2018 Top 50 Comic Book Artists #3-1

Our every four years countdown of your all-time favorite comic book writers and artists concludes!

Here are the final three artists that you voted as your favorites of all-time (out of roughly 1,008 ballots cast, with 10 points for first place votes, 9 points for second place votes, etc.).

3. John Byrne – 2596 points (51 first place votes)

After beginning his career at Charlton Comics, John Byrne quickly made the move to Marvel and soon was working for Marvel on a variety of comics, including notable stints on Iron Fist and Marvel Team-Up (both with writer Chris Claremont) as well as other titles. His skills as an artist got him bigger and higher profile assignments, including Avengers and the Fantastic Four. Looking back, though, his stint on the X-Men is probably his best remembered run, art-wise. Byrne took over from Dave Cockrum as the series artist and stayed on for over 30 issues, eventually becoming a plotter of the series with writer Chris Claremont.

Byrne's skills as an artist were many, as his best attribute was his storytelling ability (which eventually translated into him just outright plotting the stories himself) but even while being able to tell a story so well, his art was able to be both dynamic AND stand out from a design standpoint. Take the legendary final page from X-Men #132, which blows the reader's mind on all three of those levels (great storytelling, extremely dynamic and a bold, powerful page design)...

After leaving the X-Men, Byrne began writing AND drawing the Fantastic Four, where he experimented with storytelling techniques, like an issue that was told entirely in landscape format!

He also launched Alpha Flight for Marvel (characters Byrne had created for an issue of X-Men). During the mid-80s, Byrne left Marvel to reboot the Superman line of comics for DC.

After a number of issues of Superman (Byrne was writing and drawing two Superman titles for quite awhile), Byrne left the series and returned to Marvel. Since then, Byrne has worked on various projects for both companies. He also worked on independent comics, such as the Next Men.

In the last decade or so, Byrne did a number of projects for IDW, including a lot of Star Trek art, a return of the Next Men and a number of just one-off mini-series (IDW basically gives Byrne freedom to try out new ideas, like a Star Trek series where Byrne told new stories using screen caps of the original series).

Here's a great wordless sequence from the first issue of a miniseries that he did in 2011 about a spy during the cold war (in a comic called, appropriately enough, Cold War), just to point out that Byrne's storytelling continued to be great long after he stopped working for DC and Marvel...

That's some damn fine storytelling right there. It's like a master class in sequential art.

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