Mike Norton Looks Back

Over at his self-effacingly titled website ihatemike.com, Mike Norton posted some of his early work, including these Spider-Man tryout pages from 1993. Mike, again self-effacingly, doesn’t speak too highly about the pages, but I have to say that I was actually fairly impressed. Clearly, the style is of a time, but it’s far from offensive. But more importantly, as you look at them, put on your storytelling hat, and notice that, with no words at all, the sequence of events is dead on. Emotions and body language all make it clear how they’re feeling from moment to moment. 

Some other pages were also posted that were perhaps a little rougher, but again, of the time, and compared to the biggest comics of the era, they’re not so bad either. In these, a giant mullet-headed jogger attempts to get his swerve on with a lady, when they are accosted by some weird combination or Nightcrawler and Sabretooth, who might be a character I just don’t know. Truthfully, there might be some issues with the giant, giant arms on the inconvenienced jogger, but they’re not that bad.

It was really cool to see the progression of a professional’s artwork. It actually prompted another DC artist, Jamal Igle, to do the same on his blog, sharing a story he did in 1995 called Massachusetts State Police: Watchtower Division, clearly an intriguing title, to say the least. Make sure to read the comments as well, to get an insight into some of the things artists have to deal with, like not being able to draw people walking stairs for example.



  1. Wow! Great website Josh, but I don’t know about his headers called "Crappy Art." I don’t really know much of his personality, but does he have that artsy persona of someone who hates their own work? Good stuff. Thanks.

  2. I think artists tend to either really hate their own work, or just always think they can do better, OR they can love their work above all else, but say they hate it, so as not to appear gauche.

    I know Mike’s not a jerk, so my I would say he’s overly humble.

  3. Mike Norton = One of the good guys in the industry.

    Mike is the kind of artist that will literaly kill himself to make a deadline.

  4. Love the Crankcast!

  5. Plus, his art is absolutely awesome.  Including his work on Green Arrow/Black Canary #13 this week.  I am assuming he drew Ron, Josh, and Conor.  Or was it Wayne Faucher (according to the info on this site they are both listed as artists)?

  6. @stuclach – It was Mike Norton.

  7. Mike Norton is a super awesome guy. You folks should definetly check out him and his buddy Crank on the Crankcast. You may find it dull at first, but after an episode or two, you probably won’t be able to stop listening to it, even if you may not be able to explain why.

  8. I really enjoyed Mike’s art on GA/BC and will definitely follow him in his new projects.  I thought those Spider-Man pages were really good.

  9. @ChrisiNeseman Literally kill himself?  Really?  Really?

  10. Neseman is being flagged for improper use of the word literally.  Ten yards!

  11. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    In regards to hating your own work…

    Satisfaction is death.   

  12. @ Flanagan. Bite me.


  13. la petite mort?

  14. Wow squarespace did a great job designing his website. I haven’t checked it out for a while. Mike is part of a crew called the Lead Poets Society. A black and white artists get together that sounds like a blast, the members pick a topic and have the night to draw on that topic-HOW COOL!

  15. I have to catch up on Mike’s work in Trinity, but I really enjoyed his work with Gail Simone on All New Atom. When I was reading those, I felt like I was holding everything a comic could be in my hands.  Those Spiderman pages from 1993 are pretty good looking, but he’s come a ways. I remember him talking on Around Comics close to year ago, about how he didn’t know his own style, or he didn’t really feel like he had one. I think that style has really been shining through though, since right about the time he made those comments.

    @g0ofgnewt – There were some great videos from the Crankcast where they followed the group out to a bar one evening, and we get to see them all working. Did you catch those?