The Best Comic Artists Working

NOTE: Now, before we go any further know this – it’s my opinion. Art is possibly the most subjective form of expression out there, so please don’t bitch if you don’t see your favourite artist on here. Instead, point him/her out so I can check their work out and we can both enjoy it.

Comic books seem to get more attention for their writers nowadays, a stark contrast to the yesteryear’s when Jack Kirby and George Perez owned the collective geek consciousness. Now it’s all about the mega writers – Johns, Bendis, Kirkman, etc. Sure, artists are acknowledged, but comics are a writer-based industry now. Well, let’s get back to honouring the artists who make comics a reality.

Seeing that there are sooooo many artists working right now, I had to lay down some ground rules myself:

  • Be a working professional in a print media.
  • Works on interiors. No exclusively cover artists!
  • Be a part of at least a relatively popular series.

All that said, there were still a shit ton of artists floating around out there. So instead of using any objective reasoning (hah! Like that was ever possible), here’s my personal Fave Five, to blatantly steal a slogan.

I think there's something in his eyes.

I think there's something in his eyes.

5. Ryan Ottley

If you aren’t reading Invincible, 1) Why the hell not? and 2) start reading it – Now!

Ottley, who took over Invincible from issue 8 onwards, has catapulted the series through the roof visually. It just seems to get better and more outrageous every fucking issue. He keeps finding more gruesome and hilarious (am I a bad person?) ways to show gore and evisceration, all the while keeping it in the context of the Invincible universe.

Beyond the great details, he just draws figures with a fluidity that is rarely matched elsewhere. There’s rarely any stiff, mannequin-like posing here. Best part of all of this? Invincible comes out on time month in and month out!

wolvie_70_lucybutler_dcp_022

Gotta admit, this has been one fucked up arc.

4. Steve McNiven

Representing Canada is the outrageously detailed work of Steve McNiven. This man brings cover work level artistry to the interiors, and its a sight to behold. Things just look as if they should. When people die, they look dead. Just look at poor Jubilee’s eyes. Most other artists don’t go that extra mile.

Of course, with insane detail also comes insane delays, and his current series – Wolverine with Mark Millar – feels as if it takes a decade in between each issue. But when you get stuff like this, it almost doesn’t matter. Almost.

Hurry the hell up!

I'd hit 'er. Y'know, if she weren't a drawing.

I'd hit 'er. Y'know, if she weren't a drawing.

3. Olivier Coipel

Coipel may not put the most detail into his work. His fighting may not be the most fluid. But y’know something he has that very few others possess? The gift of scope.

With Thor, he’s brought both skill and sheer enormity to the story. He realizes Asgard in a scale so awesome that it makes you feel like the place exists and is currently floating somewhere above Oklahoma. If you live in Oklahoma, could you please check for me?

On top of his talent, Thor also happens to be one of the best written comics on the market.

Supes should really lay off the Cinnabons

Supes should really lay off the Cinnabons

2. Frank Quitely

Probably the most unconventional artist on this list. On first glance, Quitely’s work just seems…odd. Things seem to clump together wrong. Anatomy seems a tad bit outrageous. Lines seem to go just slightly askew from where you expected lines to be drawn.

Well, guess what? That’s called being fucking original and Quitely does it quite well (hah, that was a near pun that wasn’t!). His stuff is, above all else, just fun to look at. And while you have fun looking at his work, you realize just how much painstaking effort must of been exerted to get things just right. Definitely check out All-Star Superman to see Quitely shine.

And #1 is…

1. Greg Land!

.

..

….

…..

Nah, I’m just fucking with you. Land’s a tracing piece of shit hack. The real number one is:

I wish I could grieve this cool. One day.

I wish I could grieve this cool. One day.

1. Gary Frank

Probably the most ‘traditional’ artist of the group, Frank’s work hearkens back to a purer form of comic book artistry. No extra frills of overstyle. No bouts of minimalism. Franks just knows how to draw comics and he does it damn well.

There’s almost no overindulgence here.

First with Supreme Power and now with various Superman works, he has set himself up to arguably be the greatest Man of Steel artist of all time.  He absolutely nails the iconic timelessness of superior artists of the past while still feeling absolutely modern.

Well, that’s my personal list. I know I’ve left out a bunch of fan favourites like Alex Ross, Mark Buckingham, Andy Kubert and John Romita Jr, amongst others, I believe these five stand tall as the best working interior artists right now.

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One Response to The Best Comic Artists Working

  1. Hectorcles says:

    Great list. I don’t read Invincible but I guess I should…everyone who’s anyone does. My personal fav list isn’t exactly a list of the BEST artists out there but they have the styles I like the best. Your list is much closer to the actual “best” list out there. With the exception of Ottley and Quietly (who I think is more of an aquired taste) I think Frank, Coipel and McNiven specifically deserve to be on every top list.

    My favourites tend to drift away from realism and more cartoony stuff with less lines, exaggerated muscles and overly sexy women (can that even happen?). They include Jim Lee, Ed McGuiness, Carlos Pacheco, Ivan Reis and Leinil Yu. Anything Jim Lee I just love. Ed was a huge inspiration on my personal drawing style aswell as Pacheco. Ivan is a recent fav that just made the list and Leinil Yu I’ve been a fan of since Superman Birthright. His Secret Invasion was fucking spectacular. I admit much of what I hated about comics in the 90’s was spearheaded by Jim Lee (along with Leifeld….shudder) but his actual style is just badass. Honourable mentions for myself are: Jae Lee, Stefano Caselli and Dustin Nguyen. Basically my fav artists are the ones who inspire me the most.

    One thing I think shouldn’t matter in THIS case because the pencils should stand on their own but inkers and colourist play a HUGE part, a HUUUUUGE part on the art. A bad inker will fuck TONS of shit up. Colourists like Alex Sinclair or Frank D’Armata will make ANYTHING 100x better. Kudos to all of the inkers and colourists.

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