Comics is a serious art form done by artists who take them seriously. It is a form of expression on the world around them or of a different world of their imagination which talks about good and evil, ethics, heroism and so much more. This article talks about 10 most important comic book artists, who revolutionized the world of comics through their timeless works.
Will Eisner: A much-celebrated name in the field of comic art, who did not like the term comic, went on to coin the term 'sequential art'. He was not only recognized as one of the giants in sequential art but also the father of Graphic Novel. His most notable work is 'The Spirit'. It featured a masked crime fighter and the comic strip appeared in the newspapers and comic books across the United States for twelve years. From publishing his very first work in 1936, his glorious career in the comic book art spanned a long seven decades. He was not only an artist but also a teacher who taught students cartooning at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Eisner is also the author of Comics and Sequential Art, Graphic Storytelling, A Contract with God and Expressive Anatomy. The prestigious Eisner Award given to creative achievement in American comic books is named after Will Eisner.
Harvey Kurtzman: Proved his talent for creating comics in his teens, Harvey Kurtzman entered into the commercial comic book industry early in the age of 18. He was considered to be one of the leading artists in American satirical and adult comics. Harvey was the co-creator of the humorous satire Little Annie Fanny which appeared in the Playboy magazine. He founded the magazine 'Mad'. This work of Harvey's served as an inspiration for many seminal artists. He created magazines such as Trump, Help, and Humbug, where he was brave enough to publish the works of many underground artists which earned him the name father of underground comic. Some of his notable works include Two-Fisted Tales, Frontline Combat, Strange Adventures, From Aargh! to Zap! and My Life as a Cartoonist.
Jack Kirby: Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, and the Fantastic Four, characters we all love today is the brainchild of Jack Kirby during the time he worked for Marvel Comics. He started his career in the 1930s working on comic strips and cartoon animation. Jack Kirby worked with Stan Lee of Marvel Comics to bring us superheroes like Iron Man, Thor, Silver Surfer, Magneto, Professor X, Black Panther, and the Avengers. After leaving Marvel Comics Kirby joined DC Comics where he created another set of comics like The Forever People, The New Gods, and Mister Miracle. He is one of the most influential artists in the field of comic books because his entire career spans across the history of comic books from the early 1930s till today. His imagination created a whole new universe and a whole new set of characters, who were above mythic figures. Jack Kirby's representation of his characters, their lifestyle and his unique philosophy earned him the title 'the kings of comics'.
Steve Ditko: Have you ever wondered who created your favorite superhero Spiderman? Well, it was none other than Steve Ditko. He is the co-creator of Spiderman with Stan Lee at Marvel Comics. Ditko redesigned the Iron Man costume from the earlier one created by Kirby into something that is easily recognizable as the character in the Avengers Movie. He also created the villains like the Green Goblin and Dr. Octopus. Leaving Marvel Comics due to disputes, he joined DC Comic the Hawk and the Dove. Ditko also worked for Charlton Comics where he created characters like The Blue Beetle and The Question. Steve Ditko was a follower of Objectivism, which is clearly reflected in characters who were unwilling to compromise. His first published work was in 1953 in a romance comic.
Neal Adams: As a child, Neal Adams was very much interested in comic books. But his attempt to enter the world of comics received a rejection from DC Comics. Adams then joined Archie Comics, which was the beginning of his career in 1960 where he did penciling, advertising, and comic strips. With his experience working for Warren Magazine and his ability to create a wide variety of illustration techniques, Adams approached DC Comics and in 1967 Adams published his first work Our Army at War for DC Comics. Neal Adams was successful in changing the face of comic art by combining photorealism with dynamic action through his comic 'Dead Man'. Neal Adams also worked on reviving Batman to the superhero we all know today. Some of the characters he worked on include the Green Lantern, Green Arrow, X-men, and the Avengers.
Bernie Wrightson: Known as the Master of Macabre, he was heavily influenced by horror films. One of this famous work is Swamp thing which he co-created with writer Len Ween. Swamp thing is considered to be one of the great myth images even today. Bernie loved working with demons, werewolves, aliens, monsters, and ghouls. His most notable work was his take on Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly's Frankenstein. While working at Warren Publishing, he created adaptations of stories by H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe in black and white horror comics. His other horror comics are the House of Secrets, Weird Mystery Tales, and Creepshow.
Moebius: Known to be one of Europe's greatest illustrators, Jean Giraud aka Moebius combined speed and imagination in his comics. He built his reputation in the comic book industry in 1963 with Les Aventures de Blueberry and drew 28 volumes of the Blueberry story till 2005. In 1970 Moebius worked for a French comic Métal Hurlant through which he created various science fiction and fantasy stories. His influence spread to America and a monthly comic called Heavy metal was introduced in the country. Jean Giraud became a well-known figure in the world of comic books through his strange way of storytelling and his unique experiments with his characters and stories.
- Frank Miller: This American comic book artist was one among the big comic artists in the 1970s and 80s. He started his career in 1970 by creating art for The Twilight Zone, a comic series based on a television show. As an artist for Marvel Comics, he created the comic Daredevil, which was a huge success. Miller then went on to create a book of his own called Ronin which was published by DC Comics in the mid-eighties. His most famous work is Batman. His work on The Dark Knight Returns and The Dark Knight Strikes Again increased his popularity in the comic art world. Frank Miller was not only a comic book artist but also a writer who wrote the screenplay for movies such as Robocop 2 and Robocop3.
- Dave Sim: In 1977, Dave created a comic called Cerebus the Aardvark who lives in a different universe that Dave has created for him. Dave considered this be his life's work and committed himself to do 300 issues of Cerebus the Aardvark and it stands today as the longest self-published comic series. Dave completed his work on Cerebus the Aardvark in 2004. While working on Cerebus the Aardvark, he completed three full novels namely Cerebus the Barbarian, High Society, and Church and State. Other works are Dave Sim include 'Siu Ta, So Far', Judenhass and Glamourpuss.
- Art Spiegelman: This American artist talked about then Holocaust narratives of this family through his graphic novel Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History and Maus II: A Survivor’s Tale: And Here My Troubles Began, which examines the lives of his parents. In this novel Maus, the Jews are depicted as mice and Nazis as cats. Maus was a huge success that it earned Spiegelman Pulitzer Prize. Together with his wife, Spiegelman came up with Raw Magazine which depicted a new and unusual graphic story. Prior to Raw, Spiegelman also published a magazine called Arcade especially for underground comic artists.
These are the top 10 masters of comics who lead a legendary life and created comics that transcended time. Their work is revered today and it will for years to come.
(Image Source: Wikipedia)