The year is winding to a close, which got us to thinking… what were the best comics of the year? The Comicosity staff has gathered and submitted their top picks of 2016, today being Best Artist:
Okay, let’s be real. We all want our dream sequences illustrated by Sauvage. The dreamy and wisplike images have always held a firm place in my heart and it’s truly amazing that she is able to cast such a wide range of feelings using her unique style. Every time she’s credited on a series, I’m blown away, and it didn’t take long (read: 1-2 issues) before she became one of my all-time favorite comic artists.
Runner-Up: Kenneth Rocafort, Joelle Jones
In 2016, Lemire stepped up his game and turned out two amazing works. Currently on shelves is the three-issue graphic novel mini-series teaming him with Scott Snyder, AD After Death. A remarkable mix of prose, spot art, and traditional sequential comic art, AD is sure to show up on a lot of Best of 2016 lists. As well, Lemire worked with Canadian music legend Gord Downie on the beautiful and important work Secret Path, an album and graphic novel telling the heart-breaking story of Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack, a twelve-year-old boy who died after running away from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School fifty years ago.
Runners-Up: Phil Noto, Joe Eisma, Terry Moore
Jason Fabok is insane with the art. It’s gritty, realistic, and brings weight to whatever comic he happens to be on. His work on Justice League during the event sized Darkseid War was nothing short of awe inspiring and his profile seems to continue past covers and toward bigger projects like the soon to be released Justice League vs. Suicide Squad.
Runner-Ups: Rafa Sandoval, Nick Derington
Black Hammer looks as good as Jeff Lemire writes it because Dean Ormston is a powerhouse to be reckoned with on every page. Ormston carefully crafts every facial structure, making emotion stand out from a mile away. Each character is delightfully different, from a robot, to an alien, to a hardened old man and a little angry girl. The art absolutely buzzes with energy, making you feel every hard-hitting part of this story in ways that make you cry and laugh. Ormston has certainly made a name for himself with his artistic prowess on this title this year, and I can’t wait to see more of the wacky splayed on the pages of my comics.
Runner-Ups: Michael Dowling, Andrea Sorrentino, Nicola Scott
Mike Del Mundo
The term here is “artist”, so I have to go with Mike Del Mundo. His art really hit me in the face with the Secret Wars tie-in, Weirdworld (and subsequent non-Secret Wars Weirdworld), but he really hit his stride with Avengers, which Mark Waid seems to be intelligently stacking towards Del Mundo’s realistic painterly style. Del Mundo is just as meticulous and expressive in giving readers a battle between Hercules and Thor against Hoarfen the Ice Wolf as he is at rendering a pensive Kang, contemplating his next move as the time-traveling, would-be conquerer ponders his next move. I hesitate to use the word “Surrealist” liberally, but comic art, at its base, should be surreal. That said, if you take any one of Del Mundo’s panels, enlarged it, framed it and hung it next to Dalí, he would appear to be a contemporary of the godfather of Surrealism. I look forward to more Kang-zaniness from Del Mundo going forward as well as some grand artwork featuring Marvel’s Mightiest in the pages of Avengers. You should check it out too.
Runners-Up: Nick Derington, Javier Fernandez, Bilquis Evely
When you’re discussing the all time great Thor artists names like Jack Kirby, Walter Simonson, and Olivier Coipel often come up as being the best to ever draw the God Of Thunder. Well, it’s time to add another name to the list with Russell Dauterman. I spent a lot of time thinking about all the beautiful looking comics of 2016, and I kept finding myself comparing everything to The Mighty Thor. Between Dauterman’s pencils and Matt Wilson’s colors this has consistently been the best looking comic book this past year. As much as Jason Aaron will be known as the writer behind Jane Foster’s Thor, Dauterman’s phenomenal take on the Goddess Of Thunder will be just as iconic. Whether it’s the quiet moments featuring a frail, cancer ravaged Jane Foster, or bombastic battles across all ten realms, Dauterman excels.
Runner-Ups: Andrea Sorrentino, Mitch Gerads, Gabriel Hernandez Walta
You can always tell when an artist is doing the work of a lifetime — not because it’s what we want to see from them (although who could have cause to complain?), but because it’s the work THEY want to be doing, more than any other. From the unbelievably rich black-and-white world Scott envisions for Black Magick, with its sputtering punctuations of color, to the innocence and compassion that permeates every rendering of a young Wonder Woman, Nicola Scott has evolved beyond drawing characters in a landscape. She builds worlds with every stroke of her pen. And her love for Rowan Black and Alex Grey, for Wonder Woman, for Themyscira, and all the rest is the ink. And what we get is simply grace and magic.
Runners-up: Liam Sharp, Juan Ferreyra, Phil Jimenez
Have you seen a single issue of The Mighty Thor from 2016? If you have, you know why Dauterman was the best of the best this year. His pencils are absolutely fabulous and the life he brings to the realms of Yggdrasil is absolutely stellar. Thor has never been more powerful and I cannot think of a single poorly penciled panel by his hand this entire year. Fabulous work from a gifted artist that I can’t wait to see more from in ’17.
Runners-Up: Jason Fabok, Chris Samnee, Benjamin Dewey