Top Comic Artists 38-35

The countdown continues! Here are the next four comic artists you’ve voted as your all-time favorites (out of approximately 1,023 ballots cast, with 10 points for first place votes, 9 points for second place votes, etc.).


38. Stuart Immonen – 264 points (3 first place votes)

Probably one of the reasons why Stuart Immonen has become such an incredibly eclectic artist is the fact that he grew up with a particularly eclectic range of comics as his influences. In an interview with Sequential Tart around 2000, Immonen noted as particular influences, “Stan Drake’s work on The Heart of Juliet Jones daily strip and his Kelly Green graphic novels. Andrew Loomis and his contemporaries, Pruett Carter, John Whitcombe. AL Williamson, Wally Wood, Alex Raymond, Herge, Alex Toth, John Byrne, Bill Siekewicz, Katsuhiro Otomo, Masamune Shirow, Jerry Ordway, Rodolfo Damaggio.” As you might imagine, they’re all over the place in terms of styles and approaches, but I think a key quality that’s present in all of these artists’ work is also something that’s always been a hallmark of Immonen’s comic art, which has been a strong sense of storytelling. Immonen has always been a guy who lays out a story with beautifully consistent sequences.

Early in his comics career, Immonen had a bit more of a classic superhero style, a style that was still evolving quite a bit from his time on Legion of Super Heroes

until the end of his stay on Superman titles (where he eventually became a writer and artist on the series)…

What has always impressed me most about Immonen is his constant development as an artist. Take his classic Nextwave series with Warren Ellis. Immonen adopted more of a cartoon style to his work for this series, but it was a cartoon style that also came with an extreme dedication to precision in the artwork. Like watching the engine of the car explode when it is hit…

Talk about dedication! However, Immonen does not use Nextwave style of all his work, of course. He adapts his style to suit the work he does. When he did Fear itself crossover event for Marvel, he went for a more epic feel to his pencils, and when he did Amazing Spider-Man a few years back with Dan Slott, he had a slightly more traditional take that evoked his excellent run on Ultimate Spider-Man with Brian Michael Bendis. Slott’s last story in particular relied heavily on having an artist who could tackle some intense emotional expressions, and that’s what Immonen is all about.

RELATED: Top Comic Writers 42-39

37. Olivier Coipel – 269 points (2 first place votes)

Olivier Coipel jumped on to the scene with an out-of-the-box approach Legion of Super Heroes during Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s run on Legion. It was a real shock to go from the Jeffrey Moy, Scott Kolins, Lee Moder and Jason Armstrong art style of the previous Legion ran to the more angular Coipel work. Early Coipel was notably sketchy around the edges, but bursting with an energy rarely seen in mainstream comics. It was clear that Coipel was a budding superstar artist, so DC relaunched first Legion with Legion Lost, specifically to spotlight Coipel’s artwork, but then Marvel swooped in and recruited Coipel away. By this time, Coipel had smoothed his edges to become a bit more of a traditional-looking superhero artist, while retaining the kinetic energy that had been his trademark when he started out.

His first Marvel work was a stint at Avengers with Geoff Johns, where he quickly showed how powerful his work can be. The concept is that a deadly virus has been released in Mount Rushmore and the Avengers show up with the US military…

A husband and wife bravely try to save their son. The man dies and the wife drives away while the son covers his face with a cloth. She succumbs to the chemicals and her son seems to be nearing death, even when someone appears…

It practically jumps off the page.

Marvel quickly realized that the best way to use someone like Coipel was for special projects. Coipel drew the first major Marvel enterprise-wide crossover in years, The house of M, with writer Brian Michael Bendis. Bendis and Coipel later reunited for the crossover event, Siege. In between these two crossovers, Coipel had a highly praised effort Thor with J. Michael Straczynski. In the years since, Marvel often used Coipel for both miniseries (as The unworthy Thor), events (Avengers vs. X-Men) and special launches for series and events (he used to launch Spider-Verse for the Spider-Man titles and to launch Brian Wood’s all-female X but series in 2013).

Most recently, he launched the creator-owned series, The magical orderwith writer Mark Millar, and has been busy doing a number of covers for Marvel and DC.

36 Will Eisner – 277 points (3 first place votes)

The great thing about Will Eisner is that he made stories every week for years. I’ve already focused on how that approach led to him trying a lot of experimental stories (gotta keep things fresh, after all), but I’m almost more impressed with how good his art was at the same time he had to come with separate stories each week. Eisner was one of the first comic artists to master the art of noir, something that was becoming very popular in the films of the time – hard-boiled stories characterized by heavy use of shadows. Here’s a 1949 Eisner story about a guy hired to kill the Ghost…

That’s some exquisite storytelling and striking use of shadows from Eisner – this was on a whole other level than most comic artists at the time.

RELATED: Top Comic Artists 42-39

35. David Mazzucchelli – 281 points (4 first place votes)

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of David Mazzucchelli’s illustrious career as a comic book artist is the way he CONTROLLED the page. He almost made his pages work like a movie, that’s how good he was at controlling how you saw the page.

Watch the famous sequence from “Born Again” in daredevil where we see Nuke attacking Hell’s Kitchen and forcing Matt Murdock to become Daredevil again to stop him…

See what I mean about how he controls your vision in a way unlike most artists? Mazzuccelli’s layouts control the viewers’ field of vision in a way that they are not even consciously aware of. He did similar work on Batman: Year One, which is one of the most cinematic comics you’ll ever see.

And of course, Mazzucchelli did not stop at the brilliance of Year One and Born Again. No sir, he has developed his artwork as you can see from his award winning graphic novel, Asterios Polyp, where he brilliantly used color and light to tell the story, as where we get to see “mansplaining” illustrated…

Such great work and it’s cool to see the drastically different styles, he’s brilliant at both styles!

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