In honor of the seventy-fifth anniversary of Batman, we’re doing four straight months of polls having to do with Batman, culminating with the official celebration of Batman’s anniversary at the end of July. The last installment will deal with Batman stories, but this month will be about Batman’s writers and artists (40 artists and 35 writers).
You all voted, now here are the results! Here is a master list of all the writers and artists featured so far. We continue with Batman artists #40-31.
NOTE: Don’t be a jerk about creators in the comments section. If you are not a fan of a particular creator, that’s fine, but be respectful about it. No insulting creators or otherwise being a jerk about creators. Specifically, no “Creator X better not be in the top ten!” or variations of that idea (“Creator X better not be ahead of Creator Y,” etc.) I’ll be deleting any comments like that and, depending on how jerky the comment was, banning commenters.
NOTE #2: I made a transcription error, so as it turns out, Bob Brown did not actually make the Top 40. I’ll leave him here as an honorable mention.
Bob Brown is probably the most underrated of all of the main Batman artists from the late 1960s and early 1970s – one of the greatest periods in Batman history, art-wise (story-wise, too, now that I mention it). Brown actually ALMOST made the list while one of the other artists from this period, Frank Robbins, did not come close but I still think Brown is more underrated since Robbins is well known for his work outside of comic books (and Robbins was also a successful Batman writer, as well – you’ll be seeing him on the Top Writers list). Brown was a bit of a journeyman artist and he passed away in the late 1970s before fandom became as significant as it is today. It is a shame as he was an excellent artist, he just had the bad luck of not being Neal Adams, Irv Novick or Jim Aparo at a time when all three of those other guys were killing it on the Bat titles. If it were not for him being constantly compared to those guys, I think he would be a lot more appreciated. Check out his work…
40. Mike Parobeck
Mike Parobeck was taken from us far too young at the age of 30 in 1996 due to complications from his diabetes. In just his young life, though, he made a significant contribution to the Batman mythos with his work with the Batman Adventures comic book series based on the Animated Series of the era. His clean, fluid lines belied the real depth of his work. Check out the pathos of this page, where Batman is suffering from an artificially-inflicted amnesia regarding his painful past as Batman….
39. Matt Wagner
After an excellent Legends of the Dark Knight story in the early 1990s, Matt Wagner would return to the character in the 21st century for a pair of striking mini-series set during Batman’s early days, Batman and the Monster Men and Batman and the Mad Monk. Wagner’s design sense is remarkable. He lays out a page better than 90% of the artists out there.
38. Lew Schwartz
The first of Bob Kane’s official ghost pencilers, Lew Schwartz drew the book under Kane’s name for roughly seven years from the late 1940s through the early 1950s. Schwartz’s bold lines were a great mixture with the Batman comics of the late 1940s, which were still very much in the vein of the crime stories that were so popular at the time. Here’s what is likely his most famous work, a spotlight on Catwoman…
37. Darwyn Cooke
Darwyn Cooke actually worked on the Batman Animated Series and the Superman Animated Series as a storyboard artist before he made his big re-introduction into the world of comics (as he had tried to break into comics in the mid-80s) with 2000’s Batman: Ego, a stunning graphic novel where Batman comes into conflict with his own ego…
Cooke has gone on to become one of the most acclaimed comic book artists working in the business. Batman was featured heavily in a little bit of Cooke’s classic New Frontier series and Cooke did a great re-working of a classic Batman story in his Solo issue. Otherwise, Cooke’s biggest contribution to the Bat-Universe has been his re-design of Catwoman, as well as working as the initial artist on Ed Brubaker’s great Catwoman series.
36. Dave McKean
Besides an appearance of Batman in Black Orchid #2, Dave McKean has only drawn Batman in a comic book story once. However, that one time was the blockbuster graphic novel, Arkham Asylum, so people have grown used to his impressive painted work and associate it with Batman a lot…
35. Klaus Janson
Klaus Janson was the inker on the legendary Dark Knight Returns series with writer/artist Frank Miller, but he also did some amazing work as a penciler, like a classic Detective Comics Legends tie-in and, most famously, Grant Morrison’s Gothic story. Check out first Batman scaring some punks…
and later, a Janson spotlight sequence where Batman frees himself from an elaborate trap…
Janson is a dynamic artist with a strong page vision.
34. David Finch
David Finch is one of DC Comics’ most popular artists this side of Jim Lee. He brought his detailed lines and his bold style to Batman: The Dark Knight, a series he wrote AND drew….
33. Mike Mignola
One of the most popular artists in the entire comic book industry, Mike Mignola is most connected to Batman through his Gotham by Gaslight series (Batman in the time of Jack the Ripper) that introduced the concept of Elseworlds to the DC Universe. However, he did other work with the character, like this impressive bit from Legends of the Dark Knight #54….
His dark, evocative style works perfectly for Batman.
32. José Luis García-López
Jose Luis Garcias-Lopez made his way to DC Comics during the mid-1970s. His clear, dynamic artwork soon made him one of DC’s most prominent artists.
By the end of the decade, Garcia-Lopez had become so popular that DC more or less adopted his work as their official licensing artwork for DC characters. Garcia-Lopez had that role for the next few decades, so Garcia-Lopez’s Batman is well-known to millions of fans who never even read a Batman comic book since Garcia-Lopez’s Batman was THE Batman for licensed products for decades. Heck, I have a set of coasters a friend got me for Christmas and the Batman on the coaster is clearly Garcia-Lopez’s Batman.
31. Chris Burnham
Just to show you how nuts Chris Burnham is, I’m going to show you a snippet from his FIRST issue of Batman Incorporated, when he was just a fill-in artist. His work got a lot better than this and it was already awesome to start. Eventually when they rebooted Batman Incorporated, they did so so that Morrison and Burnham could finish the entire run together. That’s quite a testament to how awesome of an artist Burnham is – Grant Morrison went out of his way to want to work with just him for the close of his epic Batman run. Burnham even started writing Batman comics!
Anyhow, here is a bit from Batman Incorporated #4, where Burnham shows a new side to the shared history between Batman and the original Batwoman…
The dynamism! The personality he shows in each characters! The homages! The change in style to suit the panel! Chris Burnham is spectacular. I only wish we got a longer run from him and Morrison, but I suppose I should just be grateful we got as many as we DID get!
Come back tomorrow for the next five writers on the countdown!