST” Call me crazy but can’t he just use the ring to directly alter his construct?

I made my last comment before seeing CheeseOnThree’s answers. It’s actually worse than I imagined! That’s hilarious. Even the Joe Rice review didn’t mention all those gems.

I’m going to check and see if my public library has a copy. Should be good for laughs, seems bad enough to be funny.

Pete Woodhouse

April 22, 2011 at 8:32 am

All the GL comments have piqued my interest. Who’s the writer, Johns? I admit I’ve never read anything of his, and judging from these and past comments the equation is: continuity + emo + dash of extreme violence = GJ.

Toth is one of those who suffers from this type of poll. I mean, as much as one KNOWS anything with a subjective thing like art, I know he’s one of the all-time greats. But I didn’t vote for him as I’ve not seen enough work apart from the odd Detective or DC mystery story. So someone like Aparo or Rogers got the nod instead.

nice to see two legends again Cockrum and alex tooth though that is two more that the vote should have had higher and also fitting to see Michel turner finaly show up on this list.

A big trade of Zorro comics featuring Alex Toth’s art was published a few years ago. The stories were less than inspiring, but it’s great to have so much Toth art in one place. He really was as great as his reputation, and I wish DC could or would get his Hot Wheels comics reprinted.

Jesus Christ, what is it with Green Lantern and the Internet?

Anyway, I hoped Toth would be a bit higher. Or at least that he secure a spot ending in 6 or 1. It’s very strange to read his entry and then see someone else ranked higher.

That’s a decent example of EVS’s work, but man, some of his stuff on a recent issue of JLA that I saw where there was this really strange anatomy. Like someone’s hair was blowing in one way while that same person’s cape was blowing another, everyone was viewed in profile even though we were looking from the top-down. I’ve seen some bad stuff, but that was the only comic art besides Liefeld’s that was MEMORABLY bad. Good going EVS, I could list the faults of a specific piece of work from memory.

Ok, so I need a Cockrum lover to explain to me what’s great about him.

I don’t really dislike Cockrum, and it’s not like I was rooting for him to not be on here… I just think he’s bland, boring, and I don’t understand how people can love his stuff.

First off, he’s obviously a great character designer, and his contributions on X-Men and other titles are clearly important. I’m not disputing either of those facts. But as an actual page artist and storyteller, I really think he stands out as being the only subpar guy of the whole Claremont era.

I first read the Claremont era in Classic X-Men, then I eventually got all the back issues, and now I also have all the Essential volumes. In each format, the art almost always stands out as being uniformly stunning, EXCEPT the Cockrum issues. Maybe Cockrum is at a disadvantage because his two stints bookend the Byrne run, which is probably an unenviable position to throw any artist in. But then after Cockrum’s second stint, the Paul Smith run not only felt like a breath of fresh air, but it immediately seemed to re-ignite Claremont’s genius, and gave us the “From the Ashes” set of stories. Then in the next few years you had Romita Jr, Adams, Windsor-Smith, Davis, Sienkiewicz (over on New Mutants), Miller (on the Wolverine mini), Silvestri… I mean, it was this steady stream of the greatest artists in comics.

The Cockrum stuff all just looks flat in comparison. Especially in the black and white Essentials, I feel like it’s noticeably missing something almost every artist seems to have. And it’s not like I’m some young kid that doesn’t think any old artist looks good. Byrne, Sienkiewicz, Miller, Gibbons, and Windsor-Smith were my top 5.

Cockrum has always been the very definition of average to me, so I’m extremely fascinated with what the people who voted for him like about his stuff. Especially to the people that picked him first, it seems reasonable to infer that you thought he was better on X-Men than Byrne. I’d be interested to hear someone explain why.

Turner is pretty terrible. Sketchy, amateur-looking lines, absurd female bodies, etc.

Never heard of Ethan Van Scriver, but he looks pretty good. Toth and Cockrum I could take or leave.

I always liked Cheung, especially on Scion, which was a pretty good book back in the early part of last decade. I’m glad Marvel is resurrecting the Crossgen properties and I hope they do Scion at some point, but I’m more interested in seeing new The Path and Way of the Rat.

Not much of an EVS fan but I love the rest. Turners art was always so much fun to look at. I had Cheung in my top 10 list. Love his Young Avengers. Cockrum probably deserves to be higher than he is. His X-Men work was always amazing.

It’s been a while, but I’m pretty sure Cockrum was on my list, and maybe Van Sciver (who if not was at least considered).

GL: Rebirth was one of the few comics I bought more for the art than the story. I’m not a Green Lantern fan, but was pretty captivated by the artwork (a lot probably has to do with Moose Bauman’s powerful colouring as well).

Cockrum is right up there with Byrne as my favourite X-artist. He just made the team so bloody spooky. The splash page kicking off X-men #107 (which was made into a poster) remains the iconic image of my X-men dream team.

We’ve got to be coming up to Mike Zeck any day now!

We’ve got to be coming up to Mike Zeck any day now!

Just for you, dhole, I will let you know where Zeck ended up – #139 (with 68 points and 1 first place vote)!

Jeez, that makes me kind of resent some of these artists on the list who, for my money anyway, aren’t fit to sharpen Zeck’s pencils.

I’ll admit that I was surprised by how little support Zeck got.

Well, I shouldn’t talk, because my own 10 was filled up with other favorites. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think he was freaking fabulous. Oh Mike Zeck, how we have failed you.

Zeck wa friggin awesome on Master of kung Fu

A terrible artist, and a couple of passable ones.

Toth though is an absolute genius – and was my #2 (just behind Mazzucchelli).

I really like Jimmy Cheung’s art too.

(for what it’s worth I don’t really like Zeck’s style)

While Ethan Van Sciver has his merits, it offends me that he is only one place removed from Alex Toth. I think I might be ill.

Also, Rebirth is one of the worst comics I have ever read.

John Tottleben is still to come right?

Zeck is great, but he hasn’t done much lately. The last time I remember seeing his art was on The Kingdom in the late ’90s or early ’00s.

John Tottleben’s great. Brian, have we seen Steve Bissette yet? He’s a favorite of mine whose name I don’t remember seeing.

Zeck at 139!!?! Wow. Now I know how all the other people complaining about rankings feel. What would a comic shop in the 80’s/90’s be without a Cap vs. Wolverine or Punisher #3 poster? Depressing :(

@ Brian Cronin:

That is a little surprising.

However, Mike Zeck never had that run. He was good for a lot of years and did some great work, but he never really put a stamp on a title the way some of his contemporaries did. Perez owns the Teen Titans. Byrne and Cockrum totally redefined the X-Men. Miller has Daredevil and Batman. Zeck doesn’t really have that. His best work was spread around a little too much.

It is a shame that he didn’t land on the post Luke McDonnell SUICIDE SQUAD. That title really struggled to find a visual identity and would have been perfect for it.

The Crazed Spruce

April 23, 2011 at 12:06 am

While I do appreciate his presentation of the female form, Michael Turner’s artwork is just too 90’s for my tastes.

Dave Cochrum was #7 on my list. The dude was probably one of the best character designers in the business.

I like Ethan Van Scryer, but he didn’t make my top 10. Same with Alex Toth.

Jimmy Cheung’s below my radar, but his stuff seems pretty good.

I’m pretty much given up on Steve Lightle showing up here. I’m also starting to wonder if I’m the only one who voted for him….

Wow, I am legitimately shocked at such a low showing for Zeck. But, I didn’t vote for him, so it’s unfair to complain that others didn’t as well. It just sucks that everyone seems to unanimously agree he should be one of the 100 greatest comic artists ever, he just didn’t make it on a lot of top tens. I think Dean may be on to something about how he didn’t have any particularly notable runs. His Captain America was great, but it hasn’t been reprinted. Same with Master of Kung-Fu. His covers have always been outstanding (particularly on GI Joe), but with so many artists to choose from and only ten votes to give, I think people really hesitated to vote for cover artists (we haven’t seen Dave McKean yet either).

If there were ever a top 100 cover artists poll, Zeck would be a mortal lock for top 20, probably top 10.

John Totleben, Whilce Portacio, Dale Keown, Larry Stroman, Frank Brunner, Andy Kubert, Phil Hester, Joe Quesada, Howard Porter, and Steve Epting are ten names I’d love to see still show up, but Kubert and Epting are the only two there that I really feel confident we’ll see. Stroman, Brunner, and Porter probably have no chance, while the other five are iffy. Totleben seems to have gotten some vocal support in the comment sections, so maybe he has a decent shot. And Keown still drew the best Hulk ever, so he had to get some love, but who knows how much.

Thanks for the heads up on Zeck, Brian. Better to know he’s not showing up than to hold my breath for every new post to the countdown.

But that is surprisingly low on the list. Considering high-profile art jobs like the first Punisher miniseries, Kraven’s Last Hunt, and a bunch of all-time great covers. Plus he did Secret Wars, although for some reason I remember not liking his art much in that one (maybe it was the inking?).

Anyway, for me Mike Zeck is the definitive Captain America artist, giving him more power and kinetic energy than anyone I’d seen draw him up to that point. He did a great Red Skull, too.

Where is the Toth love? I’m just grateful he appeared on this list at all. For me, he can go page for page against any of the geniuses of the pantheon. I think the problem is that virtually all of his work is incredibly hard to find in issues and the Theakston reprints aren’t exactly easy to get a hold of. Perhaps he’ll get better fan appreciation with the release of the upcoming Fantagraphics reprint of his Standard comics work. Please, please I urge everyone to get it to discover a true master, and then DC might finally issue reprints of his Green Lantern, horror and western comics.

Big Toth love from me. He was my #2 and on a different day I might have put him at #1.

As it was Mazzuchelli got my #1 vote largely for Batman: Year One where he was channelling Toth.

I cant stand EVS’ art – I try to avoid it at all costs!

Jimmy Cheung on the other hand is an amazing talented artist – his Scion work got me hooked! ;)

I think that’s my entire list now. I had Cockrum in at #10, breaking the perpetual tie for that position with his incredible costume design. The number of costumes that he redid and ended up becoming the standard, always go back to it costume were amazing.

I’m a big Cockrum fan, but as a costume designer he’s SO, SO overrated.

He just kept recycling pointy shoulder pads, thigh high boots, and sashes ad nauseum. He designed 3 or 4 great and very 70s looking costumes and kept recycling elements of them to death.

Glad to see Michael Turner here, although hoping he would be higher. I think his artwork is some of the most impressive and captivating ever. Yes, you could argue that its perhaps slightly ‘out of date’ or ’90s’ , but his work will live on for a very long time.

I’ve never seen a more intimidating take on Batman from batman/superman: Supergirl, and I will always maintain that Turner’s, in my own opinion, representation of Superman is the best to this day. Again bat/supe: supergirl illustratates this, and so does the cover to JLA identity crisis #2. That is how i want Superman to look. Stunning.

Loved his work on Witchblade and Fathom. My favourite piece of Turner art though is his varient cover to Hulk #6. Mindblowing!

I would have enjoyed his representation of any of the green lantern characters for an arc or two or maybe several covers at least.

I think he’s missed. R.I.P

i have to admit with dhole that Mike Zeck IS the definitive artist for cap.even though i am not from usa i could not think someone better to draw such an iconic character as an emblem for his country!Graceful, powerfull(not over machuline )…as for remarkable runs??dhhole said a lot plus his run on master kung fu where he took the art over another great(paul gulacy) and from issue to issue you can see his progression!but you can not find those issues reprinted these days due to copyright conflicts that exist with some characters appear in the comicbook!

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