Top Comic Book Artists 50-47 - CBR - Comic Book Resources

3 months ago 35

The countdown begins now!!!

Here are the first four comic book artists that you voted as your favorites of all-time (out of roughly 1,008 ballots cast, with 10 points for first place votes, 9 points for second place votes, etc.).

50. Marshall Rogers – 224 points (2 first place votes)

Marshall Rogers shot to stardom with his short and brilliant run on Detective Comics with writer Steve Englehart and inker Terry Austin. The run was essentially a Batman's Greatest Hits style story, with Englehart trying to make his mark quickly with takes on Batman's greatest foes like Penguin and Joker, as well as telling a Robin story and introducing a love interest for Batman (Walter Simonson would draw Silver St. Cloud first, but Rogers defined her). Rogers actually stuck around on Detective even when Englehart left, co-creating the third Clayface with writer Len Wein before leaving the book.

Besides some short Batman work here and there, Rogers didn't return to the character until an acclaimed Legends of the Dark Knight story by legendary writer Archie Goodwin. Rogers then reteamed with Steve Englehart for a sequel to their original run in Dark Detective. Tragically, Rogers passed away before they could finish work on a second sequel.

Rogers' distinctive artwork on his Detective run was a great influence on later artists' depiction of the Joker (while Rogers, of course, took from Neal Adams' Joker, as well). His artwork perfectly captured a film noir feel that many Batman artists have attempted to evoke in the years since.

Check out this clever sequence from a fight between Batman and Deadshot with Bruce Wayne's new love interest, Silver St. Cloud present....

The movement and the dynamic nature of the fight is outstanding...

but how amazing is the moment where Silver St. Cloud realizes who Batman is behind the mask! See how his work is somehow so incredibly detailed, so strikingly moody and yet still dynamic and coherent in its storytelling...

Rogers' Deadshot re-design also defined the character for decades to come.

49. Norm Breyfogle – 226 points (3 first place votes)

Norm Breyfogle's career was an interesting mixture of good timing and not-so-good timing. After working in independent comic books for a few years, Breyfogle finally got a chance to do a regular book for DC Comics when he took over art duties on Detective Comics in 1988 when that book was in a major sales slump. Alan Grant and John Warner joined the series as the writers and sales were so low that Warner jumped ship early into their shared run (but let Grant still use his name since Grant was afraid they wouldn't want just him, plus, in their "split," Wagner was given Judge Dredd to write). Then a funny thing happened - the Batman movie came out in 1989 and suddenly Batman sales were skyrocketing. However, Grant and Breyfogle were then taken off of Detective Comics temporarily for #600 so that the screenwriter of the Batman movie could write it instead. Later, Grant and Breyfogle were promoted to the main Batman series, where they introduced the new Robin, Tim Drake, into the series (Neal Adams designed Robin's costume, but Breyfogle was the first artist to draw it in the comics).

Here, from Tim's first night on the job, we see many of Breyfogle's greatest skills - his dynamic artwork and his strong character expressions...

Man, Breyfogle never made you wonder what Batman was thinking at any moment, right?

Just look at that movement - you can FEEL the bo staff open up!

Plus, of course, the bat-grappling hook, which Breyfogle first drew in the comics (although they showed up in the Batman movie first). Breyfogle and Grant were then given their own Batman spin-off, which helped to make up for the lost royalties from missing Detective Comics #600. However, because of that, they missed out on drawing Batman #493 (the breaking of Batman's back) and Batman #500 (the introduction of the new Batman, Jean-Paul Valley). Then, some good timing, the mainstream comic book market was so bit that Breyfogle was offered a crazy amount of money to help launch Prime for the Ultraverse at Malibu. However, due to some bad timing, the Ultraverse (and the comic book market as a whole) collapsed a bit soon after launching.

Still, Breyfogle kept drawing comic books for decades before he sadly suffered a stroke in 2014. He had recovered greatly from the stroke, but could no longer draw professional and sadly complications from the stroke eventually were too much and he passed away in 2018.

48. Carl Barks – 228 points (2 first place votes)

For decades, the creditless Donald Duck and later Uncle Scrooge comics written and drawn by Carl Barks would stand out so much compared to the other "Duck" comics that people began to identify his work despite the lack of credits. He became known all over the world as "the good Duck artist." See his skills in action in this sequence from one of his earliest Donald Duck adventure stories...

See how sweeping these stories were...

Barks could tell sweeping adventure stories with outlandish plot twists, but he never lost track of the character work behind it all.

Famously, George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg's iconic boulder scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark was an homage to a Barks sequence.

47. Alex Toth – 231 points (4 first place votes)

If there was a fault of Alex Toth's amazing comic book career, it was that he was sort of born at the wrong time. He was born in 1928. Had he been born seven years earlier, he likely would have been one of the greats of the Golden Age superhero boom, but instead he broke in after superheroes were falling out of favor. He still quickly became the top artist at DC Comics, drawing comic books in all sorts of genres. However, after a dispute with his editor at DC Comics (a dispute that soon grew into a legend that he hung his editor out of a window), Toth ended up having to work for a variety of lesser-known comic book publishers during his prime years. Eventually, his stunning skills as a kinetic storyteller and designer were given new form when he went to work as a storyboard artist and designer for Hanna Barbara. Throughout the 1960s he created dynamic action characters, like probably his most famous creation, Space Ghost. His skills were put to use once again in the early 1970s when he designed the Super Friends. All throughout this time, he couldn't stay away from comics - all sorts of kinds. He made his way back to DC Comics and worked on a bunch of different comics in the 1970s for them. One of the other issues with Toth is that he preferred to concentrate on shorter stories, which also took him out of the realm of the longer superhero narratives that were becoming popular at the time.

I always like to use as an example of Toth's ability to turn any comic book into a masterpiece his work on the Hot Wheels comic book series for DC in the early 1970s...

He makes you just FEEl the drama...

Yes, that is a Hot Wheels comic book and it was somehow still super intense!

Toth was a genius storyteller.

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