During the late eighties and early nighties, comics were dominated by the likes of Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, and Jim Lee. First with their work at Marvel Comics, and later with their little company called Image Comics.
I was a bug fan of all three, and in fact it was their art which inspired me to pick up a pencil and a sketchbook, and eventually get my degree in graphic design.
But as much as I loved their art (especially Jim Lee’s), there were a few other artists of the era who I felt never got the respect they deserved. And here are a few of my favorites, in no particular order:
Jan Duursema has been in the comic book business for over three decades. She’s worked for just about every company out there. But my favorite work by her is her short run on Hawkman.
To me she is one of the best Hawkman artists ever. Nobody has matched her Hawkman since, and maybe nobody will. Sadly, her run on the book was fairly short (six or seven issues I believe), so she’s never mentioned among the Hawkman greats.
All I know is that Jan Duursema is responsible for me picking up a Hawkman book, and for that she has my eternal gratitude.
If you own a good size stack of comics, chances are at least a few are inked by Art Thibert. Guy has inked everything in comics, and is without a doubt one of the best inkers the industry has ever seen. However, Art Thibert is one hell of an artitst too.
The first time I saw his pencil art was in X-Men #12 way back in 1992. It was the first issue after Jim Lee left the book, and by the time I finished reading that issue, I was asking “”Jim who?”
Nearly twenty-three years later, I still can’t believe Marvel didn’t have Thibert take over X-Men full-time. His art was (and still is) gorgeous. Thibert drew a couple of issues of Cable for Marvel. He later wrote and drew his own creator book for Image called Black and White. A really fun book all his fans should read.
The first time I saw Ryan Benjamin’s artwork was in Union #0 from Wildstorm/Image. Although I wasn’t a fan of Union, I started picking up the book solely for the art. I was quickly becoming a fan of Benjamin’s work, and I followed him to the Grifter book, and beyond.
Where have you gone Richard Bennett? the comics world turns its lonely eye to you
Pick up copies of UnCanny X-Men #303 and X-Men #27, and tell me Richard Bennett wasn’t a superstar in the making. His style was completely different from anything else out at the time. But Marvel being Marvel, didn’t put him on a book full-time, and eventually lost him to Wildstorm where Bennett wrote and drew Brass.
Nowadays Richard Bennett is out of comics because he’s too busy drawing storyboards for movies. Oh well, comics’ loss is Hollywood’s gain I suppose.