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Month of Avengers/X-Men Top Fives – Top Five Artists Who Have Penciled the Most Issues of X-Men

All month-long we’ll be featuring top five lists about either the Avengers or the X-Men. Here is an archive of all the past top five lists!

We did one of these for the Avengers, so today we’ll look at the top five artists who have penciled the most issues of X-Men (for this list, I’m accepting pencilers who only did layouts and/or breakdowns). Since there have been SO many X-Books over the years, I’m specifically limiting this list to artists who have penciled the majority of an issue of one of the following series: Uncanny X-Men (Vols. 1, 2 and now 3), X-Men (Vols. 1, 2 and now 3), Astonishing X-Men, X-Treme X-Men, All-New X-Men, New X-Men (the Morrison issues), Wolverine and the X-Men and Annuals (plus the Age of Apocalypse issues) of all of those previous books (essentially whatever the “core” X-Men books were at any given moment).


What I like about lists like these is that I personally have no idea who is going to “win” before I sit down to count. So it’s a surprise for everyone involved who gets the top spots!


Just missing the list were Joe Madureira, Werner Roth, Greg Land, Dave Cockrum, Alan Davis and John Byrne (who would be second on the list if I counted X-Men: The Hidden Years).

5. Marc Silvestri

Silvestri sneaks on to the list courtesy of his four-issue stint finishing off Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run. Silvestri had a surprisingly large amount of issues in his initial run. Roughly 30 or so.

4. Andy Kubert

Andy Kubert, meanwhile, put in a significant run on X-Men after Jim Lee left in the early 1990s. Oddly enough, he has yet to return to the titles.


3. John Romita Jr.

John Romita Jr. had two stints on Uncanny X-Men. One in the mid 1980s and then one in the early 1990s.

2. Chris Bachalo

Chris Bachalo has yet to have a really long run on any X-Men title, but he makes up for it by having lots and lots of short runs. He had two separate stints on the first volume of Uncanny X-Men, he did an arc of Morrison’s New X-Men, he had one stint on the first volume of X-Men and he launched both Wolverine and the X-Men and now the current volume of Uncanny X-Men.

1. Salvador Larroca

Larroca, though, is more than 20 issues ahead of his closest competitor. He had a decent-sized run on Uncanny X-Men during Chris Claremont’s return to the series in 2000. He then followed that up with an extended run on X-Men with Chuck Austen and then Peter Milligan. Then he did over twenty issues of X-Treme X-Men with Claremont once again. Plus a few fill-in issues here and there. He is currently doing an X-related title (Cable and X-Force), so it would not be surprising to see him return to extend his lead as the artist who has penciled the most X-Men issues ever (digital coloring has obviously been a major boon to Larroca’s durability).


I’m not as familiar with the post-90s issues, so I forgot Bachalo and Salvador, and kind of was hoping to see Byrne and Cockrum in there.

It’s striking how many artists had really short runs, yet made such an impact on the title (Neal Adams, Paul Smith, Frank Quitely, and of course Jack Kirby…)

Just guessing I would have thought Andy Kubert would be in there. Didn’t he do one or two Claremont issues towards the end?

Salvador Larocca is a pleasant surprise. An underrated artist. It might not be fair that X-treme X-men counts, by Byrne’s the Hidden Years doesn’t count. However, I totally agree.

Just guessing I would have thought Andy Kubert would be in there.

Me, too. ;)

Unless you meant Adam, in which case he surprisingly didn’t do a whole lot of Uncanny/X-Men issues. He did a lot of Ultimate X-Men issues, though.

What are the numbers on these? We have Silverstri doing “30 or so” but nothing specific on the rest. I’m surprised that the X-Men don’t have a long-standing staple artist like many other books do (i.e., Kirby’s 100 issues of Fantastic Four, Bagley’s 100+ on Ultimate Spider-Man, etc.).

I don’t like specific numbers. Leads to too much analness. “46? I count 45!”

Ballpark figure is low 40s on Silvestri/Kubert, high 40s on JRjr, low 50s on Bachalo and mid 70s on Larroca (Byrne is mid-30s without Hidden Years/high-50s with).

Strangely, even though it’s blatantly called “X-Men,” I never truly considered X-Treme a “true” X-Men book for some reason, but more like a satellite X-book like X-Factor or X-Statix. So I was surprised that it was on the list.

Andy Kubert, meanwhile, put in a significant run on X-Men after Jim Lee left in the early 1990s. Oddly enough, he has yet to return to the titles.

Hasn’t be been tied up in an exclusive DC contract for maybe 10 years or so now? Or has that expired?

Well, that is surprising. I would never have thought that Sal Larroca would be number one. But to be fair, I haven’t been reading the X-Books for the past few years (though I am picking up Wood’s X-Men).

All good artists though.

I don’t like specific numbers. Leads to too much analness. “46? I count 45!”

In a feature about who has drawn the most issues this is probably a bad policy.

This is a much stranger list than the Avengers one. If you had asked me to list five X-Men artists, then the ONLY one of these artists that I would’ve come up with is Marc Silvestri. John Byrne, Dave Cockrum and Jim Lee would’ve gone one through three in about a heart beat. Then, I’d have gone Jack Kirby. The fifth slot would’ve been a toss-up between Barry Windsor-Smith, Neal Adams, Art Adams and Silvestri.

It is odd that so many artists made such a strong impression on relatively short runs, while others made effectively no impression on much longer runs.

Silvestri is not exactly my favorite sequential story-teller, but he certainly had a big impact on the look of the X-Men. He has added several indelible images to my vision of the X-Men, including the amazing covers to UXM 234, 236 and 251. He “owns” Havoc and Polaris for me. He is a great Wolverine artist as well.

I like Andy Kubert as an artist, but I hated his tenure on X-Men. It seemed as though Marvel was using him as a way to extend the Jim Lee era by other means. Kubert did a decent Lee impression, but he is too strong an artist to be wasted on a pastiche of another guy.

John Romita, Jr. is the reigning Mr. Marvel, but was an awkward fit on the X-Men for me. Coming from the Paul Smith era, I was used to a much prettier look for the Merry Mutants. JRjr draws everything like it is dirty. He is an amazing fit for titles, like Spidey or Daredevil. However, I like my X-Men to look cool and futuristic. JRjr doesn’t really do that, although he is a very strong Wolverine artist. His major contributions to the look & feel of the X-Men are almost all Wolverine related.

I refuse to accept Chris Bachalo was not the Jack Kirby of the Vertigo label. The only acceptable mainstream superhero work for Bachalo is Dr. Strange or MAYBE The Flash. These X-Men comics obviously never happened.

Salvador Larroca is like JRjr in that he is more a general “Marvel guy” than an “X-Men guy” for me. His style is a better fit than JRjr, but I can’t really call to mind anything that he has really added.

Wow, I never would’ve guessed Larroca was the most prolific X-Men artist. Then again, around 2004 he did pencil 4 issues of X-Men a month (2 for Uncanny, 2 for New X-Men when they were both bi-weekly, I can’t recall how long he did this for, though).

Again, I never would’ve assumed he would make this list since his work isn’t very spectacular to me and I tend to remember guys like Byrne or Andy Kubert who are more dynamic. But Larocca, to me, is like Vince Coletta in the 60’s and 70’s – Both were dependable and could produce a ton of work, but the end result might not be as spectacular or polished as a guy who is able to spend more time on it.

(Coletta is an extreme example, though, who was known for inking entire books with very short deadlines. I’ve heard that he inked an entire book overnight and never once missed a deadline)

Bachalo is completely wasted on Uncanny right now. Wolverine and the X-Men was far better suited to his style. But what I’d really kill to see is him on X-Men Legacy.

pretty sure the only ones that count are from Claremont’s original run on Uncanny X-men (just being facetious of course. well only sorta). So the list should be (without looking anything up):

HM: Rick Leonardi, Paul Smith
5. Jim Lee
4. John Byrne
3. Dave Cockrum
2. JRJr
1. Marc Silvestri

i probably liked Silvestri’s run the best. followed by Lee, Byrne and Smith all pretty closely bunched together. Neither Cockrum nor Romita ever did it for me. BWS and Alan Davis both did some spectacular fill in issues, and Art Adams was the king of the Annuals. Loved those Adams XL summer editions.

If you go by JUST Uncanny, then it’d go JRjr/Silvestri/Byrne/Cockrum/Roth.

Wow! I never realized that Larocca draw so many issues!
I completely dislike his style, but whatever.
Great list and thank you!

@brian – cool thanks!

what about just the Claremont Uncanny run? Does JRJr fall behind Silvestri? Does Jim Lee make the final 5? sorry for getting greedy :)

Larroca, huh? Not in a million years would I have guessed that

Larroca surprised me too. He’s just such a vanilla artist that while I can’t really fault him, I don’t think I’ve ever praised him either.

I assumed Cockrum pencilled at least 40 if not 50 issues between his two stints, but I guess I was wrong.

If you go by JUST Uncanny, then it’d go JRjr/Silvestri/Byrne/Cockrum/Roth.

Ha! I knew it! I call shenanigans!

I assumed Cockrum pencilled at least 40 if not 50 issues between his two stints, but I guess I was wrong.

Dave Cockrum was such a crucial, defining artist for the X-Men series, so it makes sense that he left such an impression on a lot of readers, myself included. The unfortunate thing about Cockrum was that, as amazing an artist as he was, he was not the fastest guy in the biz. There are a few fill-in issues during both of his runs on Uncanny. At a rough estimate, he penciled between 28 and 30 issues in total.

Bachelo can catch up! I like that very much

Whoa, I was damn sure that Cockrum would be on this list.

And I knew that Bachalo would rank high, but never did I think he’d pencilled about 50 issues! I do think he’s the unsung quintessential X-artist of the post Jim Lee period. He’s done more X-title #1s than anyone (X-Men Unlimited #1, Generation X #1, Generation Next #1, Wolverine & The X-Men #1, Uncanny X-Men (vol. 3) #1).

I loved JRJR’s ’80s run on Uncanny X-Men. His art was in an interesting transition phase then and I really thought it fit the tone of the book very well.

As far as Larocca being #1 . . . I never read any X-Treme X-Men, aside from issue #1, which I have fought hard to wipe from my memory . . . so I didn’t see that one coming. But Larocca also did a 5-issue arc with Brubaker on Uncanny, which I enjoyed very much.

Larroca used to be great in the 90’s (Ghost Rider, Fantastic Four…) but the last thing he drew that I really liked was X-Treme X-Men.

Andy Kubert really should return to Marvel and do another run on an X-book; he’s done so little at DC it makes me wonder why he’s even there…

Why is Colossus wearing literally nothing but his underwear on that Silvestri cover? (still a great image, though)

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