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CSBG Archive

50 Greatest Spider-Man Creators: Artists #20-16

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…

Enjoy!

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.”

21 Comments

Plus, Bachalo loves snow. Always with the snow …

Has Bachalo ever done Batman? Because he really should if he hasn’t.

Dan: He drew an issue of Legends of the Dark Knight (#64), written by Jamie Delano. If I recall correctly, Batman often appears just in shadows and such, but it’s a pretty cool story.

Is there snow?

Pete Woodhouse

May 25, 2012 at 8:08 am

I preferred the Mike Deodato in #25-21’s list; this #20-16 Deodato Clone is soooo Ben Reilly.

Dan: You know what, I think there is! I’ll have to go into the garage and dig it out. Brian probably knows without even looking it up!

Ed (A Different One)

May 25, 2012 at 8:25 am

I like pretty much eveyone on this segment of the list (especially Immonem), but just don’t think of them as being in the “pantheon” of Spider-Man artists for some reason. In fact, I had completely forgotten that Immonem was a regular artist on ASM for a while. Probably had to do with the era he was pencilling the title in. So many of the “later” artists on ASM will get overlooked, I think, just because what was going on in the title was for forgettable then. But, yeah, there were some real talented guys drawing the web-slinger nonetheless.

I want to like Bachalo more than I do. He’s definitely interesting and distinctive. Sometimes downright genius. However, there are just too many times I come across panels of his where I really just can’t tell what the hell is going on. And I don’t consider myself a novice comics reader. Imagine what that would do to a new comer to a title. Maybe that’s just a necessary evil that goes hand-in-hand with his distinctive style but it’s a problem I just can’t get past.

Bachalo also did a Black and White back-up. The Legends of the Dark Knight story was old school Bachalo. The Black and White story is current style Bachalo. Here’s a glimpse…

I thought about voting for Chris Bachalo, but even if you count Sinister Spider-Man (the Venom miniseries with Brian Reed), he hasn’t drawn very much. Also, he’s a guy who will draw whatever he thinks looks cool, which is always great on the illustration level, but sometimes the story suffers. You’ll often find the key line of dialogue tucked away in a corner panel beneath a double page spread of punching and random confetti. He’s kind of bad about letting his writers shine.

Like Ed (the other one), a lot of these are artists I like who I simply dont think of as “Spider-Man artists” because they haven’t “done their time,” so to speak; being a hired gun for a couple issues or a storyline doesn’t even put you on my radar for the purposes of this list.

Buckingham is the only one from my list in this segment. Bachalo was one of my favorite artists early on (and there’s a lot of similarity between him and his then-common inker, Buckingham), but his style underwent a pretty radical change somewhere in the middle of Generation X and through his Steampunk series, and it’s been awfully messy and unclear ever since. Still rather dynamic, though.

What issues of Amazing Spider-Man did Immonen do?

What issues of Amazing Spider-Man did Immonen do?

Typo. It was meant to read “Ultimate Spider-Man.”

Chris N hates Deodato Jr’s artwork, and I’m not a huge fan of his bulky/ripped Spider-Man, but he does have a mastery of body language and shadowy storytelling, which was a perfect fit for Sins Past and all it’s melodramatic dark revelations. Yeah, I said it. The Avengers story he did with JMS were really good, too. Also, he draws THE BEST GREEN GOBLIN EVER in Thunderbolts. The BEST.

I vastly prefer Paolo Rivera’s pencils for comics then the painting. He’s drew a few really fun stories with Zeb Wells, and he was the only good thing about OMIT. I wanna see him draw Spidey again, but I actually don’t want him to ever leave Waid’s DD.

Never was a fan of Buckingham. Meh.

I agree with everything you said about Immomen. The man is a chameleon with his art styles throughout the years, but he’s always dynamic, kinetic, and fluid. He’s incredibly talented.

Bachalo hasn’t drawn a lot, but the issues he did look amazing, as expected. The Hammerhead 2-parter from Joe Kelly was a favorite, but SHED by Wells is one of my favorite Spidey stories of the decade. Chris does a lot of fun storytelling that hammers home to the emotional beats or how outmatched Spider-Man is against this new and improved Lizard.

Darn, I was hoping there was some Immonen Spider-Man out there I had missed. Bummer. : )

Bachalo!!!! The 1st first artist from my list to make it. I had reservations about including him. Out of everyone on my list(artist and writer) he had done the lowest amount of spidey material…but damn what he did in Amazing still sticks in my mind today. I would love to see him draw some more spidey or any solo book for that matter. It seems he is usually drawing team books.

Not a fan of this set of artists at all. Especially Deodato and Immomen. Never liked either. Oh well, to each their own. Get them out of the way now for the better artists.

“I want to like Bachalo more than I do. He’s definitely interesting and distinctive. Sometimes downright genius. However, there are just too many times I come across panels of his where I really just can’t tell what the hell is going on.”

Normally I agree with you. The reason I was one of those who voted for Bachalo was that in his Spider-Man work, he didn’t really have that problem like he does in the X-Men books with dozens of characters on every page. It was just amazing to look at, without being confusing like a lot of his non-Spider-Man work.

Ed (A Different One)

May 29, 2012 at 7:37 am

@ Mory Buckman:

“Normally I agree with you. The reason I was one of those who voted for Bachalo was that in his Spider-Man work, he didn’t really have that problem like he does in the X-Men books with dozens of characters on every page. It was just amazing to look at, without being confusing like a lot of his non-Spider-Man work.”

Actually I’m not familiar with Bachalo’s X-Men work (I’m just now getting familiar with how he handles those characters via his current assignment on W&TXM). No, where he lost me was with his work on ASM. And, unfortunately, it was on a couple of story arcs he otherwise did amazing things on – the Hammerhead story arc (where he did those cool ass bookend covers) and the SHED story arc. There was some absolutely amazing stuff in both. However, there were series’ of panels in both (usually the fight scenes) where I just couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on. I’m still trying to decipher the move that Spidey used to beat Hammerhead (when he dislocated his hip or something).

Like I said though, there was some serious cool ass stuff in both though. I’m really torn about him. However, if he was even more confusing in his earlier X-Men work, maybe his ASM work is clearer by comparison . ? . ? . ? . ?

Mark Buckingham´s art had this beautiful Ditko style going on… With a character like Spiderman and sooooooooo many artists working with it, it´s great to see him on this list. One of the best, no doubt, but just for real sensible readers…

animalvegtablemineralman

June 3, 2012 at 7:29 am

Bachelo also did that arc in adjectivless X-Men “team-up” where he drew Spidey and an impressive version of the recent status quo of the Lizard

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