We all love arguing about who is the Greatest of All Time? In professional basketball, is it Michael or LeBron the GOAT? In football, is it Jerry Rice or Tom Brady?
For our comic book investors, who is the greatest comic book artist of all time?
Kirby is responsible for illustrating some of the most important comic book issues in history, including Captain America Comics #1, Fantastic Four #1, Incredible Hulk #1, Journey Into Mystery #83, Avengers #1, X-Men #1, and countless other key issues. Another factor in Kirby’s favor is the fact that Kirby illustrated key issues in the Golden, Silver, and Bronze Ages. Talk about impressive.
Keep an eye out for his distinctive “Kirby Krackle” that he used to illustrate the Power Cosmic. Taika Waititi brought Jack Kirby’s art to life in Thor: Ragnarok.
It’s hard NOT to mention Steve Ditko’s name when discussing the greatest comic book artists of all time. After all, he is responsible for creating Marvel’s most important character, the amazing Spider-Man.
In addition, Ditko created Spider-Man’s famous rogue gallery, including Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, and Kraven the Hunter. And, like Kirby, Ditko was a prolific artist, with his work spanning well over half a century.
Still, I wouldn’t call him the GOAT, but he’s likely in the top five.
For those of us who collected comics in the late 1980s and 1990s, we all know about Todd McFarlane. With the exception of Jim Lee, McFarlane may be the most famous comic book artist of the Copper Age. He is responsible for penciling numerous iconic covers, including the cover for Amazing Spider-Man #300 (1988), arguably the most important comic book of the Copper Age.
McFarlane and Lee made comics so popular that they ushered in the Modern Age of comics, a period that inflated a speculative bubble that later popped in the 1990s. Known for his highly detailed style, seen, for example, in his depictions of Batman’s capes or Spider-Man’s webs, McFarlane has illustrated numerous iconic covers coveted by collectors.
Lee has left significant imprimatur on comic book history, including the founding of Image Comics.
For those of us who collected comics in the late 1980s and early 1990s, we all know about Jim Lee. With the exception of Todd McFarlane, Lee may is the most famous comic book artist of the Copper Age. Lee and McFarlane made comics so popular that they ushered in the Modern Age of comics, a period that inflated a speculative bubble that later popped in the 1990s.
Personally, after Alex Ross, I think he’s the greatest in terms of technical skill. Check out this blog I wrote about the importance of Jim Lee’s artwork on the history of comics.
In comparison to the other artists here, Alex Ross hasn’t illustrated that many key issues; however, many fans have praised Ross for his painted and realistic renderings of classic comic book characters. For example, the cover he painted for Captain America #23 may be the most realistic depiction of Captain America ever seen. In terms of realism, you’d be hard-pressed to name an artist who is more skilled than Ross. Is he the GOAT?
Did I miss anyone? Neal Adams? John Byrne? Tell us who YOU think the greatest comic book artist of all time is in the comments section below!