iFanboy Video Podcast

iFanboy #240 – Comic Book Art and Artists

Show Notes

Without art and artists, comic books are just words. And what would be the point of that?

Ron Richards, Josh Flanagan, and Conor Kilpatrick talk about what makes up their favorite comic book art, what some of the early favorites were, and who is doing the best artwork in comic books today. The idea of art is certainly subjective, but there are a few things all three can agree on; things like Darwyn Cooke, for example.

From style to to storytelling, and artists who used to draw one way, and now do it another, we try to cover as much as we can.


Get Involved

Doing the podcast is fun and all, but let's be honest, listening to the 2 of us talk to each other can get repetitive, so we look to you, the iFanboy listeners to participate in the podcast! "How can I get in on the fun?" you may ask yourself, well here's how:

  • E-Mail us at contact@ifanboy.com with any questions, comments or anything that may be on your mind.

Please don't forget to leave your name and where you're writing from and each week, we'll pick the best e-mails to include on the podcast!


  1. This was recorded pre-NYCC? And you knew the bail bonds man? Oh and your discussion on art was interesting as well. I personally don’t pay attention to the artist on a book, I am a pure story guy, but the person who did the secret invasion issues of X-Factor was really bad and made people like Darwin look like they had down syndrome. That one was a little hard to read.

  2. interesting discussion,
    my one peeve has been getting me cringing for a while now,
    youve been throwing around the term photo-realistic like it was was a bad word, while none of you are using it correctly.
    the only guy in comics who really does this kind of work is alax ross.
    I think youre getting confused with the realistic approach some of the modern artists have taken with their cartooning. this is done by adding more details that exist in the real world as opposed to the cartoony-ness of jack Kirby and the likes.

    other than that, great show guys , keep it up with the great original shows you have been creating lately.

    • Yeah, artisitically there’s a difference between photo-realisitc and photo referencing, which is what most people mean when they talk about it in the comic book world. It’s become a muddled term, industry-wide.

    • Yeah the Photo-realism thing really irks me because the term has become comic book world vernacular but its used completely wrong. If you’re into fine art, you could argue it completely disrespects that important art movement by stealing and repurposing the term.

  3. I’m not positive which artist stood out to me first as amazing– I think it was McFarlane– but I remember the first one I couldn’t stand. I just could not deal with Sal Buscema on Spectacular Spider-Man. He was inked by either himself or a trained chicken.

    • But wait, no! It was Mike Zeck on Secret Wars and Arthur Adams on Longshot. My first loves.

    • Those Spectacular issues… I did not like them.

    • Heh, I was going to mention those Buscema issues. Spectacular #200 is one of the first comics, if not THE first that I had a strong emotional reaction to. I attached it to the art for whatever reason, and tried to keep up with Buscema’s work.

      Larry Stroman is another who had a different, kind of weird style that I liked at the time. It was offbeat, it was funky. I think X-Factor #71 was the first thing I had seen by him, and once again, I tried to get more. Really difficult back then.

  4. I remember being 8 years old and seeing Alex Ross art for the first time in an issue of Wizard and i thought this is the greatest thing i’ve ever seen in my entire life. And maybe a year or two later seeing Mike Alred for the first time and thinking what the hell is this even? I hate it. Now i guess as i’ve grown up and diversified my taste and learned to appreciate more art styles I absolutely love Alred. But I think my number one guy right now would have to be Gary Frank. Anything he does is golden.

  5. I just appreciate any ones art just because I envy those that can draw comics. My first CB was with the Jim Lee, Mcfarlane area in comics like Ron. I’m a huge ultimate Spiderman fan so i really enjoyed all the artists that came on that book, But know I like going back and really appreciate the old school art that Conor likes. Man, Iove comics. Great show guys. Thanks

    Something that’s off topic: Ron, you look like you are losing some weight. awesome man, and I’m working on your ice cream combo Josh.

  6. MY favorite artist is Ryan Ottley, and Rob Guillory is probably a close second. I love tons of artists like Tony Harris, Mike Huddlestein, Dan Duncan, Jason Howard, Todd McFarlane, Greg Capullo, Leinil Francis Yu, and many others. I tend to only read non-Marvel/DC comics, and the only thing that really detracts from that is that I miss out on amazing artists like Greg Capullo now, Cliff Chiang, Travel Foreman, Steve McNiven, Chris Samnee, Gabriel Hardman, etc. I just can’t bring myself to care about the stories they do, but there is just too much great art out there, and I need to take Josh’s advice and I just can’t read everything good. But I do find myself more than ever appreciating art and I love small connections between books I read like colorists (my favorite being FCO Plasencia) and inkers. I love comics. 🙂

  7. Great discussion guys. While I appreciate what Josh is saying and while I do love my Scalped and Hellblazer, Michael Turner gets my vote every time. When I think of superheroes I think of physically flawless men and woman. Check out the Supergirl arc of Batman/Superman by Jeph Loeb and Turner to better illustrate (heh) what I am saying.

  8. Gents,

    Any thoughts on artists where their interior work impresses but cover work doesn’t? Or vice versa?

    • I tend to love Phil Noto’s covers/pin-ups but I find his interiors to be hit and miss.

    • I thought Hickman’s interior looked like a selection of covers…

    • In Phil Notos case i’m with conor. He got my attention with his awesome sketches and when i checked his interior i was a bit disappointed. His work on the Wolverine/Jubilee Mini was great, but his Avengers Origin and DC Stuff did nor wow me at all.

    • Michael Lark, Sean Phillips, JH Williams III and David Aja are some of my favourit artist which i discovered in my second run at comics which started about 5 years ago. Back when i started reading as a kid i liked (and still do) Jim Lee, Graham Nolan, Kelley Jones and of course JRjr.

  9. Tim Sale was probably the first artist I recognized due to his highly stylized work and I tracked down all the stuff of his I could find. Some of my favorites are Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba, Frank Quitely, Chris Samnee, Dave Johnson on covers, Jeff Lemire, Gabriel Hardman, Darwyn Cooke, Alan Davis, Francis Manapul, Michael Lark, Alex Ross covers, and I’m really digging Paolo Rivera on Daredevil.

    Biggest turn off though is Howard Chaykin.

  10. I’m actually a fan of some of the painter-type of artists. Sejic (Witchblade) really brought me into the TopCow world. I like that the painters are controlling their colors at the same time too.
    With that Skottie Young is just amazing, cartoony goodness.

    The ability to tell the story, moving from character to character without reader confusion is one of the best things an artist can achieve no matter the style.

  11. Quitely, Williams the third, Manapul.

  12. Another really interesting topic and its awesome to hear people not be snobby and to hear people actually say:

    “If I don’t like the art I don’t buy it.” And accept its a visual medium and not be snobby and say “You need to learn to appreciate it.”

    I often find some people think that an emotional reaction is silly but that’s the whole point of comics really. Its that balance and if art and story don’t affect you personal it just wont work for you.

    Conversely I really like Greg Land and I truly detest Steve Dillon and I cannot buy books by him. I just can’t deal with it.

    And I love the pose-y ness art of Alex Ross. It feels like fine art and I like that being bought to comics. But only when he does it as it feels like he is doing it on purpose. Other people feel like they are trying to hard to be clever.

  13. The first artist I noticed was Alex Ross when I read Kingdom Come. I remember being a little upset when I bought Project Superpowers and he only did the covers. I didn’t realize yet that cover artists didn’t draw interiors.

  14. i feel like i’m the only person who loves dan hipp’s work. and i will gladly buy anything he works on.

    it’s not that hard. he hasn’t done that much.

    other artist i dig: mike mignola, joe mad, bendis, ted naifeh and doug tennapel.

  15. Form me my top 5 is: 1.Jim Lee 2.Mark Bagley 3. George Perez 4. Dale Eaglesham 5. Frank Cho

  16. Ron sings very creepily.

  17. I recently came to the conclusion that, gun to my head, I favour art over story, which actually surprised me because it was not a conscious thing. When I’m undecided on whether or not to buy a comic, it’s the art that makesor breaks the deal. Nine times outta ten, anyway.

  18. Early reading of 2000AD made Dave Gibbons and Brian Bolland my first loves. The anthology nature of Britsh comics always made me conscious of art I did and didn’t like as a page turn led to a new style.
    For a longtime I hated it when I’d turn to a Kevin O’Niel page, I love him now; guess I’m growing up.

  19. some gabriele dell’otto art is amazing. Though colorists can have a huge affect of the art for me

  20. Greg Capullo is dishing out some fantastic art on Batman. I also like Adam Hughes but wish he did interior art more often.

  21. two words ,matt kindt

  22. Not to nitpick, but when you guys are discussing Neil Adams, you show a page from ‘Untold Legend of the Batman’ which was drawn by Jim Aparo, not Adams. Incidentally, ‘Untold Legend’ was the first comic book I remember reading: I had the audio book version and read that sucker until the covers fell off. Aparo certainly mimicked Adams early in his career (as did a lot of people) but by the time he was drawing ‘Untold Legend’ and ‘Brave and the Bold,’ he established his own style which has always defined Batman for me. Just look at the size of those Bat-hands!

  23. J.H. Williams blows my mind with every Batwoman issue. There was a panel in issue #2 where Detective Sawyer shows the progression of a fight between the gangsters and the mutant-things that absolutely FLOORED me. I was thinking about that panel for days after that, and I spent a solid 15 minutes in those two pages alone.

  24. Norm Breyfogle was the first guy I took notice of and his Batman is still the Batman I see in my head. Also I think I remember getting those George Perez anti-drug Teen Titans specials in school and thinking they looked much cooler than regular comics.

  25. Readin all the comments i realized how many artists are working right now and that i even like a whole lot of them. Normally its way easier to criticise, but with a few exceptions i can’t think of artist who i really dislike.

  26. Im amazed Francis Manapul wasnt mentioned

  27. Johnathan Hickman? His nightly news work just showed me a whole new level.
    X-men will always be John Byrne in my minds eye!There was a time I jumped to ANY title he was drawing, Alpha Flight, Fantastic Four, Avengers, the Thing?

  28. prob. the first comic artist i can remember seeing as a kid was jim appro and mike grell ,but my faves are jack kirby ,darwynn,cooke,jim sterano, alexross ,kauluta ,dave stevens

  29. oh and connor you and vince vaughn sound so muck alike!

Leave a Comment