Our favorite artists category includes any comic book artist (penciller, inker, colorist, etc) from 2011; whether they were on a monthly series, an original graphic novel, one single issue, or were the host to a span of different content; if they were a part of the art process they could be someone’s favorite.
Mikel Janin | Geoff Arbuckle
What a year for some of my favorite artists in the biz. Mike Deodato is ripping up New Avengers. Salvador Larroca is continuing his spectacular run on Invincible Iron Man. Stuart Immonen hit pay dirt with Fear Itself. Olivier Coipel returned to Thor in the pages of The Mighty Thor and reminded us that his vision of the God of Thunder is perfect for this new era in comics. But my pick is going to an artist that is new to me – Justice League Dark’s Mikel Janin. Janin’s art on this book goes from beautiful to dark to creepy in a matter of panels and absolutely perfectly fits the tone of the book. Only three issues in and the visuals of this series excites me every time I open it and above all else makes me salivate to see more.
Paolo Rivera | John Barringer
This is the toughest category for me; per the nature of comics art is a big part of the experience and per my own nature I’m going to purchase comics that seem visually appealing to me, so naturally as I looked back at everything I’ve read over the last year it’s great art after great art after great art (you don’t buy a lot you don’t like right?). Steve Epting, Chris Burnham (who I almost went with), Greg Capullo, Francesco Francavilla, Dustin Weaver, and the list goes on, all amazing – but I just can’t get over how much I enjoyed drooling over every panel of Paolo Rivera’s work in Daredevil this year.
Not only did he capture part of the artistic spirit Frank Miller gave the character during his run but, and I know I’m treading on a legend here, I think he improved upon it, which allowed Paolo Rivera’s own style a very familiar feel. So while Mark Waid pushed the character in water he hadn’t treaded in a long time Rivera grounded the character while adding his flair of brilliance. From his attention to detail, shadows, layouts and spacing, every inch was stunning. Credit to colorist Javier Rodriguez and inker Joe Rivera as well for complimenting River’s pencils.
Paolo Rivera (bottom) channeling Frank Miller (top) in Daredevil #1.
Stuart Immonen | Phillip Carson
Fear Itself had its moments, to be sure, but the thing that drove me to the comic shop every month wasn’t the story, it was Stuart Immonen’s fantastic art. A gorgeous mixture of realistic and cartoony, Immonen’s artwork energized Marvel’s Fear Itself, ensuring that even the tamest panel was fun to look at and worth coming back to. And when characters did actually come to blows, those fight scenes jumped off the pages, with every image capturing the true iconic feel of the Marvel characters.
Esad Ribic | Dan Cole
Ultimates is astounding. Giving the book jaw-dropping action, pitch perfect character work and a cinematic scale that suits the books ambition. Also his covers for Marvel are beautiful too.
Mark Buckingham | Victor Kutsenok
To me, art is all about consistency. Mark Buckingham has been doing the art on Fables, another DC gem, off and on since issue #6. We’re up to issue #112. That’s over 10 years of one artist on the same book. Find me any artist that has stayed on one title that long in the past, other than Jack “the King” Kirby, and I’ll be shocked. I’m not comparing him to Kirby, but I do respect the dedication and devotion. As a reader, you know without any shadow of doubt, that each time you pick up an issue of Fables, you will be greeted with the same superb, clear and incredibly detailed work that you have been enjoying for the past decade. Nothing will be unrecognizable, Every character will be distinct and consistently drawn the same way they have been since day one. I respect that and I honor him for it.
Clayton Crain | Paul Mallory
He didn’t have a large body of work in 2011, nor did he have work on an ongoing series as he’s had in the past. However, Crain’s digital murals, as depicted in the Carnage mini-series, are something to behold. His style, which includes an avoidance of bright colors, unless he wants an object to stand out, boded well for the series. It was a natural continuation from his past work on Ghost Rider and X-Force.
Rodolfo Migliari | Tom Parry
His cover work is something to be admired, regardless of the characters involved. Some of the best Lantern covers in recent memory have been his doing, but the one that stuck out for me the most was the cover to Green Arrow #10. As much as I would come to hate the prolonged fight sequence it depicted, there’s no denying that he managed to create an amazing scene, showing off the iconic Emerald Archer and his then new ally, Galahad.
Let us know what your favorites were!