Jun 30, 2010

Top Five Spider-Man Artists Who Don't Get Enough Credit

Welcome to the first installment in our Spider-Man Week! Today, we list five Spider-Man artists who don't get enough credit. These are five artists that I really enjoy, but seem to not really get the attention they deserve. Ready? Let's go!

5. Marcos Martin

Yes, I know just how celebrated Marcos Martin is currently in the current, Brand New Day Spider-Man regime, and I'm here to tell you that if you're missing out on the current Spider-Man titles, you are seriously missing out on this guy's amazing work. His storytelling skills and layout abilities have very few peers in today's market. Everything looks dynamic, and, a Marcos Martin page, taken as a whole, often looks like a poster.

I consider Marcos Martin as a modern-day Steve Ditko. His inventiveness when it comes to the wall-crawler has no equal.

4. Steven Butler

My first exposure to  Steven Butler's work was also, oddly enough, my first exposure to Kurt Busiek's work. In Web of Spider-Man 81, the webslinger comes across a new enemy named Bloodshed. Even though Bloodshed was so clearly a relic of the 90s, the story was so good that I read that issue until it came off the staples. And the art, well, I thought the art was just splendid.

So years later, I was happy when Steven Butler got the regular job on Web, and I instantly bought the first official chapter of what would eventually be the infamous Clone Saga.

I thought and still think that Steven Butler was a solid storyteller, but what makes it for me is his near-perfect combination of cartoony exaggeration and detail.

Steven Butler drew Web of Spider-Man 81, 117-120, 122-125, and 127-129. He drew the covers for 117-129. He then went on to draw Sonic the Hedgehog for Archie Comics and pioneered the Archie New Look series.

3. Ty Templeton

Ty Templeton is best known for his work on Batman Adventures (adapting the Bruce Timm Batman series) and the Bongo Comics Simpsons series (adapting The Simpsons, duh), so I really don't think that he gets enough credit, period, since it could always seem like he's working on a house style. But he drew the Spider-Man/Human Torch miniseries, written by Dan Slott, which was featured yesterday in our five Spider-Man stories you should read.

Templeton's style, influenced obviously by that of Alex Toth, is minimalist, clean, and simple, and his heavy blacks accentuate the gesture of his line. It's perfect for Spider-Man, since it lends itself to an animation type of storytelling, and his expressive emotions and gestures emphasize the comedy.

But Ty Templeton isn't just good for comedy, no. You can see it here, when Peter talks to Johnny about Gwen's death. And to emphasize how good this is, Ty Templeton does it in one panel, and Spider-Man wears a full face mask, making it impossible for any artist to depict his emotions through facial patterns.

Bravo, Ty Templeton.

2. Mike McKone

I put Mike McKone up here because Marcos Martin does get a lot of credit (though not enough, since there are all those people who are still boycotting Spider-Man because of One More Day),  but just like I consider Martin as a modern-day Steve Ditko, I see McKone as a modern-day John Romita Sr. His work is so clean and his storytelling is so clear, just like John Romita. Which isn't to say that he's not inventive as well. Look at the way he uses Spider-Man's back spider symbol to frame key scenes, such as Peter's spider-sense tingling:

And to establish motion:

I think Mike McKone is a solid storyteller who draws a great Spider-Man. He currently draws Avengers Academy, which is also pretty good.

1. Steve Skroce

Finally, we have Steve Skroce, who drew Amazing Spider-Man 418-422, and 425-428. That's not a huge body of work, which I think is a shame, because I think Steve Skroce was the ideal combination between the clean, cartoony, and expressive style of someone like Mike McKone and the distorted, contortionist style of someone like Todd McFarlane.

Steve Skroce didn't stay long on Spider-Man, because he soon got an offer to draw Youngblood for Alan Moore (and how could we hold that against him? Well, I guess because it's Youngblood), but I always thought there was so much untapped potential in his wallcrawler, and the way he expresses emotion to me was so fitting for Spider-Man.

He then went on to make a name for himself on storyboards for Hollywood, including those for The Matrix.

That's my list! Do you have any artists you'd like to bring to public attention? Leave a comment!

Check back tomorrow for the five most important moments in Spider-Man's history, and later to look at one of the most famous Spider-Man covers!


Anonymous said...

These are great, but I was surprised Ross Andru wasn't on here.

Duy Tano said...

You know, quite honestly, I was on the fence about Ross Andru. He's basically number 6 on this list and also number 6 on the list of most important Spider-Man artists.

In the end, he gets too much credit to be on this list (he did do Superman/Spider-Man, after all) and just wasn't as important as the other five to be on the other. It's sad.

Josh said...

Good list, I really like Steve Skroces work in particular. I would definitely have put Mark Buckingham in there somewhere though.

Duy Tano said...

Hi Josh, I'm in the minority and am not actually a fan of Mark Buckingham in general, and I doubt he'd ever make any of my top lists. But glad to see we share the love for Skroce!

weeklycomicreview said...

holy crapola you are so right about Skroce! he was absolutely phenomenal. one of the best artists of the era....

I wish i could go back in time and tell him, "don't leave, Steve"

Spideyfan said...

Steve butler for sure, I’ve tried to pick up as much of his Spidey art as I can, and what about Tom Lyle...? His art with Robert Jones was amazing...
I’m not super big on Skroce...I sold off most of his art a while back because it seemed too cartoony

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