Thursday, July 23, 2015

Comic Artist Mount Rushmore

Scrolling through my Instagram feed today I came across a cool topic by Edwin Huang AKA ironpinky. He asks who you would place on your comic artist Mount Rushmore? He goes on to name Stuart Immonen, Adam Hughes, Chris Bachalo, and Joe Madureira.

My personal list of favorite artists would include Adam Hughes, Jim Lee, Michael Turner, and Joe Madureira but this question goes beyond my very own personal favorites. Mount Rushmore represents those presidents who reserved the Republic and expanded its territory. Several names come to mind when it comes to having a huge impact on comic books... John Romita, Arthur Adams, Jack Kirby, John Byrne, Gene Colan, George Perez, Frank Miller, Walt Simonson, Neal Adams, Jim Lee, John Buscema... I could go on and on. When you picture classic comics featuring your favorite characters it is the artwork of these gentlemen that most likely dances through your heads. Whittling this list down to just four is no small feat but here's who I would place on the Comic Artist Mount Rushmore...

Jim Lee was the artist that made me start collecting comic books on a regular basis so there may be a bit of bias with this choice. I still remember the day I walked into that old comic book store and saw a copy of X-Men #1 sitting on the shelf. The art between those pages was leaps and bounds better than anything I had laid my eyes on before. That book went on to sell 8.1 million copies which still stands as the number one selling comic book of all time so clearly it wasn't just me. That is a major feat in itself but it is also the impact that Jim along with several other popular artists (Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri, Rob Liefeld, and Jim Valentino) made that lands him squarely on this list. These men went on to form Image Comics which has served as an example for independent creators to stand on their own two feet and not depend on major labels to get out there and make their dreams come true. The industry has seen several upstart artists and companies follow in the footsteps of these men and the comic book world has never been the same.

Notable works:
X-Men Jim Lee Omnibus v.1
X-Men Jim Lee Omnibus v.2
Batman Hush Absolute Edition
Superman Unchaned

John Byrne is the guy that nobody wants on this list but his influence on comics is undeniable. Along with writer Chris Claremont, Byrne went on a run with the X-Men that shook up the world. During his run, Byrne penciled two of the series most popular stories, Dark Phoenix Saga and Days of the Future Past. Let's not forget his unforgettable work on Fantastic Four, Alpha Flight, She-Hulk, and Superman where he served as a writer as well as an artist on many of his runs. However that's not the reason he made the list. Next time you go to a convention, ask your favorite artist who their favorite artists are and I bet you John Byrne makes their list. No matter what anybody thinks or says about John Byrne, nobody can take away the impact he has had on comic book art throughout the years.

Notable works:
Fantastic Four John Byrne v.1
Fantastic Four John Byrne v.2
Uncanny X-Men Omnibus v.1
Uncanny X-Men Omnibus v.2

I went back and forth with myself on who to include in this slot. Neal Adams, John Buscema, Arthur Adams, John Romita Sr., Frank Miller. So tough to decide and I easily could have created an argument for any of them based off of their contributions but ultimately one book put John Buscema above the rest... How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way. I can't even begin to count the number of times I've sat through an artist's panel and have heard that book mentioned. Talk about having an impact on the comic book art world! His "How To Draw" book is sitting on the shelf of every artist in the game. The book doesn't go in-depth on any particular subject but everything you ever need to know about drafting a comic book is there. Oh, did I forget to mention all of the books he worked on throughout his career? Go look him up... I'll be here when you get back.

Notable works:
Marvel Visionaries: John Buscema
Wolverine: Madripoor Nights
How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way

Last but not least... Who else but Jack "King" Kirby? Jack's impact on comics can still be felt decades after he crashed onto the scene. His wonderful sense of storytelling and the vast amount of characters he has created throughout his career still hold up to this day. Don't believe me? What was your favorite comic book movie? Whatever your answer, Kirby most likely created those characters or influenced the creator who did. My words can never do this guy justice so I'll keep it short and sweet.

Notable works:
Jack Kirby Omnibus v.1
Jack Kirby Omnibus v.2
Fantastic Four Omnibus v.1
X-Men Omnibus v.1

Agree... disagree? Let me know. Who would you place on your Comic Artist Mount Rushmore? #ComicRushmore


  1. If I were to choose 4 comic artists, creators I would choose....

    #1 Osamu Tezuka - Yes I know he's a manga artist, but I consider them one and the same thing, and if you haven't delved into the world of Osamu Tezuka yet, Victor, I suggest you get on that lickety split.

    #2 Will Eisner - I don't think I need to go into detail about this man. He is one of the troubadours of comics. His instructional books on "Sequential art" are deeply instructive not in just a "how to" way, but also philosophically. Also, the man can draw and write. The contract with God trilogy is off the chain.

    #3Frank Miller - I put him on here because .... when first getting into comics I started looking at the top rates ones...anyway I started buying some of them and reading them, they didn't do it for me until I read "The Dark Knight". That book is a work of art any way you look at it. Storywise, dialogue, the belongs in the realm populated by great artists.

    #4 Jim Lee - I'm biased as well. When getting into comics awhile ago I had in my mind the image of american comics and the style, and Jim Lee is the definition of american comic art. There's so much more to add..but I'm gonna go make some tea now.

  2. Thanks for the reply, Rabbit Heart. Nice list you have there. I'm not familiar with Osamu Tezuka's work but since you brought him up I will have to check him out. I went to his Wikipedia page and saw hundreds of titles that he worked on. Where do you recommend I start?

    1. Hmmm, let me think. Maybe try, "The Mysterious Underground Men" first. I love that little book. Look for the 2 cents manga edition, it's brown and has a few interesting essays in it. "Dororo" is also pretty tight. Some of his stories are dramas or very movie like, may have to ease yourself into them. But the two that I mentioned are fantastic.