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Under Appreciated Comic Book Artists - Revisited


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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 23, 2012 10:32:50 PM PDT
I had started this topic several years ago, but thought it worth revisiting just because. I wanted to find out if there were some new names to add to the roster.

Tell us about any artist or artists, alive or dead, whom you feel have been doing or who have done good work, but have not gotten the proper recognition. Off the top of my head I would mention Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, for the one-billionth time, but I have already sung Mr. Garcia-Lopez's praises in another discussion group, so I will focus on some other artists this time:

1) ROSS ANDRU - ROSS ANDRU was my favorite Amazing Spider-Man artist after GIL KANE and JOHN ROMITA Sr. and that is a huge statement for me. Ross Andru was always a solid artist whenever he drew anything. He and his long-time buddy-in-arms MIKE ESPOSITO were a great team. I remember the first time that I encountered Mr. Andru's work on Spider-Man, it was in Amazing Spider-Man #125. The issue was the second-part to a cliffhanger with the Man-Wolf in issue #124.

I have to be honest, I had no idea that Gil Kane was not going to be doing the ASM series any more and would only be making sporadic appearances in the future, so when I first saw Mr. Andru's artwork I was disappointed, not because he had done a bad or incompetent job but because he wasn't Gil Kane. Gil Kane was the reason I started buying comics back in the day. He had no equal when it came to action and energy, so in my mind Mr. Andru had big shoes to fill. I continued to buy Amazing after issue #125 to see how he would stand up to the great artists who had drawn Spidey in the past and I am happy to say that I think Ross Andru was definitely one of the best artist to grace the pages of Amazing Spider-Man.

Ross Andru was always a professional. His page layouts where always clean, concise and interesting, especially his drawings of the background architecture. His cityscapes are phenomenal. I've studied architecture so I know about rendering buildings. Ross Andru was the best artist ever when it came to drawing believable man-made architectural structures in Spider-Man. I remember going back over the pages of the stories in issues #147, 148 and 149 and just marveling at how with only a few simple lines and some well placed shadows he was able to capture the solidity and majesty of the office buildings, bridges and factories of the city in his drawings.

And who else but Ross Andru could have drawn Spider-Man versus Superman, well maybe Gil Kane but well you get what I'm saying. In an interview, my favorite artist Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez paid Mr. Andru a great compliment about his work. Pick up a copy of Modern Masters Volume Five: J.L. GACRIA-LOPEZ (ISBN: 1893905-44-6) and turn to page 18 to read it. You can purchase a copy from Amazon.com.

Coming Soon, JIM APARO.

Posted on Apr 9, 2012 2:03:50 AM PDT
Ragdoll says:
Steve Rude.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2012 12:10:02 AM PDT
@ Ragdoll,

Excellent choice.

Posted on Apr 10, 2012 12:10:28 AM PDT
JIM APARO

I always liked to refer to JIM APARO as NEAL ADAMS' younger brother, maybe it is because they drew some of the same characters, Deadman, The Specter, The Phantom Stranger and Batman, specifically Batman in Detective Comics and The Brave and the Bold, or maybe it was the look of Mr. Aparo's inked pencils that had that lanky realistic Neal Adams feel or maybe it was Mr. Aparo's ability, like Mr. Adams, to make you take a second look at a character like Aquaman that you might not have if he hadn't drawn the book. Mr. Aparo stands out in my mind as one of the premiere examples of an artist whose talent deserved more note.
Jim Aparo was among that rare breed of contemporary comic book artist who was able to draw a great cover and interior. Most artists nowadays are good at one or the other, but not both. Jim Aparo's style was well suited for all types of comic stories but his style definitely excelled when he working on the darker or more mysterious titles like: The House of Horrors, Phantom Stranger or Batman Detective stories. I cannot think of Mr. Aparo and not think of "shadows". If I am correct I think he inked himself a lot of the time when doing those titles, either that or DC had a habit of not crediting their inkers work.

Mr. Aparo was one of the last of the fraternity of old-fashioned craftsmen who put in details in their work that only true artists would recognize or appreciate. He would take the time to render the fabric of a hounds-tooth suit jacket or place a plant in the background of a panel to create a sense of depth or use the perspective in his drawings to give emphasis to character's dilemma; with rare exception, they don't make'em like that any more.

Jim Aparo is my third favorite artist to draw Deadman and The Phantom Stranger, the other two in order are: JOSE LUIS GARCIA-LOPEZ and Neal Adams. Mr. Aparo is also my third favorite artist to draw Batman, the other two in order are Neal Adams and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, although I have revised my opinion of where NA should be on this list in light of the recent BAT MAN : ODYSSEY fiasco. It is a great testament to his talent and style that he is only number three on these list because I consider both men who have the number one and two positions trendsetters and unequaled in the field of comic book art. I have not seen any comparable contemporary artist that has come close to matching all of the qualities of an artist that Mr. Aparo has.

Mr. Aparo was a professional in every sense of the word and I think that is what we are saying about most of the unsung artists on this page. They were good artists who came to work and did their jobs well but because of circumstances beyond their control or ours they did not get as much credit as some other artists and the reality is that that will always be the case. But fortunately for these men and women there are outlets like these discussion groups and others that give these unsung heroes of the comic art world another chance to shine.

I hope that someone who reads this will write a book about Jim Aparo and give us his fans and a potentially new generation of fans a chance to see what made his artwork so good. Hint, hint.

ADDENDUM: When I had initially posted this discussion topic, I had felt that JIM APARO might never get any recognition but I am very happy that I was wrong. There is a new book out called: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT: Jim Aparo - Volume 1 and it will be available on Amazon.
Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo Vol. 1

SAL BUSCEMA

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2012 10:42:05 AM PDT
Picardfan007 says:
I always thought Jose Garcia Lopez should of had a super star status. I continue to am amazed at what the fans think are good artists. Jose Garcia Lopez did Hulk VS. Batman years ago and I don't think that tresury edition wasn't promoted too well. He never got the high profile projects, however his talent was so under rated. You never see any retrospectives about him or tributes, yet you can still find his work if you look for it. I have to wonder if he retired or isn't in the business anymore. His work was just as dynamic as the many super stars of the time.

Posted on Apr 11, 2012 6:43:44 AM PDT
Darth Chap says:
Whatever happened to Steve Bissett from Saga of the Swamp Thing with Alan Moore? Thought he was great!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012 7:34:41 AM PDT
Nicos says:
He is doing his own thing over at http://srbissette.com/ He is still as good as he ever and I would love to see him work for the big publishers again (Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E.? hmmm?). Of course, maybe he is like a lot of other older artists and is content to be doing self-published stuff.

If you haven't read it, I recommend checking out his TYRANT book (you can order it from the website). Its the life and death story of a T-Rex and it is pretty awesome.

Posted on Apr 12, 2012 1:42:34 AM PDT
@ picardfan007

I can assure you that Sr. Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez is alive and well and there is a fan page for him on Facebook.

I personally met him last year at the New York Comic Con and he signed some stuff for me, he is a very humble man. He is as you stated greatly under-rated but he is still working; mostly on promotional material for DC.

Posted on Oct 12, 2012 12:27:45 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 12, 2012 12:29:08 PM PDT
I totally agree about Ross Andru on Spidey, and about Garcia-Lopez, and Steve Rude.

Some of my other favorites are:

Fred Perry of Gold Digger
Paul Guinan of Heart Breakers and Chronos
Steve Leialoha of the original Spider-Woman

Incidentally, I've had the good fortune to meet most them (except Garcia-Lopez and the late Ross Andru) at various conventions, which was a thrill for me, and they're all really nice guys.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 12, 2012 8:48:43 PM PDT
@James,

Glad you enjoyed my selection.

I am only vaguely familiar with the work of Mr. Leialoha on Spider Woman, but am am certain that he dopes belong on this group.

It's great that you have met these artists and that they have turned out to be gracious or at least approachable people. It is very disheartening for a fan to met someone he or she admires and then finds out that they are a loser. I would like to have met Mr. Andru and Mr. Aparo if only to let them know how much of a big fan I was.

And thanks for breathing life into this old discussion group.
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Discussion in:  Comics forum
Participants:  6
Total posts:  10
Initial post:  Mar 23, 2012
Latest post:  Oct 12, 2012

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