Since I've done this before, I had some repeats from the previous lists, so I had to cross them off and replace them with other names.
1. Jack Kirby. I missed him the first two times around (both times thinking "I'll get to Jack" and then getting to the end of the list and missing Jack. Jack Kirby did not draw in a way that appealed to young me, but given the right inker (or no inker), the power of Kirby's art really speaks to me.
2. Walter Simonson. Also an acquired taste. I didn't like Simonson much as a youth, and thought his style was too angular, but I've recently come around on him. The way he composes pages, the angles he uses, even the sound effects and how they interact with the pictures — Simonson is awesome. And I mean that in the most literal way possible.
3. Carl Barks. You knew Barks would be on this list. Sharp, fluid storytelling with minimal detail, until he decides, hey, I'm just gonna put in some detail.
4. Don Rosa. Barks with an edge, you could call him. Rosa did more in the way of shadow work and rendering, which makes sense when you consider he's got a BA in civil engineering. I don't know which of the two of them I like more, and thankfully I don't have to choose.
5. Brian Crane. Pickles is easily my favorite comic strip today. Crane's characters, especially Opal and Earl, are drawn with affection.
6. Goseki Kojima. Chalk this one up to recency as I've been reading Lone Wolf and Cub, but Kojima's use of lines really makes me happy.
7. Samm Schwartz. Mrs. Cube's favorite Archie artist, Samm's the one who really ran with "Lots of background jokes happening all at once." And "Yes, comics are all pictures, and that means you can play with everything." Check out Archie's shirt below.
8. Jackson "Butch" Guice. Butch Guice was never not a good artist.
9. Harry Lucey. My favorite Archie artist. Harry was a master of motion. And also, apparently, really into his cheesecake, to the point where he just drew the girls naked a lot and clothes had to be drawn on them postproduction.
10. Shannon Wheeler. Shannon Wheeler is funny.
11. Mike Deodato. I'm not a big fan of his use of famous faces for some characters, but Deodato seems to really try hard with every comic I've seen him do to find new methods of storytelling.
12. Chris Samnee. One of the main reasons I couldn't drop Daredevil in the end there. Samnee's crisp, solid, and just a plain good storyteller. His work is a joy to look at.
13. Paolo Rivera. When Daredevil by Mark Waid was announced, I bought it for Marcos Martin. I stayed for Paolo Rivera.
14. John Buscema. The cover to Silver Surfer #4 is probably my favorite cover of all time, but Buscema as a storyteller doesn't really kick off for me until the mid-80s. His work on Avengers: Under Siege and Assault on Olympus show a nuance and subtlety that most artists can learn from.
15. Dan DeCarlo. A while back, Archie released a 1,000-page digest. As per every Archie digest, it was full of new stuff, old stuff, and stuff from different artists. So I'm reading it and enjoying it, and I'm noticing the differences between them. Fernando Ruiz likes a certain type of face. Dan Parent loves closed eyes and certain poses. Stan Goldberg likes to be a bit more bombastic, and old Stan Goldberg, unfortunately, lost a step, the kind you lose with age. All of sudden, there's a strip that from the start just looks crisper, fresher, and just plain better done than the rest, and I actually had to do a double take, because I didn't realize just how much better Dan DeCarlo was in his prime than everyone else. Mrs. Cube and I have different tastes, and they rarely overlap, but one thing we agree on is who the most important and best Archie artist is. And that's Dan DeCarlo.