Top Ten Artists of 2017

Honorable Mentions: Emil Ferris, Jean Paul Leon, Lee Weeks, Francis Manapul, Mikel Janin,Javier Fernandez, Andrea Sorrenntino, Mike Allred, Jeff Lemire, Andrew MacLean, Jamie McKelvie, Wes Craig, Dean Ormstron, Declan Shalvey

10. Jon Davis-Hunt of The Wildstorm

Jon Davis-Hunt had a hell of a year drawing The Wildstorm. Complex machinery, city-scapes, explosions, as well as corporate headquarters filled with the secret lairs and talking heads; Davis-Hunt showed he has the chops to pull off whatever comes his way. More than anything though, we were impressed by his abilities and choices as a storyteller. The sequencing of panels and layout choices, and some of the wildest fight choreography I’ve seen in a comic. He did things differently than what we’ve come to expect, like camera work, and did it with fantastic results. Davis-Hunt wasn’t very well know before this year, but we think that is something that is going to change-Tyler

9. David Rubin of Sherlock Frankenstein & The Legion of Evil, Ether, Rumble & Black Hammer

With its blend of vivid colors, dynamic action, emotive characters, rich backgrounds, and bold lettering, the artwork of Spanish artist David Rubin is instantly recognizable. The artist has a gift for rendering fantasy and science fiction settings and characters on the page — his past work includes a two-volume Battling Boy spin-off series (with Paul Pope and JT Petty) starring character Aurora West, a timeless Jack Kirby-inspired superhero re-imagining of the mythological figure Hercules in the two-volume series The Hero, and the fantasy series Ether (with Matt Kindt).

In 2017, Image Comics released a hardcover collection of Rubin’s Beowulf (with Santiago Garcia), a stunning re-telling of the Old English epic poem. Also at Image, Rubin collaborates with writer John Arcudi, colorist Dave Stewart, and letterer Joe Sabino on the fantasy adventure series Rumble. At Dark Horse Comics, Rubin explores the mythology of the superhero genre, working with Jeff Lemire on the Black Hammer spin-off series Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil-Reed

8. James Stokoe of Aliens Dead Orbit, Moon Knight & Edge of The Venomverse

James Stokoe has always been one of my favorite artists. Unfortunately in the last couple years, he hasn’t done much interior work. However, this year he did illustrations on multiple comic titles. Even though the volume of work he produced wasn’t very high, it was the most I’ve seen from him in years. He contributed to one of the best Moon Knight arcs, and he also created the complete mini series Aliens Dead Orbit, which did make it to #2 on our best new series list. Stokoe’s art style is extremely unique and always interesting. It is clear to see the detail that goes into making every page so impressive. I hope 2018 brings even more Stokoe art! (I’m still holding out for more Orc Stain!)-Dean

7. Christian Ward of Black Bolt

Christian Ward’s psychedelic expressionism has been some of the most interesting interior work in comics for the last couple years. Taking a break from his Image series ODY-C with Matt Fraction, Ward teamed up with first time comic book writer Saladin Ahmed for Black Bolt, one of 2017’s most mind bending new series. Ward has the ability to take his unique surrealist vision, and warp it to the series cosmic parable. Ward will stretch a comic’s page to the limits of the imagination and story, but his clean lines and logical visual storytelling always keeps his art palpable to the context of the plot. Always equal parts exciting and awe inspiring, Christian Ward is one of comics best surrealists-Pat

6. Jerome Opena of Seven to Eternity

Jerome Opena is a master comics creator, with a style that is exquisite in it’s wondrous detail. His Seven To Eternity, with writer Rick Remender, provides for some of Opena’s most interesting visual story telling yet, for it’s high fantasy scenery and visceral action. Opena is an exceptional talent in all aspects of comics art, from design to interior drafting and everything in between. With Seven To Eternity, his creativity is unfettered, and it has made for some of the most compelling artwork of his career, making him one of the best comics artist of 2017-Pat

5. Cliff Chiang of Paper Girls

Cliff Chiang remains one of comics best and most accomplished creative talents for his singular interior style on Paper Girls. Living at the intersection of cartoonish and hyper detail, Paper Girls is a consistently fascinating comic for how Chiang’s superb art and design talents blend the books otherworldly ideas with the normal and mundane. Whether drawing a teenage girl, a dinosaur in the jungle, or giant robots fighting over downtown Cleveland; Chiangs unique interior work can encompass all of it with a clear naturalism. As his Paper Girls continues to get stranger, readers can count on Chiang to continue blending all of its disparate ideas and concepts together as only he can-Pat

4. Fiona Staples of Saga

As Saga closes out on five years of publication, the question almost becomes what can’t she do as a comic book artist. Staples design and visual storytelling is as impeccable as her imagination is boundless. With near perfect line art, and sharp eye for detail, Staples art has a trans-formative quality  that does well for a comic that consistently changes setting and characters. Each new planet in Saga brings on a new setting and new creatures, and Staples makes each feel wholly unique for her fantastic detail and ability. Saga remains the standard bearer for ongoing creator owned comics, and it couldn’t be without her extraordinary visual storytelling-Pat

3. Mitch Gerads of Mister Miracle, Batman & The Sheriff of Babylon

Whether it was Mister Miracle, Batman or Baghdad; artist Mitch Gerads consistently amazed readers with writer Tom King & his utilization of the nine panel grid. Having been an active comics artist for years with Marvel & Image, Gerads had a banner year with DC across a series of titles with the publisher where he truly flourished as a comics artist like never before. He’s able to create hyper detailed small panels with impeccable line wok, design, and character acting. In 2017, Gerads took his comic art to the next level, and provided some of the most stunning interior work of 2017-Pat

2. Joelle Jones of Batman, Lady Killer 2 & Supergirl Being Super

 I had not heard, or at least had not taken notice of Joelle Jones until last year’s Lady Killer mini series which was nominated for an Eisner as well as Jones for best penciller. In my comic world she kind of came out of nowhere. The miniseries was so well received that Jones did another Lady Killer volume in 2017, and DC signed her to an exclusive deal to put her straight onto Supergirl and Batman. Just like that, an artist who I didn’t know a few years ago became one of my favorites of the year. There have been some great artists to popped in and out of that Batman title this year, but the Joelle Jones issues are my favorite. Her style has this incredibly charming throwback feel to it. I have often wanted to take one of her Batman panels, blow it up and put it on my wall. Jones’ art is also being used for Prada’s 2018 spring exhibition. I strongly agree with Prada’s choice on this one-Dean
 1. Sean Phillips of Kill or Be Killed
Sean Phillips is a modern master, and his work on Kill or Be Killed is some of the best comics he has ever drawn, so of course he made the list. Gone are the smoke-filled rooms and period-appropriate attire, no 1970’s bars filled with lackey’s, or Hollywood parties soaked in whisky. Phillips and Brubaker’s newest jam takes place in contemporary NYC, and Phillips once again, knocks it out of the park. At this point, we expect beautiful pages from Sean, but he ups the ante and begins experimenting with layouts. The thin margins and half page splashes create a unique rhythm throughout the book, jumping from frenetic action scenes to introspective moments that work in perfect concert with the narrative. One of comics’ best, delivering month in month out greatness. We very much look forward to everything Sean Phillips does-Tyler

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