Top Five Comic-Book Artists

BY SAM

This is it; this is my list of comic-book artists who have inspired me to do what I do. So without further ado, let’s countdown my top five comic-book artists of all time.

5) Steve McNiven
 
Steve McNiven’s run on Marvel’s Civil War has so many wonderfully crafted panels. A lot of which are very iconic now. Almost every panel in Civil War is memorable. The events leading up to Spider-Man going public with his identity is forever engraved in my brain. McNiven captures just the right moment for every panel leading up to Peter Parker taking his mask off. My favorite panel in particular is when J. Jonah Jameson faints after finding out Spider-Man’s secret identity. Who can also forget that image of Cap blocking Tony’s repulsor blasts with his shield in close proximity.
mcniven-civil-war
 
His run on Old Man Logan, Nemesis, and Guardians of the Galaxy are also pure eye candy. He’s got a fun drawing style, with a lot of energy and boldness to it.

mcniven-old-man-logan
4) Adi Granov
No one draws Iron Man as good as Adi Granov in this day and age. In fact I would argue that it was really him who made Iron Man look modern and cool. I was exposed to Granov’s work with Iron Man: Extremis. Right then and there I knew that from now on, every other Iron Man iteration, at least visually would be inspired by Granov’s work. With Warren Ellis driving the story, and Granov illustrating it, they both revitalized Iron Man’s popularity.

granov-extremis
He is also responsible for the way Iron Man looks in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We only have him to thank for making Iron Man look as cool as he does now. Realism is present in Granov’s body of work, but he brings his own tasteful flare into his drawing style. Flipping through his artwork is always fun to go through.

granov-iron-man-2008
3) Bryan Hitch
The work Bryan Hitch displays is as if you’re watching a movie. The reason why it feels so cinematic is due to the fact that a lot of detail and effort is put into Hitch’s work. Within these detailed frames, it’s not hard to believe that giant spaceships are invading Earth in The Ultimates, or that Giant-Man is walking through the streets of New York. There are epic establishing shots of locations such as New York with real landmarks scattered around. It makes you as the reader feel like you’re involved.

hitch-giant-man
His work on The Ultimates with writer Mark Millar really captured what it would be like if The Avengers were put in a real world setting, with real human responses. It took something that should be repetitive by putting a new spin on it through its storytelling and through Hitch’s immersive artwork.

hitch-ultimates
2) Alex Ross
Like Bryan Hitch, Alex Ross makes superheroes feel real. The difference is Alex Ross paints his work. I like to compare Alex Ross to Norman Rockwell. His depiction of classic superheroes and villains brings a lot of life to them because they look so real. As opposed from feeling like you’re watching a movie from Hitch’s work, for Ross, it’s almost as if you’re present, witnessing everything that is happening from panel to panel.

ross-kingdom-come
In his impressive body of work, any Ross fan is a fan of his work in DC’s Kingdom Come and Marvel’s Marvels. Because of the amount of time it takes to paint, he is primarily a cover artist. Whatever realistic Ross painting that’s on any particular comic can peak anyone’s interest to pick up that comic and read it, simply because of how realistic and gorgeous Ross paints his heroes and villains.

ross-avengers-copy
1) Jack Kirby
There’s a reason why Jack Kirby is nicknamed “King Kirby” or “King of Comics.” He is widely regarded as one of comics most innovative and influential artists. Characters, genres, stories, and design, all flowed through his creative juices.
His dynamic composition served the narrative he was trying to display, and often times it looks and feels very cinematic. The sheer force of Thor’s hammer, or Cap’s shield or, Hulk’s punches is felt with explosiveness in a single panel. The Kirby bubbles are still something you see in comics nowadays whenever energy blasts or cosmic explosions are involved. He pretty much set the standard of comic-book story telling.

kirby-2

In an era where comics were frowned upon and a brutal industry with low-paying rates, one would think any normal artist with energy and imagination would get those qualities beaten out of them, but not Kirby. He flourished and outshined everyone. He managed to be prolific while dealing with numerous setbacks and creator rights. Kirby was often only given loose plot ideas or outlines, which he was then expected to flesh out into a full comic. The heavy lifting that Kirby did is evident on anything he worked on.

kirby-1

It’s no wonder why he’s emerged as the figurehead of the medium that made billions off his work. His collaboration with Joe Simon put him on the map with Captain America. He and Stan Lee would eventually become a powerhouse for Marvel Comics creating characters like the X-Men, Fantastic 4, Avengers, etc. Rock n’ roll has its king in Elvis, pop music has its king in Michael Jackson, comic-books have its king in Jack Kirby.
Well there you have it, my top five comic-book artists whom I look up to, and of course I was going to write up a longer summary for Jack Kirby. Duh.

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