"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Comic Books, Film
In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Spider-Man, we’re doing four straight months of polls having to do with Spider-Man, culminating with the release of the Amazing Spider-Man film in July. The last installment will deal with Spider-Man stories, but this month will be about Spider-Man’s writers and artists.
You all voted, now here are the results! Here is a master list of all the creators listed so far. We continue with Spider-Man artists #20-16…
NOTE: I made a mistake and had an artist in the Top 15 double-listed, so that freed up a spot for a new #25. Everyone else moved up a spot so Mike Deodato is now #20. – BC
20. Mike Deodato
Mike Deodato joined Amazing Spider-Man as the replacement for John Romita Jr. on J. Michael Straczynski’s run on Amazing. Deodato drew the book from #509-528, never missing an issue (although some issues he split duties with other artists).
Deodato had recently tweaked his art style in his run on Incredible Hulk, working in a more photo-realistic approach than he had on his previous superhero comics. He took this style with him to the Amazing Spider-Man, where he did a great job blending in that realistic approach with the characters while still being dramatic and dynamic with the superhero sequences. Here’s an example of this mix from Amazing Spider-Man #516…
Deodato also had the rare honor of drawing what Norman Osborn looks like when he is having sex.
19. Paolo Rivera
Paolo Rivera’s first Spider-Man work came on a painted issue of Spectacular Spider-Man #14, in a striking tale of a severely handicapped young man saved by Spider-Man (told through the eyes of the man). A few years later, Rivera teamed up once again with the writer of the Spectacular issue, Paul Jenkins, for a series of one-shots re-telling the origins of Marvel characters called Mythos.
Mythos: Spider-Man #1 was breathtakingly painted by Rivera. Here’s a sample…
Naturally, though, doing amazing painted work takes too long to do a regular comic book, so Rivera has slowly worked out a traditional comic book penciling approach.
He did a Punisher/Spider-Man story in Amazing Spider-Man #577 and then really amazed on the four part One Moment in Time storyline in Amazing Spider-Man #638-641 where he debuted this striking throwback penciling style. In the storyline (which explained how Spider-Man did not end up marrying Mary Jane), Rivera does a pitch-perfect Paul Ryan art style for one part of the story but later does a 60’s-esque riff with a modern day twist that is awe-inspiring. His design work is stunning. He has taken this style with him to Daredevil where he is earning even more plaudits. He is an outstanding comic book artist.
18. Mark Buckingham
Mark Buckingham paired up with Paul Jenkins for an extended and acclaimed run on Peter Parker: Spider-Man. With a few fill-ins mixed in, Buckingham drew the book from #20-41 and then #48-50.
Jenkins’ Peter Parker: Spider-Man issues really got to the heart of the first half of the book’s title, as Jenkins’ work was heavily involved in characterization. There he was blessed to be paired with Mark Buckingham, who as Fables fans all know, is one of the best artists out there when it comes to displaying emotions on characters.
Here is one of their most acclaimed issues, Peter Parker #35, where we meet a young boy who is living a terrible life with his drug-addicted mother. His only outlet from his terrible home life is his imagination and his “best friend,” Spider-Man…
Man, for some reason, reading that issue again made my room really dusty. It got into my eyes and everything. Excuse me for a moment.
Okay, moving on.
Buckingham later returned to the Spider-Man books to draw the last issue of Jenkins’ follow-up series to Peter Parker: Spider-Man, Spectacular Spider-Man. It was Jenkins’ swan song on the Spider-books, and it was only fair that he went out with the guy he went in with.
17. Stuart Immonen
Surprisingly, Stuart Immonen’s first Spider-Man work came 16 years ago! It was on, of all things, a Spider-Man/Gen13 team-up graphic novel! It was great (of course, this is Stuart Immonen we’re talking about here).
Following his amazing run on Nextwave, Immonen was tapped to be the guy who would take over from Mark Bagley on Ultimate Spider-Man (no easy feat, that). Immonen, though, was naturally more than up to the task.
He drew Ultimate Spider-Man #111-133 and they were some awesomely drawn comic books.
Immonen’s ability to come up with striking page designs for each different page always amazes me. He has such a dynamic approach and such power in his lines while also managing to come up with novel approaches to the depiction of action.
Here’s a sample from Ultimate Spider-Man #114…
Without becoming stiff (his work is quite fluid) he still manages to be detail-intensive, with each panel containing clear choices designed to show something about the characters in question – even in action. I am also impressed by how well he is able to convey emotion with Spider-Man’s covered face. When Spider-Man runs out of web fluid, Immonen does a bang up job expressing that “Oh crap” look.
And ya gotta love the manga-inspired speed lines!! Immonen rules.
16. Chris Bachalo
Chris Bachalo is one of the most distinctive comic book artists working today. His stint as one of the rotating artists on Amazing Spider-Man did not last especially long (nine issues in total) but he certainly left his mark with those nine issues.
He drew Amazing Spider-Man #555-557, 575-576, 629-633.
Here is a sample from #555…
The way I look at a Chris Bachalo book is that he has one of the most fascinating visions of any comic book artist out there. A page in a Chris Bachalo comic book is like seeing a film through the lens of a idiosyncratic director. He lays out pages in bold, innovative fashions where he fits so much detail into each page that it is almost too much to comprehend.
And yet, he is also about as far from realism as you can get. It is a wonderful blend between attention to detail and a disinterest in drawing photo-realistic characters. As you can see in the above page, that is powerful imagery and he uses such imagery on page after page after page.
He’s one of the few artists out there who really earns the term “inimitable.”