Oct 11, 2010

Top Five Most Prolific Comic Book Artistic Creators!

Today, we'll be looking at the top five most prolific comic book artistic creators of all time. The emphasis here is on the root word "create," so we're looking at the artists who created the most in terms of characters, genres, designs, concepts, and whatever else you may be able to think of, to the point that their sandboxes are still being played in today. We're looking plainly at artists here, and the reason for that is I don't want to get into a debate as to which aspect of "creating" is more important - the coming up with the idea or the actual putting to paper of the idea.

Honorable Mention goes to Bill Finger, who, while he designed Batman and many of the elements of Batman's world, he didn't actually draw the stories.

Art by Dick Sprang. But most of these creations were Finger's, or at least partly Finger's.

Honorable Mention also goes to C.C. Beck, who, along with Otto Binder and Bill Parker, created much of the mythology of Captain Marvel's universe. Unfortunately, it seems as if Beck's influence didn't really leave that realm. (And he also had tons of help.)

So here we go.

5. Carmine Infantino

Carmine Infantino is best known for being the artistic creator of Barry Allen, the second Flash, as well as his entire classic rogues' gallery, but even if that was it, that would be nearly enough to get him on this list, seeing as how the Flash's villains are one of the three biggest and best of all time. However, when you consider the fact that Infantino also created the Black Canary, Batgirl, and (if you can count this as creating) Superboy, he becomes a shoo-in for this list.

4. Steve Ditko

Take everything I said about Carmine Infantino and the Flash, and it holds true for Steve Ditko and Spider-Man. And Steve Ditko and Dr. Strange. Ditko also drew a lot of sci-fi and monster comics prior to the rise of the Fantastic Four, and when he left Marvel, he went on over to Charlton Comics to create Captain Atom, the Blue Beetle, and the Question, and over to DC Comics where he created the Creeper and Hawk and Dove. He also created Speedball for Marvel Comics.

The fact that these were all cult favorites is typical Ditko, who seems to have a loyal stream of followers, and whose creations are among the most loved of comics creators, even if they're not necessarily what sells.

3. Carl Barks

Unlike Steve Ditko, Carl Barks created one comics universe, but he did it for a long time, and he made it real. Under Barks' direction, everyone in Duckburg was given interactions and connections - there were relations and family trees that you actually did need a family tree to keep track of (not that that was ever really important to the stories; they were just fun). Barks created Uncle Scrooge, and from there went on to create Gyro Gearloose, Magica de Spell, the Beagle Boys, Gladstone Gander, the Junior Woodchucks, and more. And to think that all he had to start out with were Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, and Huey, Dewey, and Louie!
2. Osamu Tezuka

I have to admit it was a toss-up between 1 and 2, and I did name the God of Manga as number 1 in my list of the most influential comics artists of all time partly due to his genre diversification. Whether it was about robots, romance, lions, Buddha, or whatever else you can come up with under the sun, Tezuka did it and in such a way that he's still the number one influence of pretty much any manga artist. His output is legendary.

1. Jack Kirby

Some of these folks will be in Kirby: Genesis from Dynamite,
done by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross!

Genre diversification aside, I don't think anyone actually created more than Jack Kirby, nee Jacob Kurtzberg, in terms of sheer numbers. Kirby created entire universes, and when he left those universes, he would create new ones. He created Captain America, the Guardian, and the Newsboy Legion, among other things, in the 1940s. He created and pioneered romance comics in the 50s. He created the Challengers of the Unknown for DC Comics, and then went over to Marvel where he created the Hulk, the Mighty Thor, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and their entire classic rogues' galleries. Even with the contributions of Don Heck, Steve Ditko, Bill Everett, and more, I don't see how anyone can't rightfully say that Kirby created most of Marvel's cornerstones, or at least was the one to make them work in the larger scheme of the Marvel Universe. And then he went to DC Comics and created the New Gods, introducing us to Orion, Kalibak, Mr. Miracle, and the mighty Darkseid the Destroyer. While he was there, he also decided he was going to create Kamandi, the last boy on earth, and the One Man Army Corps (OMAC for short). Then he went back to Marvel and created the Eternals, and then struck off on his own to create his own characters, such as Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers (which also is one of the comics that launched the direct market), Silver Star, and Night Glider. And at the same time, he was hired by Ruby-Spears to design and launch Thundarr the Barbarian for TV! And a few months ago, they just uncovered a lot of Jack Kirby stuff that he designed for Ruby-Spears (purely work for hire, so Ruby-Spears owns them all) -- as it turns out, during his downtime, Jack would just keep creating and creating and creating - all the way to February 6, 1994, when he passed away. It is estimated that if Jack drew a page a day, then his output was such that he drew nonstop for a hundred years.

Whew! Kirby was the man!

That's the list! Did I miss anyone? Let me know!


The Amazing Hanna said...

Osamu Tezuka drew 150,000 pages of art, more than six times as many as Kirby.

Hdefined said...

You seem to have confused your own familiarity with Kirby's creations with the idea that Kirby created more than Tezuka.

Kirby created a lot of great superheroes, but he mostly just created superheroes.

Duy Tano said...

Yes, you guys are right and I should have switched them. Kirby did more than just superheroes though.

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