17. Faith Erin Hicks
A Canadian artist and writer that studied animation at Sheridan College (like fellow Canadian and Through The Woods writer/artist Emily Carroll) Faith Erin Hicks worked in animation for a time before heading to comics to seek her fortune, er, follow her passion. Hicks first became known for her long running webcomic Demonology 101 which began in 1999 and has been steadily climbing into peoples hearts and minds ever since.
She published her first graphic novel - Zombies Calling - in 2007 and has gone on to approach comics in an interesting way doing everything from collaborating with writers on graphic novels (like 2010's Brain Camp and 2013's Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong) to continuing her own webcomics work like The Adventures of Superhero Girl (available online for free, printed in a Halifax local paper called The Coast, and also collected into a print volume in 2013) and publishing her 2012 volume Friends with Boys through First Second after first offering it for free on the web.
Hicks gained some notoriety for doing a hilarious Wolverine mini-comic online that was better that a good deal of "real" Wolverine stories (okay, fine, ALL Wolverine stories), even if it was just a jokey short. She contributed not long after that a short comic for Marvel's Girl Comics about Elsa Bloodstone, Tabitha Smith, and sandwiches that was basically to die for. Hicks has won several awards for her vast body of work including an Eisner for The Adventures of Superhero Girl.
Most of Hicks work is black and white and she has a really defined style, instantly recognizable. She excels at pacing and expression work as well as body language and her work typically has both a hilarious sense of humor and a lot of humanity. She can make you awww with adorableness and close to tears moments later all with the flick of her pen.
Hicks has a truly open minded modern approach when it comes to what work she's interested in and the way she's interested in getting it out to readers and that has really paid off (well that and her insane amount of talent of course) as she's currently embarking on her highest profile gig yet, illustrating the first two graphic novels written by Eleanor & Park NY Times Best Selling author Rainbow Rowell.
Here are a couple pages from Hicks excellent Friends With Boys:
And here are a few strips from her Eisner winning The Adventures of Superhero Girl:
And the collected hardback edition of The Adventures of Superhero Girl is actually colored by Cris Peter and looks like this:
16. Stephanie Hans
French illustrator and comic book artist Stephanie Hans is perhaps best known to American comic book fans for her stunning comic book covers for Marvel, Boom, Image, Dark Horse, IDW, and more. She's also an illustrator for book covers (someone that works here is definitely a fan!) but has primarily done work in France for prose covers. Her comics cover work is extensive and in the last few years alone she can be found doing an insane number of Marvel covers from the covers for Kieron Gillen's Journey Into Mystery, to the current Angela: Asgard's Assassin and Storm series.
Over the last few years Hans begun doing more interior work on titles such as the one-shot Avengers Origins: Ant-Man & The Wasp, a standalone issue of Fearless Defenders, and even Inhumanity: Superior Spider-Man #1. However in 2014 Hans began doing sequential work regularly as the interiors co-artist on Marvel's Angela: Asgard's Assassin. Each issue is structured with present day scenes drawn by Phil Jiminez and the flashback sequences illustrated by Hans. Together they make Angela one of the best looking books on stands.
Hans' career is still young and she shows no signs of slowing down, let alone stopping. This is a creator that burst onto the scene with a style and quality that immediately caught publishers' eyes and she has only gotten better with experience and time. Known for her highly painted and realistic style Hans is particularly good with light and color, creating sweeping and epic scenes that instantly feel iconic and important. Though Hans has gotten a name for doing excellent work with female characters her work on Spider-Man proves she can handle just about anything she's given.
Here's some of her sequential work on the latest issue of Angela:
A couple pages from her Superior Spider-Man issue:
And a small sampling of her fantastic covers: