Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Thoughts on Artistic Peaks

I've enjoyed reading thousands of comics over the years, and this blog has allowed me to more closely examine examine the work of my favorite artists. In the course of rating and reviewing over 3,0000 issues thus far (and counting), one thing seems clear to me: all the artists have similar trajectories regarding the quality of their work. For most of them, their early efforts were amateurish. As primitive as their drawings were, though, each (in my opinion) had a distinctive quality that hinted at their future potential. Many artists' first works were attempts at emulating their more experienced (and highly acclaimed) forebears. From there, their artwork evolved into more individual expressions and experimentations, resulting in their finest contributions to comics (their peaks). Eventually, their skill and enthusiasm would slowly diminish, oftentimes toward the end of their careers. The artistic peaks for each artist (in my humble opinion) are as follows: Neal Adams (late 1960s-early 1970s), Matt Baker (mid to late 1950s), Carl Barks (mid to late 1950s), Frank Brunner (early 1970s), John Byrne (early1980s), Steve Ditko (1960s), Frank Frazetta (1950s), Russ Heath (late 1960s, early 1970s), Al Hubbard (late 1950s), Jeff Jones (early 1970s), Jack Kirby (1940s, late 1960s, early 1970s), Joe Kubert (1960s to early 1970s), Russ Manning (1960s), Frank Miller (early 1980s), Don Newton (1970s), Alex Nino (1970s), Mike Ploog (early 1970s), Nestor Redondo (early to mid 1970s), Marshall Rogers (late 1970s, early 1980s), Walt Simonson (mid 1970s, early 1980s), Barry Windsor Smith (early 1980s), Jim Starlin (mid 1970s), Jim Steranko (late 1960s), Alex Toth (mid to late 1950s), Al Williamson (1960s, 1970s), Wally Wood (mid to late 1950s) and Bernie Wrightson (early 1970s). Many of these giants have passed away, but with respect to the living artists, the assessments are based on comic book works prior to 2000. This is one man's opinion, but I'd welcome other viewpoints.

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