Sunday, 23 September 2018

Your favourite artists for your favourite heroes.

How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, Stan Lee, John Buscema
Pictures. Without them, where would comics be?

Probably in the Literature section of your local library and taken far more seriously by intellectuals.

However, those intellectuals would be wrong. It's the pictures that make comics great and it's artists who make the pictures great.

Therefore, we must all, at some point, address the issue of who our favourite artist is on each of our favourite strips and, in the absence of any better ideas for a post right now, that's exactly what I'm about to do.

Spider-Man. Ross Andru. For me, he was the perfect middle ground between the styles of John Romita and Gil Kane.

The Fantastic Four. In my youth, it was John Buscema but, now that I'm older, I can properly appreciate the work of Jolly Jack Kirby and put him at Number One.

Thor. Jack Kirby again. Who else could so perfectly capture the glory and grandeur of Asgard? Or the stupidity of Odin?

Dr Strange. I love Steve Ditko's work but, for me, there's nothing quite like the magic of Genial Gene Colan.

The Hulk. Happy Herb Trimpe. Not the most fluid of artists but just about every issue of the strip that he drew was great.

Iron Man. Dashing Don Heck, in his early stint. He gave Shellhead roller skates. What more could you demand of a man?

The X-Men. Dave Cockrum.

The Avengers. John Buscema, although Neal Adams did have a great, if short, run.

The Silver Surfer. John Buscema.

Daredevil. John Romita. He wasn't there for long but his simple style felt perfect for such a low-key strip, and his romance comic background made him the ideal man for the interminable Matt/Foggy/Karen love triangle that Stan was so keen on.

Captain America. Gene Colan.

Conan. It's a tough choice between Barry Smith and John Buscema but I'll go for Big John, if only for the sheer quantity of exemplary work he produced.

The Sub-Mariner. John Buscema. A strip perfectly suited to his elegant figure work and dynamic layouts.

Superman. I think the only artists I ever saw draw Superman with any regularity were Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger. As Schaffenberger's man of steel was slightly more cartoony, I shall go for Curt Swan.

Batman. Jim Aparo. I know a lot of people prefer Neal Adams but I prefer Aparo's more rough-hewn look.

Supergirl. Jim Mooney. No matter how weird and perverted her stories got, Gentleman Jim managed to make them not look weird and perverted. In light of what was going on in some of those tales, that was a serious achievement.

Wonder Woman. I think that all the stories I ever read were drawn by Don Heck, well after his peak and, therefore, I have to leave this vacancy unfilled.

The Justice League of America. Dick Dillin because he's the only artist I ever saw drawing them.

The Legion of Super-Heroes. Dave Cockrum. He reinvented them just as brilliantly as he later reinvented the X-Men.

Aquaman. I think the only artist I ever saw draw him was Mike Grell, so I'd better go for him.

The Green Lantern. Gil Kane.

Anyway, those are my nominations. Feel free to voice your own opinions on your favourite artists for your favourite heroes, should you feel any need to.


dangermash said...

A good set of nominations there Steve but I’d take Romita Snr ahead of Andru all day long.

And I don’t see The Invaders on the list of strips. I guess you didn’t want to start a riot.

Vexillia said...

The Flash - Carmine Infantino
Spiderman - Steve Ditko
Daredevil - Gene Colan

Steve W. said...

Dangermash, I think it's obvious who my choice for the Invaders would be.

Mostly because he's the only one I ever saw draw them.

Vexillia, I too am an admirer of Infantino's work on the Flash.

Killdumpster said...


TC said...

Most of my choices are obviously influenced by nostalgia. You could make a case that Marshall Rogers or Neal Adams was better on Batman, or that Doug Wildey was better than Manning, or that Gene Colan was as good as Jack Kirby and better than Don Heck on Captain America and Iron Man, respectively. But these are my favorites for "my" versions of the characters:

Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Fantastic Four, Mister Miracle - Kirby

Iron Man, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Rose & Thorn - Heck

Daredevil - Colan

Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Captain Atom, Blue Beetle - Ditko

Hawkman - Murphy Anderson

Plastic Man - Winslow Mortimer

Justice League, Inferior Five - Mike Sekowski

Atom, Green Lantern - Gil Kane

Avengers - Buscema (either John or Sal)

Conan - John Buscema

Batman, the Flash, Elongated Man, Adam Strange - Infantino

Flash Gordon, Secret Agent X-9, Star Wars - Al Williamson

The Phantom, The Spectre - Jim Aparo

The Shadow - Eduardo Barreto

Aquaman - Nick Cardy

Metamorpho - Ramona Fradon

Green Arrow, Warlord, Starslayer, Jon Sable - Mike Grell

Tarzan, Korak - Russ Manning

Shazam/Captain Marvel - Don Newton

Haunted Tank - Sam Glanzman

The Losers - John Severin

Invaders, All-Star Squadron, Captain Mar-Vell, Ms. Marvel - who cares.

Anonymous said...

Daredevil and Batman - David Mazzucchelli (albeit not many issues)
Wonder woman - Brian Bolland or Jaime Hernandez (sadly only one or two images)
The Hulk - Steranko (with a Marie Severin head)

I can't help but feel I'm going for images rather than stories.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Too corkin’ funny! Thank goodness for WW 2! It gave us the Invaders... and lots of conversation 75 and 40 years later respectively!

Anonymous said...

The Hulk-Kirby.
There was something primal about Kirby's art that fit the character he co-created. Sometimes, being rushed by the sheer amount of stuff he was putting out, it was sloppy, but always compelling.
After him, Sal Buscema was the best Hulk artist, although Herb Trimpe was great too.
Thor-John Buscema, hands down. same with Conan.
The Defenders-Keith Giffen! With inks by Klaus Janson.
Spider-man-John Romita.
I agree with DW that Davis Mazzucchelli was nothing short of brilliant. His stuff was understated, sparse, and yet incredibly powerful. Kinda like a great crime noir movie.


TC said...

I should have also mentioned Curt Swan for Superman and the Legion of Super Heroes.

Anonymous said...

Some pretty good choices there Steve, although its somewhat surprising to see you go for Jim Mooney over Art Saaf on Supergirl ( discussing Supergirl under one of your Sunday posts... that takes me back!)
Disagree on Green Lantern - Neal Adams was clearly superior - but these things are subjective of course, and the more proficient work isn't necessarily the best. Otherwise John Severin really would have done the most memorable Losers stories and not Jack Kirby.

More generally, you could maybe have given some thought to inkers; like, I'd go with you on Buscema over Smith for Conan provided we're talking about his work with the mighty Alfredo Alcala. And Herb Trimpe really needed John Severin to be in the running for the Hulk. Or anything, actually.

Got to agree with DW on Brian Bolland's Wonder Woman and Mazzuccheli's Daredevil; or, for both, the brilliant Gene Colan, who was definitive for pretty much any character he worked on.
Tempting to mention the mighty Wally Wood there for DD too, simply to include him; but many of the best comic artists - from Alex Nino to Frank Bellamy and assorted French dudes - didn't do superhero-type work and wouldn't get a shout in this conversation at all...


Anonymous said...

Not that anyone asked, but my favorite Sub-mariner artist was also Kirby. He drew him as either being savagely violent or standing with regal arrogance and coiled menace.
Whether he was punching out Iron Man (who in my opinion had it coming), duking it out with the Hulk, hassling Eskimos, or simply enjoying being an utter bastard, Kirby captured the character perfectly.


Steve W. said...

Sean,. I was seriously tempted to go for Art Saaf on Supergirl but Gentleman Jim just edged it for me.

MP, TC, Charlie, DW, Dangermash, KD, Vexillia and Sean, thanks for your comments. It's interesting to see what other people think - and to hear about David Mazzucchelli, a man whose work I hadn't previously been aware of.

TC said...

And I should have said Jim Mooney for Supergirl. AFAIR, though, everything I ever read with Supergirl in it was by Mooney (the back-up strip in Action Comics) or by Swan (the Legion series in Adventure Comics).

Redartz said...

Fascinating subject, Steve, and an intriguing list. I'd guess most of us would choose artists that correspond to our early reading.

Many great mentions, I agree with Sean and DW about Brian Bolland. Also, here's a second to M.P. for naming Giffen on Defenders. I would add Giffen and Larry Mahlstaedt on the Legion.

My other picks:
Romita Sr. On Spider-man
John Byrne on X-Men, and Fantastic Four (in a dead heat with Kirby).
George Perez on Avengers and Justice League
Curt Swan on Superman
Neal Adams on Batman
Frank Brunner on Dr. Strange
Mike Ploog on any 'monster' book
Joe Kubert on any war book

And for anything they worked on, high praises for Doug Wildey, Bruce Timm, Will Eisner, Carl Barks and Darwyn Cooke.

Killdumpster said...

Bill Everett. I loved the issues he did before he died.

Marie Severin. She was able to give Hulk that tortured "Frankenstein" look.

Cap & DD:
Gene Colan

FF & Thor:
The King!

All monster books, except Tomb of Dracula (natch):
Mike Ploog

Spider-Man, Ghost Rider and any needed fill in:

Errr... Uhhhh... Gurrgle... Ehhhh...

Steve W. said...

Hi, Redartz, thanks for the list. I think I too would go for Giffen on the Defenders.

KD, force yourself to say Frank Robbins. You know you want to...

Killdumpster said...

Brain... Hemorrhaging... Body... Contorting... In... Impossible...angles... Arrrgh!.... Joints...dislocating...twitching.. No! No! PLEASE GOD HELP ME!!!!

Killdumpster said...

Ploog did a great Ghost Rider. I truly missed Trimpe on Hulk when John Buesema's less talented brother took over the reins. John did great Thor, Avengers & FF. I gotta give Conan to Barry Smith tho.

So hard. Really Steve? So many great artists in the 60's & 70's. Iconic Masters. You really almost have to have a top 5 for each character. My choices were just off the top of my head at the moment.

Captain Marvel & Warlock:
Jim Starlin

X-Men (early, original):
Neal Adams

Bernie Wrightson


Boring Wallpaper at Grandma's House:
Don Heck

Repetitious Designs On Paper Towel Rolls:
Sal Buesema

My Little Sister's Kindergarten Drawings on the Refrigerator:
Don Perlin

And I won't! And I won't! And I won't!
(mentally stomping up & down like a schizophrenic, bi-polar 5 year child with psychopathic tendancies.) EVER let that man's name leave my lips, nor will I let my fingers type it less they burst into bloody flames.

Wow. Guess I got THAT out off my system.

"Steve Does Therapy" lol!!

Killdumpster said...


Was it Giffen art that was involved in the Defenders when Egghead attacked them with Rhino, Solarr & Cobalt Man? That was a great issue. I'm not sure if it was the same artist that did the Scorpio Key storyline or the atomic Russian that made Red Guardian his nuclear girlfriend. I loved the art, and need to re-read that stuff.

Killdumpster said...

The Defenders REALLY needed something new then. I've seen more diverse art on kiddie cartoon bandages that I put on my nieces & nephews than I saw in Hulk & Defenders during "Salivating Sal's" stint.

Killdumpster said...

I don't know if they ever called him that, but it sure did sound like a Stan-esque nickname, didn't it. Yeah, a half-talent cranking out a 1/2 dozen main titles for Marvel each month. I'd be droolling all the way to the bank also.

Killdumpster said...

Sal just sucked. He was the reason I jumped Marvel ship and started reading Doom Patrol.

Anonymous said...

Kirby shoulda drew the Invaders. he did do some nice covers for it.
But maybe he'd had his fill of W.W. 2. I mean, having been actually been in it, getting frostbite and shot at and so forth. It's understandable if he was annoyed by the experience.
And yeah, Mike Ploog was great. Nice work on Man-Thing. Mooney too.


Killdumpster said...

There is no way any of you guys can convince me that Sal was anymore than less than mediocre. That's being polite. Maybe if Steranko drew over his lay_ups & Buckler (a great artist in my opinion) inked, his crap MIGHT be worth even looking at.

I know some of you really like him, but he is nowhere near a Marvel "great".

If they dumped him, I bet DC wouldn't touch him with HUNDREDTH foot pole. Their artistic standards were higher.

Anyone just out of art school can pump out pages of mean face close-ups , vague explosive battles ,standard poses , with little to no background in the panels whatsoever. I would open up my pile of books I bought & saw he was still doing one, and read the title done by "He Who You Know" before any of his stuff.

Killdumpster said...


I'll give you Mooney. I always enjoyed his stuff.

Killdumpster said...

Kirby or Kane. For some reason I thought the books would be good, even when I knew what the art was inside. Like PT Barnum said "There's a sucker born every minute." Or was that WC Fields? Man, I'm getting old

Killdumpster said...

Think WC Fields said "Never give a sucker an even break".

Anonymous said...

Not much of a Sal fan myself, but to be fair at least he could draw a comic without using swipes, which is more than I can say for Buckler.
Even Keith Giffen only nicked Kirby's style and not his actual drawings.


Killdumpster said...

Well, my take on Buckler was he filled a need for traditional Kirby-esque Marvel comics that kids like me, who grew up with Jack's art, craved. I do see your point, though.

Killdumpster said...

Like Steve observed, Sal probably relied on inkers to embellish his pencils. I believe maybe too much.

No. There is no "maybe" about it.

Like I've said before, it was like he had templates, or maybe traced his own artwork over & over.

Killdumpster said...

I swear, Steve.

You are the master at opening worm cans. Lol.

Always a lot of fun. Cheers!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I am not a robot!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Gosh I could not get posted for days and it was killing me! And I missed this great question!

Killdumpster said...

I wondered where you were.

Steve W. said...

It's never too late to voice an opinion, Charlie.

Anonymous said...

How can we be sure Charlie isn't a robot?


Dave S said...

Spider-Man - John Romita Sr
Fantastic Four -John Byrne
Thor - Walt Simonson
Dr Strange - Steve Ditko
Hulk - Sal Buscema
Iron Man - Mark Bright
X-Men - John Byrne
Avengers - John Buscema with Tom Palmer inking
Silver Surfer - John Buscema
Daredevil - Frank Miller inked by Klaus Janson
Captain America - Gene Colan
Nick Fury - Jim Steranko
Conan - John Buscema
Sub-Mariner - John Buscema (closely followed by Marie Severin and Gene Colan)
Superman - Curt Swan (pre-Crisis), Dan Jurgens (post-Crisis)
Batman - Jim Aparo
Supergirl - Jim Mooney
Wonder Woman -George Perez
JLA - George Perez
Shazam -Jerry Ordway
Legion - Keith Giffen
Aquaman - Ramona Fradon
Green Lantern - Dave Gibbons

Steve W. said...

Sean, I don't care if he is a robot. This is the site that fights for robot rights.

Dave, thanks for that list. It's nice to see a few previously unmentioned artists getting your vote.

Dave S said...

I think a couple of my choices might have been a little unexpected - Mark Bright, I've always felt, is really underrated. A great storyteller who really made Iron Man look solid and powerful.

Keith Giffen's art doesnt always appeal to me, but his mid-80s work on Legion (with Larry Mahlstedt inking) is really great.

Dan Jurgens just seems to capture the spirit of Superman.

Don't know if it shows, but I'm a big John Buscema fan.

Killdumpster said...

Like I've stated before, I wish we could list our favorite top 5, or at least 3, artists per character. John Buscema would be in virtually every one of my groups.

So many legends, with different styles that emphasized different aspects of our favourite heroes.

Just like the story were Dracula went after a grade-z actor that portrayed him in films. He talked about how Lugosi, Carradine, Lee, etc represented various parts of his personality.

Artists are equally responsible for how a character is shaped as writers are.

Charlie Horse 47 said...


Killdumpster said...

Do a "Dr. Smith" and pull out the power pack. Lol!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Quick! While my robot overlord is away and I can access a functioning PC b/c my phone won't blog... LOL.

I'll just focus on Captain America b/c, being a late-silver / early-bronze dude, my artists, on my fav strips at Marvel, were all the original big guns: Buscema, Colan, Kane, Kirby, Steranko, Tuska.

So, regarding Cap, imagine going from Kirby to Steranko to Colan to Romita to Sal B. Who could pick one over the other? How would I decide? Some of Kirby's art like Cap 108 is to me his best-ever art. How do you compare that to a totally different sytle like Steranko or Colan or Romita. I can't...

And frankly, at DC, I did not buy anything unless it was Adams, Aparo, or Kirby (Hail Kirby's "THE LOSERS!" Sean is spot on about that!) regardless of the comic title. So the art was a prerequisite.


Killdumpster said...

Hokey smokes, Bullwinkle!

I have half a mind to go into the 'Burgh and talk to Carnegie-Mellon University (they're big on robotics) and see if they can hook ol' Charlie up concerning his robot problem.

If not that, maybe create a time machine so we can go back to the early 80's. We'll buy a big sack of quaaludes to calm that man's ass down! Lol!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Danger! Danger! I am not a robot!

BUT Killdumpster is a robot! Warning! Warning!


Killdumpster said...


Mike Davies said...

Sorry for the late comment, Steve. I agree with most of yours but would go with John Romita for Spidey; Gene Colan for DD; and Sal Buscema for Cap. Can't comment on DC as I necer read any!

Steve W. said...

Hi, Mike, thanks for your suggestions. Don't worry about being late. Better late than never.

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