Sunday, December 30, 2012

Who's the Best... Superman Artist?

Doug:  Please be sure to consider Dick Dillin, longtime Justice League of America penciller.  He was inadvertently left off the poll currently running on the sidebar.


Rip Jagger said...

I rather wimped out a bit on this one. I picked four artists, one each who defined the character in a different decade.

In the 40's his creator Joe Shuster established the look.

In the 50's Wayne Boring's barrel-chester version became the definitive.

In the 60's Curt Swan's everyman rendition held sway.

And in the 70's into the 80's Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez successfully modernized the character.

Garcia-Lopez is my personal fave Superman artist.

Rip Off

William said...

I only voted for John Byrne, because his run on the character was the only time that I regularly read any Superman book on a month-to-month basis -- and when he left, so did I.

If Bruce Timm had been a choice, I would have voted for him as well. His character design for the Superman Animated Series was another personal favorite version of mine. The show even spawned a pretty long running comic Book as well using the same model for the character.

Anonymous said...

I voted for Swan, Schaffenberger and Garcia-Lopez, but if I had to pick one...gotta go with Swan. He defined the character for so long and he's the artist I remember best from my childhood.

Mike W.

Inkstained Wretch said...

I agree with you, Doug. Dillin is seriously underrated. Clean, simple but very iconic-looking.

My favorite Superman artists are: Neal Adams and George Perez (Those guys are just great, period, though I have some issues with Adam's story-telling); Joe Shuster (Those early strips are simple but a lot of fun); and Gil Kane (Those early 80s issues of Superman and Action Comics he did are personal favorites).

But my absolute favorite artist in this category is Jerry Ordway. I love his style and it is perfectly suited to Superman. His characters are big and bold but he also gives them a certain gravitas. There is also a distinct retro look to his drawing too that works well with Supes.

Edo Bosnar said...

I voted for several as well, but even if you put the feet to the fire to force me to pick just one, I'd still be unable to choose between Garcia Lopez and Byrne.
And although I see he got the most votes here, I never really liked Curt Swan's work on the character. Yes, I know he put a good 20 years of work on Superman, and I'll readily acknowledge that he was really good at drawing distinctive individualized human faces (and he was a master of various facial expressions), but the Superman stories he drew always reminded me of that rather bland 1950s TV show with George Reeves.

david_b said...

Swan, all the way with Swan. His Worlds Finest was SO underrated, I love his renditions of the Dynamic Duo when they were involved with the stories during the Bat-Craze.

Besides Adams and Infantino, Swan was the best '60s Batman artist.

Inkstained Wretch said...

Swan's work was pretty good but it never does much for me either. The only time I can think of that I was impressed with him was a Superboy & the Legion story with them fighting Mordu that BAB showcased a while back. Otherwise I find him ... bland. His style worked great in the Silver Age but it looks too casual and un-adventureous today.

Maybe that's because he was the main Supes Silver Age artist and so we think of his art in the context of those silly stories. But I never got the sense he was stretching himself as an artist or otherwise trying to wow the reader.

MattComix said...

For me it's an impossible tie between Garcia Lopez and John Byrne. I also have a tremendous affection for the Max Fleischer and Bruce Timm STAS design.

William said...

I have a lot of respect for the work that Curt Swan on Superman, but his style never suited my personal taste. His art in general was somewhat generic looking, and I always found his figures to be a bit stiff.

MattComix said...

I feel I should give honorable mentions to Kerry Gamill, Bob McLeod, and Tom Grummett. All shamefully underrated Superman artists.

Kid said...

It's impossible to pick just one, because the inker has to be considered. I'd go for Swan when his art was being laid out by Infantino and inked by Anderson, but that was for a comparatively short period of his career.

david_b said...

Swan bland..? Totally agreed, but it fit the Silver Age DC overall blandness very well.

Aside from Lopez, Adams, and Dillin, I regard all Supes arists as bland anyways.

Garett said...

Garcia Lopez wins for me. Great anatomy and action, clean and stylish. I just bought Superman vs Wonder Woman yesterday, to read for the first time! Could've used better inking, but fine pencilling.

Joe Shuster gets a vote, and not just for being the first. I like how he gave Superman a spunky energy. To me that's better than Swan's sedate Supes.

Last vote goes to Neal Adams.

Ross Andru drew some good covers. I liked Buckler/Giordano and Andru Giordano covers as a kid. No Jim Lee on the list? Actually I didn't like his Superman, but his Batman is good.

Had to pull out my Garcia Lopez. : )
-Love DC Comics Presents 3 (Adam Strange), 4 (Metal Men), 24 (Deadman), all inked by G-L himself.
-Also the 2 Elseworlds books, Superman Inc. (Supes as spoiled sports superstar) and Superman Kal (Supes arrives on Earth in medieval times).
-The Realworlds Superman, about a downtrodden dude in the '50s.
-And finally...Superman 347, with some marvelous scenes like Superman and Lois dance-flying.

Simayl said...

I voted for Swan, Byrne and Schaffenberger but what about Jack Burnley, seriously good golden age great!

Dandy Forsdyke said...

Curt Swan, especially when inked by George Klein, and Kurt Schaffenberger for his Lois Lane stories.

Bruce said...

I hate to be negative, but count me in the crowd that doesn't much care for Swan's work. To be honest, it probably has more to do with the stories he worked on than his actual artwork. I've never enjoyed Silver Age (and early Bronze Age) Superman - just doesn't work for me.

My personal choice for best Superman artist would be John Byrne, no question about it. He made the character interesting to me by focusing on Superman's Kansas roots, rather than his Kryptonian heritage. So Byrne gets the nod from me, although I also like Garcia-Lopez, Ordway & Perez.

Anonymous said...

Mike Sekowsky

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