Artist Spotlight: Esad Ribic

by Matt Tuck

082322C-1-1024x536 Artist Spotlight: Esad RibicAnytime you see the name Esad Ribic in the credits, you truly are holding a masterpiece in your hands. Today, let’s salute the modern master’s many gems.

Old-time collectors tend to view modern comics through a jaded lens. We compare the writing and artwork of today against what made us fall in love with comics in the first place. Gen-Xers like myself put the artistic styles of Alex Ross, Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, Mark Silvestri, and Rob Liefeld (despite all the memes) on a nigh unreachable pedestal. 

With every generation of artists and writers, the trends go in new directions. It’s normal to prefer your childhood favorites. While it’s easy to dismiss the current gen of creators, especially those with an anime style, in my case, as not being up to the Toddfather’s high standards, there are still plenty that deserve our respect. 

Esad-Ribic Artist Spotlight: Esad Ribic

One of the premiere modern artists is Esad Ribic. I place his realistic art style closer to Alex Ross than Jim Lee, and the work Ribic does is extraordinary. The Croatian artist has been on comics’ main stage for 19 years now. In my opinion, there’s not a single issue in his portfolio that is substandard.

He’s worked on some of Marvel’s biggest story arcs of the past two decades;  his pencils elevate any project he’s involved with. 

Screenshot-2022-08-23-095951 Artist Spotlight: Esad Ribic

The hardest part about today’s blog is deciding what to spotlight. Anything with his name on it will undoubtedly be fantastic. Instead of highlighting his most famous work on House of M, Secret Wars, and Jason Aaron’s acclaimed run on The Mighty Thor, some of his less famous comics deserve a second look.

KINGPIN #1 (2003)

Kingpin-1-2003-195x300 Artist Spotlight: Esad Ribic

With Vincent D’Onofrio making a return to his Daredevil role, more collectors have been watching 2004’s Kingpin #1. This was Wilson Fisk’s first solo title, and either Echo or Daredevil: Born Again could pull from the series for source material. It also happens to be Ribic’s first issue with Marvel.

Fair market values aside, what makes this series so great is the artwork. Some of Kingpin’s most famous portraits come from these issues as Fisk is brought to life in stunning detail. Ribic’s realistic artwork is perfect for characters grounded in the actual world. It’s not a sentence you read often, but Kingpin was simply stunning in Ribic’s hands.

LOKI #1 (2003)

Loki-1-2004-196x300 Artist Spotlight: Esad Ribic

Ribic has always had a way with the villains. Whether it’s Kingpin, Gorr the God Butcher, Minotaur, or Loki, the bad guys never looked as menacing as they did when Ribic was holding the pencil. Along with Kingpin, he also drew the God of Mischief’s first solo comic.

This would normally be a forgettable title outside hardcore Loki fans, but again, it’s the artwork that should have you giving the issue a second look. It’s also the first time we see Ribic’s Thor long before he and Aaron joined creative forces. Loki #1’s cover art is enough to make it worth the price of admission.

UNCANNY X-FORCE #1 (2010)

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This is the team that Marvel needs to reunite. Ribic and writer Rick Remender combined their talents to produce arguably the best X-Men story of the 21st Century. The pair proved in “The Apocalypse Solution” that they understood what fans love about the X-Men. First and foremost, it was something the current X-Men creative team hasn’t grasped; this was a team of violent, complex characters, which is what we want from the X-Men. The initial lineup featured Wolverine, Archangel, Psylocke, Fantomex, and Deadpool, who was given more depth here than at any other time.

The story itself was intelligent and dramatic with a moral dilemma that led to a shocking ending. It also was action-packed and brought to life by Ribic’s masterful drawings. This is the template from which all modern X-Men books should be made. 

SO MUCH MORE

By no means does this brief list do Ribic’s extensive catalog justice. He’s been part of the best Marvel’s had to offer in the past 20 years, and there are so many issues that I couldn’t list them all in a single post. Trust me, take the time to familiarize yourself with as many Esad Ribic comics as you can. You can thank me later.

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aa-comiclist-footer Artist Spotlight: Esad Ribic*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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