In my previous posts I have discussed all of the most influential artists to the development of my visual style and storytelling. However, there are several others that I was hooked on for a short time and in some way probably added to my approach, although I wouldn’t classify them as instrumental in my early development.
The first I would like to mention is Jim Starlin. I first discovered his work in the pages of Warlock which started with issue #9. This is a comic that I bought off the newsstands as a kid. The way Starlin delineated musculature in his characters was very influential in my initial attempts at superhero art. I remember specifically adapting the way Starlin drew arm muscles in my own work for awhile. I later went back and discovered his Captain Marvel work (which I loved and still do).
I have to also mention John Buscema’s work. I love Big John’s work. While a lot of people love his Conan work, I love his superhero work the best. Silver Surfer was probably his greatest achievement but everything he did from the Avengers to the FF to Sub Mariner, I thought was great. He just drew so well. His combination of drawing ability and Kirby dynamics really made him special. As much as I admired and loved his work, he was never a big stylistic influence on me….strange.
Mike Ploog also deserves prominent mention here. I always liked Ploog’s monster work (most notably Man-Thing) but again he never really influenced my style. However, I became a much bigger Ploog fan when I met and befriended him in the 90’s. He’s really a terrific guy. But he provided me with great inspiration as a fledgling artist when I saw his Santa Claus book. What an amazing accomplishment. That book may be my favorite graphic novel of all time and every time I need some artistic inspiration I crack it open.
When I was trying to break into comics, Michael Golden took the time (because of mutual friend Renee Whitterstaetter) to explain storytelling and comic acting to me in way that I really understood and it changed my life. Based on Michael’s advice and instruction I was able to get superhero work at Marvel (a great story for another time).
I’m also a big fan of Bolland’s Killing Joke work (arguably the greatest single artistic effort in comics) , all of Adam Hughes’ work, Travis Charest awesomeness and Kevin Nowlan’s ingenious use of blacks. I am constantly looking at great work that a lot of people are doing. It helps me keep growing as an artist and challenging myself to be better.