Top 50 Comic Book Artists: #7-5


Top 50 Comic Book Artists: #7-5

Here are the next three artists that you voted as your favorites of all-time based on over one thousand ballots cast! Click here to see the writers #7-5 on the countdown. Click here to see a master list of all artists listed so far.

NOTE: Five notable works per creator

7 John Byrne – 1029 points (11 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 co-plotter of the series with writer Chris Claremont…

After leaving the book, Byrne began writing AND drawing the Fantastic Four…

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 (longtime Byrne inker Terry Austin worked with Byrne on the Superman reboot, as well).

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…

Recently, Byrne has done a number of projects for IDW, including some of the best Star Trek comic book art ever, and is now also bringing back his Next Men characters for a new series.

Here is a sample page by Byrne….

6 Jim Lee – 1270 points (40 first place votes)

Jim Lee first broke in at Marvel in the late 1980s on Alpha Flight before getting a lot more exposure on Punisher War Journal.

Pretty soon he was given a crack at Marvel’s crown jewel, Uncanny X-Men (still written by Chris Claremont)…

Lee became such a star artist drawing X-Men that Marvel let him launch a brand-new X-Men title that he would write AND draw (after Claremont did the first few issues)…

Lee’s X-Men #1 is likely the highest selling single issue of all-time.

Lee left Marvel soon after launching the new X-Men title to co-found Image Comics. For Image, he debuted WildC.A.T.S….

Lee helped create a number of new series while at Image, including Stormwatch and Gen 13 (two titles that took on a life of their own with different creative teams).

During the mid-90s, Lee’s Wildstorm studio was given Fantastic Four and Iron Man to do with as he pleased for a year (along with his writing partner, Brandon Choi, and his longtime inker, Scott Williams)…

In the late-90s, Lee split from Image and sold his studio to DC Comics. Soon afterwards, in 2002, Lee drew the year-long Batman epic, Hush, with writer Jeph Loeb…

It was a smash hit, leading to another year-long story by Lee for Superman (with writer Brian Azzarello). Lee has been working on All Star Batman and Robin with writer Frank Miller for a few years now.

Recently, Lee was named Co-Publisher of DC Comics, a great honor for a great comic book icon.

Here is a sample page by Lee….

5 Neal Adams – 1296 points (31 first place votes)

Neal Adams had a strong background in the field of comic strips before he made the move to comic books in the late 1960s. Unlike other artists of the previous generations, Adams took his talents to both Marvel and DC fairly equally. He started at DC doing Deadman…

before going to Marvel for a famous stint on the X-Men…

then to an even MORE famous stint on Green Lantern…

then to a famous run on the Avengers…

then to a famous series of Batman comics….

Suffice it to say that pretty much every extended run Adams had on a comic at the time is well-remembered to this day. He was also perhaps the most popular cover artist of the 1970s, spending most of his time working on covers.

Adams took a break from comics in the late 1970s (while still doing covers) to explore the wide world of art in his Continuity Studios, working in all sorts of different media (advertising, animation, magazines, album covers, etc.).

Recently, Adams returned to comics for a Batman mini-series called Batman: Odyssey.

Here is a sample page by Adams….

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December 20, 2010 at 9:02 am

I think Byrne and lee should be reverse at the very least but overall still a good list.


December 20, 2010 at 9:05 am

It is kind of cool that three creators who form such a clear lineage are bunched together. Adams was a huge early influence on Byrne. Byrne was the same thing Lee. That style visually defined the X-Men and (by extension) mainstream comics.

I love them all.


December 20, 2010 at 9:10 am

Damn, Adams was good.

I sought out anything Byrne drew when I was a kid in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and his FF run was a classic, much as I may have problems with a lot of his later stuff as a writer.

Jim Lee to me epitomizes the excesses of the ’90s, although his current style doesn’t bug me much (as long as he he steers clear of designing costumes).


December 20, 2010 at 9:18 am

All these artists are great, but I had to go with Byrne for my number one pick.

I started reading comics at around age seven, but it wasn’t until late in his Alpha Flight run that I took notice of the name John Byrne. I was around 12 by then, and enjoyed both Alpha Flight and Fantastic Four a good deal. But as I looked through back issues I couldn’t believe that almost every major comic story I loved had been drawn by this same guy. Avengers vs. Nefaria, Galactus vs. Sphinx, the best X-men run EVER and heck, even that Ant-Man two-parter in Marvel Premiere.

Basically Byrne’s name is in more of my comics than any other creator (besides some editors-in-chief and “Stan Lee Presents…”) His art got me hooked on the medium in those formative years and still represents to me what good comic book art should be: dynamic, imaginative, powerful. That’s why John Byrne’s my number one pick.

Pete Woodhouse

December 20, 2010 at 9:26 am

Great trio, but Adams at 5!!!! What ????!!! Repeat after me, internet: Jolly Jack #1, Nefarious Neal Jolly Jack #1, Nefarious Neal #2….

Still disapppointed that there was no top 50 spot for Marshall Rogers (who at least I managed to vote for), Mike Golden or Berni Wrightson, 3 great artists who followed Adams’ trailblazing. I guess they haven’t done recent high-profile stuff, and have been forgotten about for top placings.

Joe Rice

December 20, 2010 at 9:39 am

Three artists that don’t do much for me personally, but you cannot deny their skill or influence.

Jacob T. Levy

December 20, 2010 at 9:45 am

Woo Adams!!

I try hard not to lump Lee in with Macfarlane and Liefeld, and he’s a much more talented artist than either of them. But he’s still been responsible for a lot of (very pretty!) mediocrity.

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