Comics is a kind of mass culture and the way to tell a story using images and text sketches at the same time. It basically synthesizes literary and visual creativity. And even though comics sometimes called a form of “low art”, it does not stop its characters and creators of having a significant impact on the development of popular culture.
It all begins in 1938 when Superman came into our world from the first issue of Action Comics. Creation and designing characters along with the worlds that superheroes have to defend becomes a separate form of art. And comic artists start gaining more and more popularity and hundreds of fans around the world. Today we would like to dive a little into the history of comics and learn more about the most famous artists of comics industry.
1. John Romita Jr
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John Romita Jr is a New York writer and comic book artist. He is the son of another famous American comic book artist John Romita Sr – the author of Spider-Man comic book series. In cooperation with writer Roger Stern, Romita Jr. created such character as the Hobgoblin and drew the issue in which Spider-Man meets Juggernaut. Also John Romita Jr worked on the comic book Kik Ass together with the writer Mark Miller.
But the real fame came to John after he created an Iron Man stories about billionaire and philanthropist Tony Stark, who becomes a superhero to save the world. His bold compositions of frames still affect the work of younger cartoonists to the present day.
2. Brian Bolland
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Brian Bolland is a British comic book artist and graphic designer. Immediately after studying he dipped into the work of illustrating fantasy stories. Bolland soon becomes an active participant in the era of “British invasion”, when American creators of comic characters mostly hired illustrators from Britain.
The highest compliment to the British artist was the proposal to work on any DC character. And in 1988 comes out the legendary comics “Batman: The Killing Joke” written by Alan Moore. This is the story about the origin of the Joker.
Bolland’s works affect the culture till these days: Heath Ledger called “The Killing Joke” a source of inspiration for his role as a Joker in the “The Dark Knight” movie. He carefully studied the graphic novel before shooting and used Bolland’s character as a reference.
3. Will Eisner
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Will Eisner is an American illustrator and comics artist. He is recognized as one of the most important and beloved figures in the global comics industry. He made a considerable contribution to the comics’ development and therefore often called the “Father of graphic novels”.
Will Eisner began his career as a comics cartoonists in the New York American newspaper and later in Wow, What A Magazine !, for which he wrote and drew comic strips. However his most famous work “The Spirit” was published in 1940 and in 2008 brought onto the big screen.
4. Jim Steranko
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Jim Steranko is an American graphic designer, illustrator and comic book artist. Jim’s first job was for Harvey Comics. Later he meets Stan Lee, American comics author, who brought Jim to Marvel company.
Steranko revolutionized art of graphic presentation of the stories. His brief three issues have given Capitan America a new life. But Jim is best known for his iconic cover of Giant-Size Hulk. This image is still considered one of the best comic book covers of all times. Steranko’s publishing house SuperGraphics published a two-volume “History of Comics”, which is a must read for all beginner cartoonists.
5. Osamu Tezuka
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Osamu Tezuka is a Japanese illustrator, who’s often called the Walt Disney of Japan. The whole world knows Osamu’s famous character “Astro Boy”. For the first time «Astro Boy» took off into the world in 1951 and since then it became the most popular and beloved Japanese hero. “Astro Boy” has even become an honorary citizen of the city of Saitama, where the author’s studio is located.
Osamu Tezuka is called the “Father of Anime” and “God of Manga”, as he has always been a few years ahead of other illustrators. Osamu was an inventor of the “big eyes” in Japanese animation and felt himself equally comfortable in any genre, whether it was sci-fi, mystery or horror story.
8. Steve Ditko
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Steve Ditko is an American illustrator and cartoonist. He worked with Marvel Company, developing images of the Hulk, Iron Man and Spider Man. His new look at Spider Man brought incredible success to the illustrator. Ditko shines in drawing facial expressions: the characters look intrigued, worried and furious. His designs were innovative and many believe that during his work on the first issue of Spider Man, he made everyone take a fresh look at the New York.
7. Frank Miller
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Frank Miller is a modern American illustrator and graphic designer. Frank’s work is distinguished by a pronounced cinematic quality and he is often praised for his dark, noir style. Frank’s graphic novels “Sin City” and “300” made a splash on the big screen. But among the comic book fans he is best known as the creator of “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns”, which has changed the world of comics and forced it to focus more on adult audience.