Artist in comics vol.1

I was asked by someone on the Vine, I now consider a good friend, to do a Overrated and Underrated list of artist.  I was pondering it for a while and really wanted to do it.  The first List got a enough traffic where it was fun to see the approval and disapproval on the list.  With comic artist, a list is harder to do because its not as much apples to apples like writing is.  A writer is a writer, I judged it by stories, style, depth, creativity, contributions to comic and other factors that I felt were universal to writers.  With artist it is different.  Styles change, skill sets differ, exposure plays a higher role, since it is more likely to see an Alex Ross painting over a Kent Williams and both men are masters at their craft.
 
Instead of having a list of random artist and why some are over praised and others not, I think it would be better to break down into more closer groups.  In this case, painters.
 
I will not call Alex Ross overrated because he deserves the acclaim he has been given.  It is a shame that he is the most famous because he focuses more on superheroes.  If he was not Thee Superhero painter he wouldn't be as much of the God he is.  The only negative thing I can say is in early work, especially Marvels,  he depended too much on photo references and certain character's faces just don't look natural. Liberty on Comicvine once pointed out he placed a weird X (Cross of some sort) on Captain Marvel's (Shazam) neck on The Power of Hope cover.  Everyone has growing pains, Alex Ross is unlucky that his growing pains are on famous acclaimed books.  
 
I do realize that most of the names I will have on this list of overlooked artist are Vertigo alumni. This current blog is part of that love-letter to the artistic side of comics that seems to be dying because money overpowers story in this current comic economic. I do understand painted comics cost more and technology is taking over.  This move to technology saddens me because the organic nature of painting is becoming a lost form.  More artist are moving away from working in the styles and methods that help make comics what they are today.  These old fashion practices are being forgotten, when they can only add to the arsenal of skills an artist can bring to a book.   I'll try to keep these names alphabetical so that there is no real rank, just overlooked names.
 

 
"Art" in comics should be Art.  Not just pretty panels that could simply pass as a pretty storyboard.  With the focus on comics being more cost-effective, the talent that comes in painting a comic is being lost.  May of the talents listed above can still find jobs as pencilers or inkers, but that is like telling a chef to go to a chain-food store and cook there.  Comics should strive to be better.  They should want to maximize the talents available.  The major problem with comics today is that the wrong fans control the market.  This is true.  Instead of demanding the best product, the market buys whatever has branded them.  Spider-man is a great example, every month since Brand New Day, I have not heard much positive things about Spider-Man, maybe something like " J. Scott Campbell's cover is so nice" or something as shallow as that. Comic fans at average are caught up in the entertainment of the beast and lose focus on the reason Comics matured.  Comics matured because as a medium it is an art-form like no other.  
 
A challenge to those who I may have offended.  Instead of picking up a Deadpool or Spider-Man or whatever you pick up because of the love of the character, try something against your comfort zone.  Try something out from a guy like Esad Ribic, and really... really look at the art.  "Pictures say a thousand words" and yet in comics most people ignore the messages. 
 
Cheers
- Silkcuts
17 Comments
17 Comments
Posted by Liberty

Great Blog!!!  I loved what you have done here!  Is there a list that can be voted on?

Posted by aztek_the_lost

I admit Dean Ormston's art wasn't my favorite at first but it grew on me, I love it now...I think it was Books of Magick that showed me how awesome his art can be, Eaters helped. I think his artstyle is unique in a good way...love most of the artists you've chosen, some aren't my favorites but not because the art's bad, just not enough of it 
 
I always thought Sandman: Endless Nights was the perfect combination of flawless writing and magnificent art... 
 
As a side note, I'll admit I can't tell the difference between a painter and other types of artists (though Wikipedia says he's a painter) but I just wanted to bring up Danijel Zezelj, his art is unique and bloody fantastic...I love it...Luna Park FTW!

Moderator
Edited by aztek_the_lost

Also, I don't think the Heavy Metal thing counts as a cover run, I love Bisley's Heavy Metal covers, some of my favorites, but they span from 1992-2010...no one does the covers consecutively...of course we've already seen covers #272-274 from him on Hellblazer and I'm sure he'll do more so it may surpass Doom Patrol yet (hopefully)

Moderator
Posted by Amegashita

  But... I like the X on the Shazam: the Power of Hope cover.  =[  As for your list... I'm sorry to say... when I read a comic, I never really look at the artist's name or the writer.  I just read.  Kind of ignorant, I agree but I just don't find focus in it.  Now if  I really like the artist I'll go look at it, but I don't pay attention to it most of the time.  But if I see an Alex Ross cover, I'll instantly know it's him.  If I see an Ed Benes cover I know it's him because he has those cookie cutter heads that really irk me.   
 
  The weird thing is, I love the art in a lot of comics, like the Batwoman run on Detective Comics, I liked JHW3's art, but until I read your review I didn't even know his name.  I think it's because I just don't hear people mentioning him and that plays a part in my knowing of the artists.   
 
  Now, since you mentioned some of these artists, I'll definitely have to go check them out.  And since I don't know them by name, I may know them by art style. 

Posted by Silkcuts
@Liberty said:
" Great Blog!!!  I loved what you have done here!  Is there a list that can be voted on? "
I'll get to work on the list ASAP :D  Thanks for the support again.
 
@aztek the lost said:
" I admit Dean Ormston's art wasn't my favorite at first but it grew on me, I love it now...I think it was Books of Magick that showed me how awesome his art can be, Eaters helped. I think his artstyle is unique in a good way...love most of the artists you've chosen, some aren't my favorites but not because the art's bad, just not enough of it 
 
I always thought Sandman: Endless Nights was the perfect combination of flawless writing and magnificent art... 
 
As a side note, I'll admit I can't tell the difference between a painter and other types of artists (though Wikipedia says he's a painter) but I just wanted to bring up Danijel Zezelj, his art is unique and bloody fantastic...I love it...Luna Park FTW! "

That is what is all about.  Art changes how a comic is told.  Dean Ormston for example, his art looks ugly at a glance, but it grows on you because it is appropriate for the story.  A good artist has an organic style that brings the story to life.  All the best writers, write for the artist strengths.
 
Endless Nights is a great combination indeed.
 
Danijel Zezeli is a painter?  Maybe covers... but I am pretty sure his interiors are pencil/ink.
 
@aztek the lost said:
" Also, I don't think the Heavy Metal thing counts as a cover run, I love Bisley's Heavy Metal covers, some of my favorites, but they span from 1992-2010...no one does the covers consecutively...of course we've already seen covers #272-274 from him on Hellblazer and I'm sure he'll do more so it may surpass Doom Patrol yet (hopefully) "

fair point with the heavy metal, I have seen a a handful, but don't collect them personally.  So my research in that maybe off.  I loved the Doom Patrol covers, but his Hellblazer covers are my favorite thing he has done
 
@Amegashita said:
"

  But... I like the X on the Shazam: the Power of Hope cover.  =[  As for your list... I'm sorry to say... when I read a comic, I never really look at the artist's name or the writer.  I just read.  Kind of ignorant, I agree but I just don't find focus in it.  Now if  I really like the artist I'll go look at it, but I don't pay attention to it most of the time.  But if I see an Alex Ross cover, I'll instantly know it's him.  If I see an Ed Benes cover I know it's him because he has those cookie cutter heads that really irk me.   
 
  The weird thing is, I love the art in a lot of comics, like the Batwoman run on Detective Comics, I liked JHW3's art, but until I read your review I didn't even know his name.  I think it's because I just don't hear people mentioning him and that plays a part in my knowing of the artists.   
 
  Now, since you mentioned some of these artists, I'll definitely have to go check them out.  And since I don't know them by name, I may know them by art style. 

"

Your not alone in overlooking artist.  Artist in comics are like Nurses in hospitals, they do all the work.  The writer is like a Doctor, he takes all the credit.  Personally, I have a lot of respect of the soldiers in the trenches. So the artist I felt deserves highlights.  Only the "Superstar" names you really hear tossed around.  Alex Ross, J. Scott Campbell, Terry Dodson, Adam Hughes and so on.  I am not hating on them, they earned their place.  This Vol. 1 my artists blogs focused on "painters".  Painting is comics is becoming a lost form and I felt it needed attention.
Posted by aztek_the_lost
@Silkcuts: Maybe he's not a painter, Loveless is like the only "modern" Vertigo ongoing I've yet to read so I don't know what his art is there but I'm thinking the style he uses in Luna Park and Northlanders...I thought it was painted but like I said, I can't "see" the difference. 
 

 
Also Duncan Fegredo has some badass painting skills, as his Kid Eternity and Shade the Changing Man cover run showed me.
 
I agree on Hellblazer being better then the Doom Patrol, love both but those Hellblazer ones are just too badass. But this was his most recent Heavy Metal cover...now that's what I call sexy. 
 

But yeah, the most Heavy Metal he's done in a single year is two...however, most of it has been good, I like his 90's stuff for them as well: 
 

Moderator
Posted by Silkcuts
@aztek the lost:   There is a bit of a "paint" style since it is the ink that is brushed to look the way it does.  I personally wouldn't call it painting.  Danijel Zezelj is a brilliant inker, that is for sure.  I want Luna Park, I filpped the advance months before it came out and then the hardcover when it came out.  My problem is I like Hardcovers if I have intention to get them signed and/or sketched in them.  Danijel Zezelj I don't think does Cons in Toronto.
 
One thing is for sure, Biz does sexy women.  I follow his group on facebook... DROOL!!!!
Posted by aztek_the_lost
@Silkcuts: Hmm, okay, great inker it is then...Luna Park is a wonderful graphic novel, I'll admit its one of those rare times where I love the art more then the story but both are good, it's coming out in trade next month, non? 
 
Wait, he has a group on facebook? Hmm, I don't do Facebook but I love his sexy women, too! And his sexy men! 
 

How Can You Not Want to Follow that Love Trail?
Moderator
Posted by Silkcuts
@aztek the lost said:

" @Silkcuts: Hmm, okay, great inker it is then...Luna Park is a wonderful graphic novel, I'll admit its one of those rare times where I love the art more then the story but both are good, it's coming out in trade next month, non? 
 
Wait, he has a group on facebook? Hmm, I don't do Facebook but I love his sexy women, too! And his sexy men! 
 

How Can You Not Want to Follow that Love Trail?
"
  http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/simonbisley?v=photos
Hopefully that link will work without facebook.
 
As for Luna, I will get in in trade for sure.  my main comic store, all the staff read the advance copy and have been raving since.  I was cool with them, but not buddies to let them lend it to me then.  I am glad I borrowed Rat Catcher. 
 
I think you and I are the only fans of that cover.  That issue had the biggest drop in monthlies PM's run had.  I knew this to be true because all the comic shops in Toronto has crazy left overs of this back-issue.  What kills me is the placement of the bottle and.or Cig. Biz is the greatest!
Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir
Posted by Silkcuts
@johnny spam said:
" Bisley, Bolton and Vess never cease to disappoint me.  "
Same :D  I just had to get their names on this because outside Vertigo readers, their names may not mean anything.
 
@Emperor Gonzo Noir said:
" @Silkcuts: Peter Krause and Peter Snejbjerg two good artists that don't get enough recognition "

I loved Peter Krause on the power of Shazam, and Peter Snejbjerg most def is forgotten,  Starman being omnibus may bring more exposure to his hard to pronounce name. I did not mention these two because they didn't fit the category I was going for in this blog.  I need to think hard to mention these guys.  There are many overlooked artist and Snejbjerg has illustrated John Constantine a few times.  Thanks for the suggestions. 
Posted by johnny_spam

My comment reads wrong  what I wanted to type was  

Bisley, Bolton and Vess never disappoint me.

Posted by Silkcuts
@johnny spam said:
" My comment reads wrong  what I wanted to type was  Bisley, Bolton and Vess never disappoint me. "
oops I knew what you mean.  I agree, I love those three.  But only us Vertigo readers really know who they are.  If you ask Sora_thekey, I hope he at least knows Vess.  Biz should be too old for him and Bolton... is a coin toss.
Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir
@Silkcuts: You actually know of Power of Shazam, that bring a smile to my face and I just bought Omnibus 5(came in the mail today, woot) so here's hoping
Posted by Silkcuts
@Emperor Gonzo Noir said:
" @Silkcuts: You actually know of Power of Shazam, that bring a smile to my face and I just bought Omnibus 5(came in the mail today, woot) so here's hoping "
I read it when I was younger.  There was a time when I was not "Vertigo" minded and I loved the superheroes.  I wish I still had some of those old comics, I lost a lot of my old comics because of water damage... long story.  I think I need to hunt a few back issues or a trade or two, would be nice to reread Captain Marvel again.  I need to get on those Omnibus', they are cheaper online so I think I will get them there, just need the cash.
Edited by Pizawle

Another great blog.
 
I adore Bisley's recent interiors on Hellblazer.
 
Have to say though, I do not think it is fair to just condemn all the art in the more mainstream titles. There is plenty of good work being done in many of those books. A book like Captain America: Patriot or Deadpool Pulp for example, where the art is wonderful and fits thematically with the tale being told.

Posted by Silkcuts
@Pizawle said:
" Another great blog.  I adore Bisley's recent interiors on Hellblazer.  Have to say though, I do not think it is fair to just condemn all the art in the more mainstream titles. There is plenty of good work being done in many of those books. A book like Captain America: Patriot or Deadpool Pulp for example, where the art is wonderful and fits thematically with the tale being told. "
Thanks!  Glad you enjoyed the read.  Biz never lets me down.
 
There is a lot of great art in mainstream comics, in general the art seems to be more of a pretty story board then raw emotional art.  Because the core comic readers now are younger, it could be that they just art not taught or maybe just don't care about appreciate the potential in art.  This blog entry focused on the skill of painting and how at average it is overlooked. I am glad that guys like Dustin Nguyen and Jill Thompson are huge names right now and they can both pencil and create wonderful watercolor art.  Not to pick on Marvel, but JRJR maybe their cornerstone artist, but he is very limited to what he can truly do and I am also not the only one who will say his art seems to be getting lazy.  People will still buy books his name is on because its "cool".  Art should have life to it and not all the big names in the business have that heart.  There are also books like you mentioned such as Patriot and the art is nice, the fact that its Kesel and not Brubaker, that story falls on deft ears and that art will be missed by a lot of the masses. I hope that more people pick up books like that, when the story and the art find that synergy and simpatico then the comic is more then a comic, but graphic narration the way it should be.