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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Top 10 Black Comic Artists Revealed!


via Comic Book Resources

Top 25 Black Comic Book Artists #10-1

Here are the top ten artists that you voted as your favorites of all-time.

10. George Herriman

As noted in his entry in the Top Writers countdown, George Herriman produced Krazy Kat for three decades, one of the most acclaimed comic strips in the history of the medium. Working with a basic concept that seemed almost TOO simple (Krazy Kat swoons over Ignatz Mouse, who attacks Krazy Kat all the time with bricks and Offisa Bull Pupp tries to arrest Ignatz and protect Krazy), Herriman came up with some of the most innovative strip ideas that you could ever imagine. His offbeat artwork fit this surrealistic world perfectly. Here are some sample strips…

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Krazy Kat was one of the first comic characters to be animated and he was an immense visual influence on the world of cartoons.

9. Keith Pollard

Like Arvell Jones, who showed up earlier in the countdown, Keith Pollard was one of a group of notable comic book artists who came out of the Detroit area, following in the footsteps of their fellow artist, Rick Buckler, who broke in first as a star artist and then slowly but surely brought his friends along, as well.

Pollard had significant stints on a number of major Marvel titles, from Daredevil to Thor to Iron Man to Amazing Spider-Man (Pollard drew the landmark 200th issue of Spider-Man – Gil Kane, Todd McFarlane, Mark Bagley, John Romita Jr., JRjr again and Humberto Ramos is pretty good company to be in for drawing a centennial issue of Amazing Spider-Man) to the Fantastic Four. In fact, Pollard not only drew the 200th issue of Amazing Spider-Man, but also the 300th issue of Thor and the 200th issue of Fantastic Four, including the epic Dr. Doom/Mister Fantastic fight (written by Marv Wolfman, inks by Joe Sinnott)…

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Pollard also had runs on Green Lantern at DC and then returned to Marvel for another run on Fantastic Four and stints on Eternals and Micronauts.

After spending much of the early 1990s drawing all of the characters for Marvel’s Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe Master Edition, Pollard left comics entirely in 1994.

8. Billy Graham

Billy Graham’s start in comics was a fairly unusual one. Soon after he began drawing books for Warren Publishing (he drew at least one story in the first dozen issues of Vampirella), he was hired by James Warren as the company’s art director!

Early in the 1970s, he moved to Marvel, where he was part of the creative team on the launch of Luke Cage, Hero for Hire (Graham inked George Tuska). He continued as either inker or penciler for the next dozen and a half issues, even getting to the point of co-plotting the book during Steve Englehart’s run.

He then became the regular artist on the second half of Don McGregor’s classic run on Black Panther, beginning in the pages of Jungle Action. Here’s some of that work (inked by Klaus Janson)

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He reunited with McGregor in the 1980s on Sabre. He was out of comics, though, by the time that he passed away in 1999.

Go to the next page for #7-4!

7 Comments

Had to say “Wow, I had no idea he was black” multiple times in that post. Some awesome art there–and Kyle Baker’s Plastic Man is the only one I’ve liked since Jack Cole’s original work.

Keith Pollard sure drew a lot of comics I loved. He had a memorable run on Iron Man including a beautiful issue inked by Alfredo Alcala.

There are some immense talents on this list.

Glad to see Cowan made it as number one. The guy is truly amazing.

I’m with Fraser, this one had a couple of surprises. (Though I don’t know if I’m more surprised that I didn’t know Pollard was from Detroit). Probably the best compliment though.

That Graham art I hadn’t seen, but it’s some really beautiful stuff. And I’ve always loved Bright’s work. Cowan’s Question is one of the all time great runs though.

Like Fraser, I didn’t know all of these creators were black. Anyway,y Keith Pollard is my favorite black artist.

Old… computer… coloring… Pain!

Herriman’s cartooning has always such beguiling charm, even his button eyes can get so expressive! And the relentless experimentation and inventivity.

As the story goes, he was terrified of disappointing readers and get booted from the paper, so he always tried to cram more things and add more levels. Such as giving out for free a second gag strip, a short horizontal one drawn under his main-page strips… which is where the Kat originated under another strip!

Later, he’d crank that to eleven in KRAZY KAT. Many pages are artistic compositions to be taken in slowly, anticipating Eisner’s own “meta-panel” developments. Even the title usually gets a different original typography!

The ever-changing Arizona landscapes could include potted trees, but would retain the props necessary from one panel to the next: an incongruous outdoor couch can morph into a tree trunk, since the cop can still sit on it! Various meta devices would remind us it’s just an ink theater, and literally so when a panel is abruptly framed as if an indoor stage — something maybe comparable to Magritte’s “This is not a pipe”?

Also, after two decades B&W, the KAT sundays went fool-kolor for its 1935–1944 leg. Some are visible full-sized at http://ift.tt/1TPvE0z

I really had no idea that George Herriman and Matt Baker were black.

Trevor Von Eeden is one of my all-time favorite artists. I highly recommend “The Original Johnson,” his graphic novel biography of boxer Jack Johnson.

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