75 Greatest Batman Writers and Artists: Artists #5-1
In honor of the seventy-fifth anniversary of Batman, we’re doing four straight months of polls having to do with Batman, culminating with the official celebration of Batman’s anniversary at the end of July. The last installment will deal with Batman stories, but this month will be about Batman’s writers and artists (40 artists and 35 writers).
You all voted, now here are the results! Here is a master list of all the writers and artists featured so far. We conclude with Batman artists #5-1…
NOTE: Don’t be a jerk about creators in the comments section. If you are not a fan of a particular creator, that’s fine, but be respectful about it. No insulting creators or otherwise being a jerk about creators. Specifically, no “Creator X better not be in the top ten!” or variations of that idea (“Creator X better not be ahead of Creator Y,” etc.) I’ll be deleting any comments like that and, depending on how jerky the comment was, banning commenters.
5. Norm Breyfogle
Norm Breyfogle had only been working as a professional comic book artist for a couple of years when he got his first crack at Batman, drawing a story in the 1987 Batman Annual. He also drew a fill-in issue of Detective Comics that year. In 1988, he did another story in the 1988 Batman Annual but also took over as the regular artist on Detective Comics with #582. The following issue, Alan Grant and John Wagner became the writers for the series and that began a long stint with Breyfogle and Grant working together.
Breyfogle drew Batman steadily from 1988 until he left DC in 1993. As he was one of the regular artists on the Bat-books when the Tim Burton Batman films came out, to a massive influx of readers Breyfogle was “their” Batman artist.
His work is known for the way that he depicts action – his characters are always fluid, constantly in motion. His swinging scenes are legendary. In addition, he often uses shadow to great effect. Finally, his facial expressions are incredible – few artists can draw a Batman quite as shocked as Norm Breyfogle’s Batman!
While he did not design Tim Drake’s new Robin costume, Breyfogle was the first artist to draw it and he made it look awesome.
All of the above attributes of Breyfogle’s work (including his Robin) are on display in this sequence from Batman #465…
Recently, Breyfogle returned to the Bat-universe, of sorts, to draw the Batman Beyond digital comic book series for a while.
4. Jim Lee
Well before he ever drew a single Batman comic book, Jim Lee was already one of the most popular comic book artists in the entire comic book industry. Heck, he probably is literally THE most popular comic book artist that there is. He had done a few Batman short stories for Batman Black and White, but when the news broke that he was going to draw Batman for a YEAR? It was one of the biggest comic book events in years. Writer Jeph Loeb knew he had a wonderful opportunity to have Jim Lee draw pretty much every major Batman character that there was, so Loeb used the storyline Hush to do just that – each issue was a spotlight on a different major Batman character, from villains to heroes to whatever Catwoman is. During the storyline, Lee also used a new approach where he would sort of take a watercolors approach to flashbacks. It was quite striking. Here, in Batman #614, Batman struggles with whether he should finally just kill the Joker – see how Lee depicts Batman’s flashbacks…
After Hush, Lee had another stint on a “regular” Batman comic book series, drawing All Star Batman and Robin with writer Frank Miller. Lee fell behind on the series and seeing as how he has drawn two other series since then (Justice League with Geoff Johns and Superman Unchained with Scott Snyder), it seems as though that series is effectively over now. Lee’s art is still routinely used by DC to promote Batman, though. In fact, a Lee drawing will be on the cover of the San Diego Comic Con souvenir brochure this year to celebrate Batman’s 75th anniversary!
Go to the next page to see #3!