It’s Sunday and that can mean only one thing, it’s time for me to run through another Top 5 list of something geeky. Well, ok technically at the time of writing this it’s very early Monday morning but since I have slept yet I’m still counting it as Sunday. Today I’m looking at something that seems to be horribly under-appreciated in comics, art. Specifically, those that create it. It genuinely baffles me how so many comic reviews I read online skip over the art side of the books or just touch on it slightly. Comic books are a visual medium, sure they’re telling a story (or sometimes, just trying to) but the word to art ratio in a comic is usually pretty heavily leaning on the art side. Unless you’re reading an old Frank Miller book. I tell you though, this is going to be a really tough one to put into an order of preference…
Let’s get my favourite artist run started then. Remember, personal preference, yeah? This is not factual in any way, these are just my favourites.
5. Humberto Ramos
Currently on the Spider team of artists, providing some beautiful art to go along with Dan Slott’s masterful story crafting, Ramos has quite a cartoony style which is very pleasing on the eye and suits nice, bright and vibrant colours. His art leaps off the pages, his line work is tight and his characters are all very consistent. From what I’ve seen around the web Ramos is quite a divisive artist within the Spider fandom, for me he’s my favourite Spider-Man artist, I think his style suits a book like Spider-Man that needs the bright colour palette and can sometimes verge on the silly and cartoonish. It’s the nature of Spider-Man, I appreciate all the deadly serious stories that have come in the past don’t worry, but he’s always been an all ages character and I think you need an artist on board that can appeal to all ages. Ramos fits that bill perfectly, an art style that is impressive enough for adults to enjoy but pops out enough for kids to get pulled in. Oh, and his early work on Impulse was absolutely awesome!
4. Stjepan Sejic
Sejic is the powerhouse artist of Top Cow at the moment, working on interiors for multiple titles and doing covers and variants for almost every series that is released through the studio/publisher. He has a very distinctive art style, originated from his computer generated art which allowed him much more freedom to build complex character designs as he didn’t have to redraw every chink in someones armour every panel. These days all his art is digitally drawn and painted, so while the characters may have lost a little bit of detail his art is still beautiful to look at. Since he does his own colouring on top of the initial drawings, the vision he has from the beginning sticks throughout so everything is very consistent. He also has a wonderful knack for absolutely nailing facial expressions, he’s an artist that can pull of a series of panels that have zero dialogue in but you still know exactly what the characters are thinking, it’s a hell of a talent to have and Top Cow will be in a sticky situation if either DC or Marvel offer him enough money to work for them. I for one would love to see him work on a Green Lantern related book, with all the travelling around the universe it would allow Sejic so much wiggle room with new environments and a vast array of species. For a good idea of how good Sejic’s art is, go and look for a book called Ravine, then purchase said book. It’s well worth it.
3. Kenneth Rocafort
My first exposure to Rocafort was once again over at Top Cow, which is somewhat of a launchpad for many of the best artists in the industry right now. The book in question was Madame Mirage, a book not tied into the Top Cow universe which told a really great story but it was the art that fully pulled me in here. Rocafort has a great talent for drawing people, which I know sounds kind of daft, but if we ignore the widely disliked and very recent New Teen Titans cover he’s normally got a good grasp on body proportions and shape, getting curves in all the right places and twists and bends looking very realistic. Not that I necessarily want super realistic art in comics, but it’s good when artist show they understand how the human body works (you listening Liefeld? You bloody should be). His distinctive and stylised artwork has taken him onto quite a few books with DC over the years, many of which I’ve followed him on to because I just can’t get enough.
2. Greg Capullo
The Bat has never looked as good as he does right now, thanks largely to this man right here. Capullo has left his mark on so many books I’ve loved, from Spawn to Haunt and over to Batman with much in between. I can’t over state how much I enjoy Capullo’s art, if it wasn’t for my love of number 1’s art then damn right Capullo would be there. His attention to detail on every single panel is amazing, every issue of Batman has required a second read through to make sure I’ve not missed something going on in the background. Well, mostly that, partly just because I want to look through the beautiful art again. Even if you’re unsure about the direction of the current Batman series (not sure why you would be but some people are very strange, you see) then just grab what you can for Capullo’s art, his work on the overgrown and ruined Gotham in the currently ongoing Zero Year is phenomenal to look at. It’s so good it makes my very eyes feel unworthy for having seen it.
And finally, drum roll if you will…
1. Michael Turner
Another artist I first came across from Top Cow released comics (see the pattern well and truly formed here?) my first experience of Turner art came from Top Cow’s flagship series, Witchblade. His incredibly distinctive art style, sharp and detailed line work and fantastic facial work left me scrambling for more. Michael Turner’s work has been a constant source of enjoyment, and is work that I hunt for the most out of any artist. He’s the one that left the biggest impression on me, the artist that really got me into comics the way I am now and his work resonates through the years in so many other artists work. It’s funny how many of my favourite artists, some of those represented on this list and many that didn’t quite make my top 5 mention Turner as a key inspiration to them. I think this applies to both their style of art and the sheer bloody mindedness of the man. As many will know, Michael Turner was tragically lost back in 2008 to complications with bone cancer at the far too young age of 37, but even going through the illness he did, even with the complications he had to deal with he continued working almost right up to his death. His sheer determination and skill was proven time and again, pulling away from a sccuessful career at Top Cow to land plenty of work with the Big Two while also setting up his own publishing company, Aspen. An artist that will continue to inspire for many years to come I’m sure.
Right, in between stopping for coffees and cigarettes this has taken me near enough two hours, it is now quarter to 2 in the morning and I have work tomorrow, so I better get me some sleep or suffer for it at work. Ok, a fair portion of that was staring at an incredible amount of stunning art, trying to decide what to use in the post, but still I’m tired and going to bed now. I may well have another post for you guys tomorrow or Tuesday, taking a look at some of the cool stuff DC Collectibles has coming out throughout this year. Thanks for taking the time out to check this out, hope everyone had a great weekend and enjoyed something like the simply gorgeous weather we were treated to in the UK. Have a good one!