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Top 25 Female Comic Book Artists #15-11

by  in Comic News Comment
Top 25 Female Comic Book Artists #15-11

The countdown continues!

Here are the next five artists that you voted as your favorites of all-time. Click here for the master list of all of the creators listed so far.

15. Marie Severin

Marie Severin broke into the world of comics when she was barely 20 years old (she might actually have been a couple months shy of her 20th birthday) when her older brother, the late, great comic book artist John Severin, needed a colorist for a story he was doing for EC Comics. Her work was so good that she soon became the official colorist for EC Comics.

When EC Comics folded after the creation of the Comics Code, Severin moved over (along with her brother) to Timely/Atlas Comics, which is now Marvel Comics. She did coloring work and production work. When business dried up, she left comics entirely for a time and plied her trade as a graphic designer for a bank. When business picked up again in the late 1950s, Marvel hired her back and she worked in production for most of the 1960s for Marvel. Towards the end of the decade, she began doing penciling work. She also eventually became Marvel’s main colorist, although she gave that gig up when she wanted to take on more freelance penciling assignments.

Her most famous work (and I believe the work that she is the most proud of during her career) was a stint as the regular artist on Incredible Hulk. She was actually the artist on the book when the Hulk got his own book (after Tales to Astonish was renamed Incredible HulK). She drew the first fight between the Hulk and Black Bolt in the Hulk’s very first annual (the one with the iconic Steranko cover)…

Like her brother, John, Marie was excellent when it came to likenesses. She would often be called in to draw the faces of celebrities when they would make cameos in comics, like this bit from Fantastic Four Annual #12 where she drew the faces of the Gong Show panelists in an issue otherwise penciled by Bob Hall…

Severin was also a brilliant caricaturist, and she worked for many years for Marvel’s various attempts at Mad Magazine take-offs (Not Brand Echh, Spoof and Crazy)…

While working freelance at Marvel, she designed Spider-Woman’s first costume…

One of her last mainstream works was on a Batman parody in Black and White #2 (written by Ty Templeton)…

Severin retired about ten years ago. She suffered a stroke in 2007, but I believe she recovered fairly well. The always awesome Scott Edelman (along with his his equally awesome wife, Irene Vartanoff) wrote about having lunch with Severin back in 2013 and she seemed well.

14. Kate Beaton

Easily one of the most popular webcomic artists of all time, Canadian writer and artist Kate Beaton’s webcomic Hark! A Vagrant took the world by storm with her funny, original, and sometimes subversive takes on everything from history and literary classics to superheroes. With a degree in history and anthropology from Mount Allison, Beaton’s first Hark! A Vagrant strips back in 2007 were very focused on her own humorous take on historical events but over time her work has blossomed to include many other subjects including “younger self” stories and biting social commentaries, though history is never too far from Beaton’s mind.

Known for her simple black and white drawings that focus on facial expressions, Beaton gets amazing mileage out of her pared back style, creating whole worlds of meaning in just a character’s face. Her pacing is also top notch, whether she manages to deliver a fully formed idea in as little as 3 panels or as a longer running gag. Beaton runs the gamut not just in genres that she tackles but in intention as well, as her comics range from fun one-off jokes about poop to hilarious biting commentaries like her comics about “Straw Feminists” and “Strong Female Characters” (the latter of which she c0-created with cartoonists Meredith Gran and Carly Monardo).

Hark! A Vagrant struck a real chord with readers and by 2009 she was self-publishing her first volume – Never Learn Anything From History – a collection of her comics from 2007 to 2009 and a book that earned her the 2009 Doug Wright Award for Best Emerging Talent.

In 2011 Drawn & Quarterly collected Beaton’s favorite Hark! A Vagrant stories plus some additional content and the volume quickly became a NY Times Best Seller and was featured in Time Magazine as one of the Top 10 Books of the Year (2011). Beaton also won a slew of awards for her work around this time — an Ignatz and Harvey in 2011 and three more Harveys again in 2012. Beaton has had two cartoons published in The New Yorker and contributed several hilarious stories to Marvel’s Strange Tales II. She has a third volume of Hark! A Vagrant due out this year (Step Aside, Pops!) as well as an all-new comic following the adventures of her famous “Fat Pony” – a volume called Princess and The Pony, which is also due out this year.

Here’s a selection of some of the variety you can get from Beaton in her strips – political, literary, and just plain random fun:

She also occasionally does “auto-bio” comics that feature her talking to her younger self:

And then here are some of her Hark! A Vagrant superhero comics:

And one of her short stories from Marvel’s Strange Tales II:

13. Annie Wu

An illustrator that studied at The Maryland Institute College of Art and Design, Annie Wu worked for major clients like Wired, Entertainment Weekly, and Coca-Cola, and on storyboards for the highly acclaimed much beloved The Venture Bros on Adult Swim, before grabbing attention of comic fans everywhere in 2013 with fantastic issues of Batman Beyond (Batman Beyond: Batgirl Beyond). Wu’s work included co-creating a new Batgirl (Nissa) for Neo-Gotham and also focused on Commissioner Barbara Gordon. Wu’s spare, high-energy style with its slightly loose and edgy line has helped distinguish her from the pack. With smart storytelling, a clean uncluttered look to her art, and the ability to make her stories feel alternately frenetic or static as the pace demands, Wu was a huge hit and before long found herself in high-demand.

Wu cemented her status as the new artist watch (and hire) doing the Kate Bishop “L.A. Woman” issues for Matt Fraction and David Aja’s critically acclaimed Hawkeye (Wu’s work collected as Hawkeye, Vol 3: L.A. Woman). Her work on Hawkeye has marked her as one of the biggest rising stars in comics where her high energy, high style, high attitude visuals and a reputation for kinetic artwork that has a grounded and emotionally gutting punch to it was right at home. Wu has also contributed work to The Thought Bubble Anthology, Justice League, House of Mystery, and the star studded Young Avengers #14.

Wu’s next project, launching the high-profile Black Canary solo series with writer Brendan Fletcher this June is already promising in the first Wu Black Canary promo image is rough and tumble, sexy, take no prisoners, and primed with energy all at once.

An action sequence that then effortlessly turns into an emotional confrontation from Hawkeye #16:

And a quieter scene where Wu relies on facial expressions and her excellent design sensibilities to handle a classic P.I. scene from Hawkeye #20:

And one of the early Batman Beyond panels that helped put Wu on the map. Simply impossible not to smile at the execution here:

And finally, that gorgeous Black Canary promo image:

Go to the next page for #12-11!

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