Starlin, Buscema, Ploog…and the rest

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.

PloogSantaClaus StarlinWarlock

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