Every year, we send out a survey to some of our favorite creators and ask them questions about the year in comics. We had an incredible response this year, and got creators from all corners of the comics world to weigh in one what they loved about comics in 2015. Every day this week, we will be sharing a different question from our questionnaire.
Hopefully these inspire you to check out some new books, and to give some other books a second look.
Our second question: in 2015, what artist(s) impressed you above the rest?
Rob Williams (Writer: Martian Manhunter, Unfollow): James Harren’s sheer energy on the page is stunning and so rare in comics. Anything Goran Parlov and RM Guera do. Love Marcos Martin. Immonen’s amazing and never seems to draw a bad panel. Mignola and Dave Stewart on “Hellboy in Hell” is astounding work. Chris Samnee. Doc Shaner. I’m forgetting so many, I’m sure.
Kate Leth (Writer: Power Up, Fresh Romance): I got to know and see the work of so many new artists this year – Jen Bartel, Elizabeth Beals, Laura Lewis, Brittney Williams, just to name a few – and I can’t pick just one. Perennial favourites are, of course, the Super Best Friends Club – Jake Wyatt, Kris Anka, Babs Tarr, Kevin Wada. Declan Shalvey continues to blow me away with his dedication to mastering traditional art. Everyone is just so good!
Ryan K. Lindsay (Writer: Negative Space, Headspace): As above, Wes Craig’s work in “Deadly Class” is a clinic for how to make comics be great comics. Colour is art and I am always impressed by the choices Marissa Louisa brings to the page. The cover fu of Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire on “Injection” manages to level up every single month. Mike del Mundo is clearly ascending to nirvana with every page he produces. And I really have to push for eyes on my collaborator on “Negative Space” because Owen Gieni’s work there is earth-shatteringly grand. His European influenced style, and his own colour choices, hugely made some emotional beats pop and I know he’s bringing the bioluminescent funk in 2016 that’s going to excite many many people.
Curt Pires (Writer: The Tomorrows, The Fiction): I really loved Sean Murphy’s work on “Tokyo Ghost” and “Chrononauts.” Not just his work, but the fact he delivers every month? Which, with the way his pages look, seems kind of insane to me. Xurxo Penalta’s stuff on “8house” was amazing. Chiang on “Paper Girls.” Muller’s design work was brilliant across the board and is always a treat to look at. Ramon Villalobos (Anti Christ Of Comics). Fiona’s stuff on “Saga” continues to amaze. I know I’m forgetting so many.
Erik Burnham (Writer: Ghostbusters: Get Real, Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues): I’ve got a laundry list. Evan Shaner (along with colorist Jordie Bellaire) and Erica Henderson (with Rico Renzi) are the reason “Convergence: Shazam” and “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” made my list of best books. Their cartooning is already great, but improves with every page. And the emotion they can wring from their characters? Top notch, and the acting they being to the characters is wonderful. I also need to mention Rachael Stott and Wilfredo Torres – these two are not just fantastic artists, but their skill with likenesses is uncanny.
Skottie Young (Artist: I Hate Fairyland, Rocket Raccoon): James Harren (“Rumble”) is on another level. Just a unique visual voice and his comics just move at all times. They never sit still. Greg Hinkle (“Airboy”)- holy SH*T. This guy is a cartoonist god of some sort. His work on “Airboy” just blew me away. Aaron Conley (“Sabertooth Swordsman”) is so fresh. His character is so full of volume and humor. I just love it.
Frank Barbiere (Writer: Five Ghosts, Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D.): Jonathan Brandon Sawyer’s work on “Welcome Back” is really fantastic. I think Declan Shalvey somehow continues to get even better, with fantastic work with Jordie Bellaire on “Injection.” Cliff Chiang is really knocking it out of the park on “Paper Girls,” with colorist Matt Wilson as well.Continued below
Sanford Greene (Artist: Power Man and Iron Fist, Ami-Comi Girls): I’m actually digging’ a ton of artist right now. But my boy Mike Del Mundo is crush in’ it right about now!
James Tynion IV (Writer: Batman and Robin Eternal, The Woods): I know it’s cheating, but I have to point to the incredible artists I’ve worked with this year. Riley Rossmo helped Ming Doyle and I create a whole new visual aesthetic for John Constantine that is both classic and entirely new. I feel like he’s been doing some of his best work of his career on that book, and I’m thrilled to work with him. With Michael Dialynas, my artist on “The Woods,” completely leveled up his already phenomenal style in the book’s second year, and it’s just been blowing me away, issue by issue. And Freddie Williams II is doing such incredible work on “Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” that I bet he ends up on a lot of people’s Best Artists list when we come back here a year from now. From Tony Daniel to Noelle Stevenson, from Eryk Donovan to Dustin Nguyen, From Roge Antonio to Vanesa R. Del Rey, I’ve spent this year working with some of the greatest artists in the comics medium, and every day I am impressed and overjoyed to see their work fill my inbox.
Chris Ryall (Editor in Chief, IDW Publishing): I’d say, rather than naming a name, just look at who IDW continually works with and you’ll get a good sense of who we love and admire. Since there are so many people I love, both at IDW and on other books, and so many folks doing very impressive things, it feels wrong to me to single any one out. But instead of totally cheating the answer, I’ll name someone we’ve never published, whose work only seems to get better, and that’s Adrian Tomine. As mentioned above, Killing and Dying was one of my favorite books of any kind this year.
Robin Herrera (Editor: The Bunker, Letter 44): Probably Tyson Hesse. He did an “Invader Zim” variant cover that turned out great, and when “Diesel” came out I was blown away. Cliff Chiang has done great work on “Paper Girls” so far – can’t wait to see more from him. Same with Sophie Campbell on “Jem and the Holograms” – her art was the perfect fit for that book, and her sense of fashion and character design is amazing.
Kyle Strahm (Artist: Spread, We Will Bury You): I’m always impressed by James Harren. His pages are bananas and the commissions he does via Felix Comic Art always blow me away.
Marguerite Bennett (Writer: DC Comics Bombshells, A Force): Marguerite Sauvage and Stephanie Hans are queens among artists, and I count my blessings every single time I get to send so much as a page to be drawn under their pens. I also can’t be trusted to be impartial, so I’m gonna glow about Ariela Kristantina, who I’ve gotten to work with on “InSEXt.” Her art is so rich, lush, gorgeous, and ghastly. She brings so much charm and sincerity to the absolute grotesquerie that I throw her way. Riley Rossmo on “Constantine the Hellblazer” is so ambitious, and gives this great messy quality that contributes so much to John’s world (and what he does to people).
Andrea Sorrentino (Artist: Old Man Logan, Green Arrow): Got to give it to JH Williams III for his incredible work on “Sandman Overture” and Esad Ribic for what he did on “Secret Wars.” Oh and that single issue “Multiversity: Pax Americana” from Frank Quitely is for me enough to put him among the best artists of the years as well.
Laurence Campbell (Artist: B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth, Punisher MAX): Mike Mignola shows us all how to do it. Simon Gane and Jordie Bellaire on “They’re Not Like Us” are doing a great job. Stuart Immonen and Wade Von Grawbadger took my breath away on “All New Captain America.”
Kieron Gillen (Writer: The Wicked + The Divine, Phonogram): I know this is perhaps putting laurels too close to home, but Matt Wilson is just doing unprecedented things. My EISNER FOR MATT WILSON is my favourite running joke, mainly that I’m not joking. That the first artist who came to mind was a colourist says a lot about where we are in 2015.Continued below
Robert Hack (Artist: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Archie Vs. Predator): Mignola’s work on “Hellboy in Hell” is constantly breathtaking.
Sebastian Girner (Editor: Tokyo Ghost, The Goddamned): Working with R.M.Guera on “The Goddamned” has reignited my awe for his art. It’s one thing to see a finished comic that you buy in stores. It’s quite another to be just that one bit closer to the process, see how an artist approaches a page, breaks it down and pounds it into shape.
Steve Orlando (Writer: Midnighter, Batman and Robin Eternal): The artists that most impressed me this year…it is hard to decide! I will always love “Prez” artist Ben Caldwell and “Convergence:Shazam”/”Justice League: Darkseid War: Green Lantern” artist Doc Shaner, and can’t sing their praises enough. I love Jesus Saiz’s work on whatever he does. And I have loved Tula Lotay’s cover work this year, which I think is incredibly exciting, along with Annie Wu’s work in “Black Canary: and :Archie” – OH and Erica Henderson’s work on “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” and “Jughead.”
Michael Walsh (Artist: Secret Avengers, Hank Johnson: Agent of Hydra): Stuart Immonen’s “Star Wars” stuff was just insane. I’ve never seen someone so good with likenesses. His pages are jammed with beautiful drawing, dynamic action and fluid likenesses.
Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson are absolutely killing it on “Paper Girls.” They are one of my favourite art teams in comics. With “Paper Girls” they changed up the style that they were refining in Wonder Woman and both creators are at the top of their game.
Paul Azaceta and Elizabeth Breitweiser are doing the best looking horror book on the stand with “Outcast.” The gritty inks and unsettling palettes are inspiring. This is one of the best looking comics out there.
Chad Bowers (Writer: X-Men ‘92, Deadpool: Bad Blood): Erica Henderson was everywhere, and I still wanted more! Mike Del Mundo’s work on “Weirdworld” blew me away, and I’m really looking forward to what he does with the new ongoing. But more than anybody else, Tom Scioli achieved some next level comic making, and I can’t wait to see what he does in 2016!
Paul Allor (Writer: Tet, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles): Paul Tucker. Chris Evenhuis. Soo Lee. Louie Joyce. Wait, these are all people I’m working with on upcoming projects! Dag, what a crazy coincidence! But seriously, I’ve been ridiculously, over-the-top lucky in terms of the artists I’ve worked with in my fledgling career, and they continue to impress me every damn day.
Chris Ross (Digital Director for Top Shelf): Vince Locke, Emi Lenox, Zander Cannon. Troy Little’s interpretaion of “green water and the White Rabbit” in the “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” adaptation will ensure his entry into comic artist Valhalla. Malachi Ward is great. Shannon Wheeler is eh. No wait, he’s fantastic.
Fabian Rangel Jr (Writer: Space Riders, The Storyteller: Dragons): This might sound like a cheat answer coming from me since I work with him, but Alexis Ziritt’s work on “Space Riders” blows my mind. No one is coming close to the insanity he puts on paper. Tyler Crook’s work on “Harrow County” is just so damn beautiful, it’s on another level. Goes without saying, but Mike Mignola on “Hellboy in Hell” is my jam. James Harren on “Rumble” is brain candy. Jason Latour on Southern Bastards for making all those fucked up characters look lived in if that makes sense.
Jacob Semahn (Writer: Goners, Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider Man): Kind of a cheat, but Jorge Corona is obviously gonna rise to be one of the greats in my opinion. Beyond that, Jonathan Case, Jillian Tamaki, and the aforementioned David Lapham all blow my mind.
Michael Moreci (Writer: Roche Limit, Burning Fields): I know I’m partial, but I had the pleasure of working with two absolute masters this year in Colin Loriner (“Burning Fields”) and Kyle Charles (“Roche Limit”). I feel like both of these artists transcended the comics medium in outstanding ways and deserve far, far more recognition than they’ve received. They have arguably done the best artwork in comics in 2015.
Mike Norton (Artist: Battlepug, Revival): That’s hard to say, but I did start noticing artists again in 2016. That sounds weird I know, but the year in particular I discovered and rediscovered a lot of people whose work I can’t look at enough.Continued below
Daniel Warren Johnson
Ray Anthony Height
Ryan Browne (Writer/Artist: God Hates Astronauts, Blast Furnace): I always like what Andrew Maclean does and it’s been great seeing his artwork everywhere. Also, Alejandro Bruzzese constantly blows my mind with his color and design sensibilities. I wish he did more comic work. SO GOOD.