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Topic: Who Is The Best Superman Artist Post Reply | Post New Topic
Scott Adsit
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Posted: 19 September 2021 at 9:52pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I was looking at Superman as drawn by Mikel Janín in Superman And The Authority and it's a great, classic take. He looks solid, wise, fatherly yet farmboy-ish, clever, open and witty.

And it just looks like him. He owes it all the the masters, but he's captured the essence of Superman well.

I have my favorite Superman artists, Mr. Byrne, Alex Ross, Tim Sale, Wayne Boring, George Perez, Steve Rude. There are others I'd like to see more Superman from like Chris Sprouse, Adam Hughes, Phil Noto.

Which artists capture the image of Superman the best for you and whom would you like to see take a crack at the guy in a series?

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Bruce Eaton
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Posted: 19 September 2021 at 10:21pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Curt Swan was Superman when I was growing up.

Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez did a great version as did Neal Adams on a number of powerful covers, but never inside the book. I liked Mike Grell's Superboy, does that count?

Frank Quitely's version on All-Star Superman was refreshing and really stood out to me.

Stjepan Sejic is one of my favorite artists of the newer generation and I'd be curious to see what he'd do with Superman.

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Marc M. Woolman
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Posted: 20 September 2021 at 12:03am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I like Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez the best for Superman artists. I would have liked to have seen John Romita sr. (In his prime) tackle Superman.
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Jason Czeskleba
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Posted: 20 September 2021 at 12:24am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Wayne Boring is my favorite.  Love his way with facial expressions, and the idiosyncratic way he sometimes made Superman appear to walk in the sky while flying. 

Like everyone else I also love Curt Swan.

My favorite of the golden-age artists is Jack Burnley.

The Mikel Janin work is not bad, but the first thing that struck me is how tall Superman looked.  JFK was 6'1", so he's drawing a Superman that's approaching 7 feet.  Superman should not be that tall.
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 20 September 2021 at 12:38am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Curt Swan was definitely THE Clark Kent artist!  John Byrne, Neal Adams, and Alex Ross all did a great Superman, but I might have to give it to Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez.  
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Joe Zhang
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Posted: 20 September 2021 at 12:50am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

There is a select group of incredible artists who have done Superman stories. Among them Curt Swan was the most committed, so he has to be the "best". 
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Mark Haslett
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Posted: 20 September 2021 at 1:22am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Jason-- I love the Burnley issues I've seen so much, and I really haven't ever heard anyone else mention him.

My all-time favorite Superman is Curt Swan's version from the Daily strip-- with grey duo-shade. The neck, haircut, squinty eyes, set lip-- he's just terrific.

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John Wickett
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Posted: 20 September 2021 at 3:43am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

" did Neal Adams on a number of powerful covers, but never inside the book."

Check out Superman vs. Muhammed Ali.  Maybe the best drawn Superman story of all time.  Also World's Finest #175, along with a few others in that series.

IMO Neal Adams was the best artist on any character he touched at DC or Marvel in the 60s and 70s.  

Jose Luis Garcia Lopez would be my #2 in the Pre-Crisis era.  As you said, he only did a few issues of interiors on Superman and Action, but there are also several issues of DC Comics Presents.  Absolutely beautiful artwork.

Swan's volume of work makes him clearly the definitive Superman artist of the Silver and Bronze ages.  Not many artists have consistently produced the amount of monthly content that Swan produced over so many years, which makes him special, but in terms of the quality of his work, I never considered him one of the greats.  

Because there is such wide spread love of Swan's work, I've tried to see what I am missing, and appreciate him more, but I just don't get it.  There are examples of some great looking panels, including the one posted by Mark Haslett, but overall Swan's Superman just falls flat for me.  I'm glad others enjoy him as much as they do, but I guess he's just not my cup of tea.  Honestly, I even prefer Rich Buckler's occasional fill-ins from that era.  

Edited by John Wickett on 20 September 2021 at 3:52am
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Petter Myhr Ness
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Posted: 20 September 2021 at 3:47am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Swan set the standard for me. 

So many other greats from that same era, like Garcia-Lopez and Dick Dillin. 

But JB's Superman is probably the one I'm most fond of. He captured everything that was great about the character, with his own touch.

I'm also a huge fan of the work Jerry Ordway and Tom Grummett did on the character, while Steve Rude draws a fantastic classic-looking Superman. 

I'd love to have seen Adam Hughes or Brian Bolland do interior art on Superman. 
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John Wickett
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Posted: 20 September 2021 at 4:13am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I agree Petter.  In the late 80s the Superman titles benefitted from some great artists; Byrne, Ordway, Perez, Jurgens- even Kerry Gammil, who I think is often underrated.  

More recently, Gary Frank, Jim Lee, Tony Daniel and Ivan Reis had some good runs.  

Across all eras, I'd say my favorites are:

5.  Garcia Lopez
4.  Frank
3.  Ordway
2.  Byrne
1.  Adams

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Greg McPhee
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Posted: 20 September 2021 at 4:23am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Mine are a fairly mixed bag. I put JLGL at the top as I see his Superman as the seminal one in the late 70s and early 80s through merchandising and licencing work he did. His illustrating of a handful of stories just set the bar higher than the Curt Swan work. It was dynamic.

Curt Swan had a good long stint and produced quality work, but when JLGL and Gil Kane came on to the books in the 80s, they really showed us a whole new look. are mine:

  • José Luis García-López
  • Curt Swan
  • Dan Jurgens
  • John Byrne
  • Gil Kane
  • Wayne Boring
  • Jerry Ordway
  • Kerry Gammill
  • Dick Dillin
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Ted Downum
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Posted: 20 September 2021 at 4:24am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Curt Swan for me, followed by J.L. Garcia-Lopez and JB. 

I've enjoyed lots of other takes on Superman, though: Wayne Boring, Ross Andru, Gil Kane, Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Ed McGuinness, Alex Ross, and Frank Quitely all spring to mind.

One of the things I genuinely enjoyed about CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS was George Perez drawing both Earth-1 Superman and Earth-2 Superman, sometimes on the same page. The more George Superman, the better! 

Bruce mentioned Mike Grell's Superboy above, which I also thought was superb. I always liked Keith Giffen's Superboy in LEGION, before Giffen changed up his style.

Among your newer artists, Gary Frank does a great job with Superman (and with Clark Kent), and Ivan Reis isn't bad, either.
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