The Art Of Comic Book Illustration – The Best In The Business

Comic book art is today no longer just aimed at children, some of the most recognizable illustrators have become widely recognized as artists in their own rights, their works are eminently collectible and some have been accredited as having revolutionized how both collectors and ordinary readers view the comic.

So who are some of the most recognized figures in the artistic world of comic book illustration?

Anyone who is a fan of the Spider Man comics should recognize the name John Romita Jr, he was after all responsible for the creation of one of Spidey’s most famous arch enemies – the Hobgoblin and he also drew the issue where the webslinger met Juggernaut, that crowd favorite among the cast of villains that have made Spider Man’s life so challenging.

He was also responsible for illustrating playboy Tony Stark’s descend into alcoholism and his struggle to keep up the good work that his alter ego Iron Man had been doing.

Brian Bolland is another comic book crowd favorite. Lovers of British comic 2000AD will be intimately familiar with his work – he contributed massively to the success of the title and he was also responsible for some of the most impressive artwork associated with the title’s main character – Judge Dredd. A sign of just how well respected this comic book icon is was when he was offered the chance to work on any DC character. His choice – Batman and the result was ‘The Killing Joke’ graphic novel – widely recognized as one of the finest depictions of the Joker ever.

Illustrator Steve Ditko is credited with powering the ascendancy of Spider Man into the lofty stratesphere of comic book stardom. Although it was legend Stand Lee who conceptualized Spider Man it was Ditko that made Spider Man what he is today. He has also worked on the Hulk and Iron Man. He also created Dr Strange, one of comicdom’s most beloved characters.

Best known for his amazing ability to bring real expression to his characters faces he is celebrated as an illustrator of the finest caliber.

The powerful talents of Frank Miller cannot be ignored when one speaks of the best comic book illustrators in history. This multi talented comic book maestro became part of the Marvel stable of illustrators in 1974 when he was brought in to work on ‘John Carter – Warlord of Mars’. He soon graduated to work on Spectacular Spider-Man and is widely credited for changing the character of Batman into the true Dark Knight, giving the character a brooding presence more suited to mature audiences.

Another of the so called ‘Brit invasion’ Dave Gibbons made his name as the Art Director when the UK’s smash hit 2000AD was launched. He soon made his way to America where he partnered with Alan Moore to  illustrate ‘Watchmen’ giving that title the depth that was required to make it a fan favorite.

Comic books are here to stay and although writers are as important as ever it is the illustrators and inkers who can make or break a title – long may they prosper.

Some of the Best Villains in Comic Book History

When you were growing up and really into the comic book scene, you undoubtedly remember some of the epic villains that graced the colorful pages of your favorite issues.

One striking DC Comics villain that no one could ever forget is the Joker in the Batman series of comic books. Of course all of the figures of the villains were in exaggerated form, and the Joker was no exception.

First introduced in 1940, the Joker has been upsetting apple carts for Batman and Gotham City for decades. Usually, villains cause all kinds of mayhem, but the Super Hero is always able to prevail. However, the Joker notched his place in villain history by murdering Jason Todd, who was also known as the second Robin.

This horrendous calamity did not take place until the early 70’s but nonetheless it was a shocker. With this event transcending the usual clown role of most villains, the Joker adhered himself to one of the most ruthless villains of all-time comic book history.

Lex Luthor is another of the most hated of villains as he was the nemesis of Superman from the beginning in Superman’s boyhood start as Superboy, on into Superman’s adulthood.

Lex Luthor is just the opposite of Superman, both in looks and in objectives. While Superman is portrayed as the altruistic Man of Steel, bent on saving society from every evil crime. Luthor’s prime asset is his evil brain which way above average, yet instead of using his mind for good, it is always using his brainpower for evil.

The most dasterdly deed Luthor achieved was getting himself elected President of the United States, where then Superman had to obey the law of the land as Luthor decreed, yet still fight crime.   Luthor was also actually able to produce Kryptonite, the substance that rendered Superman helpless. Luthor was one of the worst of the villains in the comics.

A third notorious villain that cause mayhem and havoc all through the years was Catwomam, who spent all of her time trying to get Batman to fall in love with her, and of course her strange, evil criminal filled antics would not impress Batman anyway.

Catwoman did not have any superpowers, but she used her wits, athleticism, “charm” and sex appeal were her weapons. Unfortunately for her, Batman was more interested in apprehending and thwarting pimps and drug peddlers than romancing the Catwoman.

The Riddler used his mind at the level of genius to leave riddles after his criminal capers. His clues and hints he left for Batman and Robin, obvious let them know who did the crime, but the elaborate puzzles and clues also left a devious trail as to how to catch the cute caperer. His skills were so fantastic, he was the only person to ever completely discover Batman’s secret identity by himself. Unfortunately, he could not reveal it to anyone, as he felt that would ruin the “game.”

The theme is the same for all of the villains, as they contort their capers, full of danger, always to be outwitted by the Super Heroes, making the stories linger for decades for generations of comic book fans.

The Rise Of The Comic Book – The Best Comic Book Stores Around

During the 50’s the comic book was in deep trouble, accused of poisoning the minds of the nations youth and under fire from government authorities it seemed that the comic was going to go the way of the dodo – or at least become a watered down shadow of its formed self.

However, the comic book bounced back and is today viewed as a legitimate art form and is loved by both children and adults around the world. Astonishingly, even in the face of the Internet and the translation of comic book heroes such as Hulk and Iron Man onto the silver screen comic book shops are thriving. It seems that collectors, art lovers and yes, even a new generation of kids are falling in love with comic books all over again.

So which comic book stores have become legendary and a haven for this new breed of comic book lovers?

Austin, Texas is home to one of the most venerable comic book stores in the United States – Austin Books & Comics. This store has been around since 1977 (widely viewed as one of the golden ages of the comic book). The mere fact that it has been around for this length of time means that it must be offering something really special. They specialize in collectibles and rare first editions which see visitors flocking there from all over the world.

Charlotte, NC is the base of ‘Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find’ and this is a comic book store that stands out from the rest not only because of its quirky name. A great library of back issues and its position as a major player in comic distribution have ensured legendary status.

Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles is a monster of a store. Boasting 14,000 square foot of space if you can’t find what you’re looking for under the roof of this comic book store it probably doesn’t exist. It’s location on Sunset Boulevard doesn’t hurt it’s reputation for being a class act.

The Big Apple is a comic book lovers paradise with stores such as Forbidden Planet attracting a legion of fans from all over the globe. But a special hat tip must go to JHU Comic Books at 32 East 32nd St. Whereas other comic book stores pad out their inventory with collectibles, figurines and trading cards this shop stocks comics – just comics, nothing more, nothing less. This makes it a must visit for comic book purists.

When it comes to names the Washington DC store Big Planet Comics must be near the top of the greatest hits list. Not only is the blue and yellow exterior as funky as they come (and visible for miles) but their focus on smaller publishing houses and specialist titles has made them a lot of friends across the comic book loving world.

This is only a taste of the many great comic book stores that exist to serve a growing legion of fans not only in the United States, but across the world – if you want your comic book fix there’s going to be a great store somewhere that’ll get you exactly what you need.

Who Are The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time?

When looking at the best comic book heroes of all time, there are quite a few that would make people’s lists. You can weed out the popular villains of course, but there are still plenty of heroes to choose from. Just for the record, my favorite villain is the Joker, and that is going to lead to my favorite superhero, which is Batman.

I’m more of a realist, and despite liking Spider-man, Superman and all the other popular heroes throughout the years, Batman tops my list. He certainly isn’t your average man, with billions of dollars and tons of great technical equipment to get the job done. Plus, I like the way Batman handles people and how he talks.

Superman has a very intriguing story as a superhero, too. His story seems more realistic when he’s Clark Kent, even more realistic the billionaire Bruce Wayne as Batman. Yet when you hear about Superman’s back story, him being from the planet Krypton, his story becomes a little more about fantasy. But that’s what superheroes are all about in many ways. They do things that normal people can’t, and we’re talking about comic books after all.

Spider-man has already been mentioned, and his story is fascinating as well. Peter Parker is Spider-man, still a teenager when the transition occurs after being bitten by a radioactive spider. Peter Parker is a very emotional person, and many people make the connection with his story.

Over the years, superheroes have come together in comic books and movies, too. What other superheroes can you think of that you like to read about in comic books? There is Silver Surfer, the Fantastic Four, and you can’t forget the X-Men!

When I was younger, the X-Men were my sister’s favorite superheroes. She would get the comic books, and we would watch the X-Men cartoons. Her favorite superhero was Rogue, and my favorite superhero was Storm. There was Wolverine, Cyclops, Professor Xavier and many more.

I have just scratched the surface when it comes to talking about the best superheroes of all time, but I definitely did mention some of the more popular ones. When I was younger, I collected first edition comics when I saw them, and that is how I got introduced to Ghost Rider. This is another really popular one that finally got its own movie a few years back.

There has been a trend in the past couple decades of more and more movies being made about comic book superheroes. Spider-man really started the modern revolution when it comes to these movies, but superhero movies have been around for quite some time. Decades ago, it was Superman and Batman that were the big draws at the theater.

Has your favorite superhero been mentioned? What about Flash Gordon? What about the Incredible Hulk? I remember when I was a kid watching a very popular Hulk movie that was made for television. No doubt superheroes are quite popular, and while many have become icons, so many of them seem to have been forgotten over the years.