The countdown continues! Here are the next four comic book artists that you voted as your favorites of all-time (out of roughly 1,023 ballots cast, with 10 points for first place votes, 9 points for second place votes, etc.).
26. Mike Deodato – 412 points (12 first place votes)
Deodato Taumaturgo Borges Filho is the son of the great Brazilian comic book artists, Deodato Borges. When he began working on American comic books, he took the name Mike Deodato. He originally worked on comic books for Innovation Publishing, including a stint on the comic book adaptation of Quantum Leap. 1994 was a huge year for Deodato, as he began working as the regular artist on Wonder Woman…
Deodato later joked that the smaller he made Wonder Woman’s costume, the more the sales increased on the series. Deodato was now a star, and he soon found work at Marvel as the regular artist on The Avengers. During this period, Deodato was so big that both Extreme Studios and Marvel asked him to use his name on a studio of other artists who could draw in similar styles. Marvel was better about using “Deodato Studios” as a credit, while Extreme would often just use the name Mike Deodato (He later recalled, “Artists Ed Benes, Mozart Couto, Emir Ribeiro, and Rene Micheletti got the short end of the stick there.” He also noted that “The result was I was credited — or blamed — for a ton of work I had nothing to do with”).
As Deodato noted, those years tarnished his reputation a bit, so that led to him doubling down on his art style, trying to become such a strong artist that people would overlook the whole studio era. On a run on Incredible Hulk with writer Bruce Jones, Deodato debuted this new, photorealistic and noir-esque style and it was outstanding…
Especially the way that he mixed in the photorealistic with the over-the-top Hulk. It worked beautifully…
Deodato was now right back to being a superstar. He became the regular artist on Amazing Spider-Man and then did a number of major works, including the crossovers Original Sin and Infinity Wars. Look at how good he looks doing the big superhero moments…
and yet, he also draws the oddball stuff wonderfully, as well…
In recent years, he has done some creator-owned work and also worked with J. Michael Straczynski on creating a new universe for Artists Writers & Artisans.
25. Fiona Staples – 424 points (6 first place votes)
Fiona Staples is one half of the amazing creative team on Saga, where she and writer Brian K. Vaughan have created a number of compelling characters that we’d love to follow through a rather unvarnished fantasy world where a young couple (Alana and Marko) is on the run with their baby. Slowly but surely, Vaughan and Staples populated their world with a variety of fascinating characters, from the bounty hunters who are trying to capture or kill them to the reporters who want to tell their story.
On Saga, Staples’ designs are excellent, her character work is sublime, and she is an amazing storyteller. There is a reason why Vaughan makes a point to list her name first in the credits.
The series recently returned from a major turning point, which followed a long hiatus. In previous (shorter) hiatuses, Staples did other projects, like when she relaunched the Archie line of comics with Mark Waid. Her redesigns there were excellent.
In any event, one of the problems with Saga is that so much stuff happens that I don’t want to spoil too much, so I’ll stick with the earliest stories. Here’s a bit from early in the series where we see Alana, Marko and their nanny try to head for a rocketship forest to find a way to get away from the people tracking them down…
24. Mike Mignola –436 points (8 first place votes)
Mike Mignola probably uses shadows and light better than any other comic book artist there is. It was a constant in his popular work for Marvel Comics and DC Comics, where he worked on Incredible Hulk, Rocket Raccoon, Alpha Flight and a memorable issue of X-Force for Marvel, and a number of outstanding Batman stories for DC. This style, of course, has been a hallmark of his visually stunning Hellboy comic books.
Look at the use of silhouettes and negative space. Mignola understands just how powerful negative space is, and he uses it a LOT.
Plus, of course, he has these great character designs – there is a familiarity to all of his characters while at the same time, no one is quite the same. He is also one of the top artists in the business when it comes to fight scenes.
Mignola has a control over his work that is just stunning.
23. Barry Windsor-Smith – 455 points (3 first place votes)
Starting in the 1960s with a highly Jack Kirby-esque style, Barry Windsor-Smith came to true prominence during his run on Conan the Barbarian with writer Roy Thomas. Not content, though, to rest on his substantial laurels, Windsor-Smith continued to develop his style dramatically, keeping his excellent storytelling skills and adding in more and more stylized touches. His Conan work evolved to an astonishing degree by the time he left the book, and he started the book off already very well.
Smith then left comics for a number of years, working as a painter, adding the Windsor to his name (it was his mother’s maiden name). He returned the world of comics in the 1980s, where he did a number of one-offs for the company. One of his most famous works was a one-off issue of Uncanny X-Men that he did with Chris Claremont. Check out how much stunning detail that there is in this work while never sacrificing fluidity of movement….
He followed this up a few years later with the famous Wolverine origin story (of sorts), Weapon X!
This is roughly his current style, and whenever he comes out with a new comic book work, like his recent graphic novel, Monsters (a reworked and expanded Hulk story that Windsor-Smith had started working on all the way back in the 1980s), you know it is going to look excellent.