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Top 50 Comic Book Artists #25-21

by  in Comic News Comment

Here are the next five artists that you voted as your favorites of all-time based on over one thousand ballots cast! Click here to see the writers #25-21 on the countdown. Click here to see a master list of all artists listed so far.

NOTE: I’m featuring five notable works per creator.

25 David Mazzucchelli – 438 points (5 first place votes)

David Mazzucchelli’s first major comic book assignment was as the regular artist on Daredevil throughout most of Denny O’Neil’s stint on the book. Mazzucchelli was a good artist at the time, but he grew and grew the longer he stayed on the book. This development was furthered when Frank Miller returned to the title as part of the epic “Born Again” storyline…


Mazzucchelli then went to DC to draw the acclaimed Batman Year One storyline with Miller…


Now pretty much at the top of the superhero field, Mazzucchelli chose to do independent work from here on out, experimenting in his style on his own self-published comic…


as well as a brilliant adaptation of Paul Auster’s City of Glass (co-written/adapted with Paul Karasik)…


He spent a number of years working on a epic graphic novel. It was released last year, titled Asterios Polyp, and it was perhaps the most acclaimed comic of 2009.


He’s currently hard at work on his follow-up to Asterios Polyp.

Here is a sample page by Mazzucchelli…


24 Walter Simonson – 449 points (7 first place votes)

Walter Simonson’s first major comic book assignment was the Manhunter back-up series in the back of Detective Comics, with writer Archie Goodwin (here is a collection of those strips)…


Simonson soon began working on a number of different comic projects. His next most notable assignment was a stint as the regular artist on Thor (note how his work is still very much in the Kirby-style)…


After working on a variety of projects over the next few years, Simonson’s career dramatically changed when he took over Thor as writer/artist…


His acclaimed and popular time on Thor solidified him as one of the top writer/artists in the industry. He followed that up with a run on Fantastic Four as writer/artist…


as well as an acclaimed Orion series…


Now more than 30 years into his career, Simonson remains an extremely popular and “in demand” comic book artist.

Here is a sample page by Simonson…


23 Jim Steranko – 467 points (5 first place votes)

Looking back, it is intriguing how quickly Jim Steranko was not only drawing the Nick Fury serial in Strange Tales, but was also writing it!!


His acclaimed run on the character eventually led to Fury getting his own title…


Sadly, Steranko was not able to handle the increased output (going from a half-comic serial to a full comic feature was too much for him), so his run on Fury is short (but brilliant).

That highlights most of Steranko’s work, including a short stint on X-Men (where he created their iconic logo)…


and a stand-out “run” on Captain America (just three issues, but wow, what a three issues!!)


Steranko later returned during the 1970s to provide a number of outstanding covers for Marvel…


Here is a sample page by Steranko…


22 Brian Bolland – 489 points (9 first place votes)

Brian Bolland first came to fame working on 2000 A.D. on the Judge Dredd series (here’s Bolland on the Judge Dredd reprint series)…


He was soon hired to work for DC Comics. He collaborated with Mike Barr on the acclaimed maxi-series, Camelot 3000…


After that series finished, Bolland did a few different short stories here and there for DC Comics and then produced what is most likely his most famous work, the prestige format Batman story, The Killing Joke, written by Alan Moore…


Since the Killing Joke, Bolland has not really done any extensive interior projects, choosing instead to use his wonderful artwork as a regular cover artist for different titles, including long stints on Animal Man…


and Wonder Woman…


Here is a sample page by Bolland…


21 Bill Sienkiewicz – 493 points (10 first place votes)

When Bill Sienkiewicz nailed the gig as the regular Fantastic Four artist, he drew very much in the tradiitional Neal Adams-y superhero style…


It was not until he began working on the Moon Knight series with writer Doug Moench that Sienkiewicz began to really experiment with his style…


By the time he began an acclaimed stint on New Mutants with writer Chris Claremont, Sienkiewicz had established a new expressionistic style where he would dabble in all sorts of mixed media.


This was particularly evident in his work with Frank Miller, including Elektra: Assassin…


and Sienkiewicz’s independent work, Stray Toasters (as well as his short-lived Big Numbers series with Alan Moore)…


Since the 1990s, Sienkiewicz has continued to work in comics (either on covers or occasionally inking various artists, including artists as disparate as Sal Buscema, Tom Derenick and Mike Norton), but he has also done a wide variety of design work outside the world of comics (album covers, DVD covers, etc.).

Here is a sample page by Sienkiewicz…


Reader Mike Loughlin explained why he voted for Sienkiewicz:

The realism of Neal Adams and messy psychedelica of Ralph Steadman have almost nothing in common. How Bill Sienkiewicz was able to take from each and come up with a startling, unmistakable art style I’ll never know. After doing solid, grounded work on Moon Knight, it seems Sienkiewicz decided he was done with regular comic book art. He started pushing. His ink lines became more jagged. His figures grew distorted. He incorporated collage, photographs, and other non-standardized techniques (crayon drawings, no less!) into super-hero narrative. His painted covers grew delightfully abstract, and I can’t imagine any reader not being disappointed to find someone’s else’s art inside.
One character, Warlock from New Mutants, didn’t have a coherent form. Sienkiewicz painted the most impossibly massive Kingpin to date, but made him look small when pining for his wife. He co-created comics’ most legendary unfinished work, and drowned out Frank Miller in his own comic. RZA, Roger Waters, Bruce Cockburn, and EPMD have utilized his services, and he was the perfect artist to draw the life of Jimi Hendrix. Innovative and influential, Sienkiewicz brought expressionism to American comics, and is among the greatest abstract artist to grace the medium.

Reader Sandy explained why he voted for Sienkiewicz:

It takes a great artist to be so good at his craft that I appreciate a style that I normally dislike. Sienkwicz has a scratchy, sketchy style that few artists are able to pull off. He’s able to portray emotion, and creates incredible mood and tension. His frenetic style is perfect for really psychological stories. His panel layout is also always amazing. He ends up at number three on my list because I find his style limited to certain types of stories.