Scarcity and demand play important roles in setting the collectible
market value for a comic book, but other elements in the alchemy
includes the artist. And there's a large batch of artists that
will tickle the fancy of most collectors.
Artists bring someone elses - or their own - ideas
There is a long list of artists who have had an impact on
the hobby and the list below is not exhaustive by any means.
A short list includes artists such as Al Feldstein, John Severin,
Harvey Kurtzman, Alex Toth, John Buscema, Jack Cole, Mac Raboy,
Basil Wolverton, Alex Schomburg, Joe Maneely, Neal Adams, Graham
Ingels, Michael Kaluta and Russ Heath.
But my personal short list of artists who I look for when
looking for comics include - Jack Kirby (1917-1994).
This prolific artist provided so much to the comics industry.
His impact continues to this day and is expected to continue
for decades to come. His art was dynamic, expansive and intricate.
His larger experimental pieces are guaranteed to provide new
discoveries in the beholder for years. He and Joe Simon created
Captain America on the eve of the Second World War. The Kirby-Simon
team created the romance comic genre.
After Kirby and Simon split, Kirby had a hand in creating
the majority of the Marvel super-heroes now enthralling moviegoers
and television audiences: the X-Men, the Hulk, Fantastic Four,
Iron Man, the Avengers, Nick Fury, SHIELD and Thor.
If anything, Marvels fortunes for the most part are
still focused on Kirbys work. His volume of work is legendary
and so was his constant development of ideas. His drawing style
became the house standard at Marvel and other artists had to
be Kirbyesque in their drawings.
Over at DC Comics, Kirby created the Fourth World characters,
including the New Gods and Mister Miracle, and OMAC. I wouldn't
be surprised if DC monetizes some of them in the movies or television.
Steve Ditko (1927-):
This reclusive and elusive artist helped Kirby usher in the Silver
Age at Marvel, developing moody characters such as Spider-Man
and Dr. Strange.
Isn't that Benedict Cumberbatch thats going to play
Dr. Strange in an upcoming movie? Egads!
Steve Gerber (1947-2008): He co-created Howard the
Duck, which appears to be Marvels next Big Thing. Anything
more need to be said? Well, he also worked on Omega the Unknown
and Man-Thing for Marvel and the Flash and Metal Men for DC.
John Romita, Sr.
(1930-): He had a long career that included Atlas Comics,
the precursor to what we now know as Marvel. Romita Sr. took
over Spider-Man with issue 39 after Ditko left Marvel. Romita
Sr. made an immediate impact with issue 42 when he finally unveiled
Mary Jane Watson. My eyes widened when I turned to the last page
and I still remember my reaction Romita used Ann Margret
as a model for MJ. Another lasting character he developed was
the Kingpin, an evildoer that would later haunt Daredevil.
Wally Wood (1927-1981):
His work in comics art spans across the Golden and Silver Ages.
There isn't a genre Wood hadn't dabbled in. His work on his creation,
THUNDER Agents, is second-to-none.
Wood is considered one of science fictions top comic
artists. While he worked at Marvel and DC, look for some of his
best art in EC Comics and Warren comic magazines.
Will Eisner (1917-2005): One of the pioneers of the
modern comic book, his work continuously pushed boundaries in
story telling and design. The Spirit is probably his best-known
work, introducing characters such as Lady Luck. But his studio,
which supplied art for other labels, developed characters such
as Blackhawk, Sheena and Uncle Sam. Eisner is considered the
father of the graphic novel.
Jim Steranko (1938-):
His brief career in comics turned the Silver Age on its head
when he got his hands on Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD. He wowed
fans with the merging of various artist influences. But it was
his Salvador Dali-influenced work on the covers of Nick Fury
that indicated a change was coming to comic art. He employed
full-page art and two-page spreads that were pioneered by Kirby.
But he blew that up when he used a four-page spread, which required
the reader to buy a second copy of Strange Tales 167 to capture
the full beauty of the effort.
Matt Baker (1921-1959): Drew women for various companies
like nobodys business. He was one of the first Afro-American
artists who worked during the Golden Age. One of his greatest
creations was Phantom Lady. He died young, 37, of a heart attack.
(1948-): Drew scary things for DC and Marvel, among others.
It could be argued he reached his peak with his 1983 version
of Shelleys Frankenstein, but I say almost all of his work
is, well, very, very scary, and beautiful.
He mastered his co-creation Swamp Thing and commandeered
House of Mystery.
Carl Barks (1901-2000): He built his career drawing
Donald Duck for Walt Disney Comics. He created Scrooge McDuck,
among others in Duckburg. His original edition Duck comics command
a hefty market price and demand.
These artists are among the favourites of collectors and
will maintain value, especially in higher grades, over time.
1 & 2 - Jack Kirby's Golden Age Captain America and the
3 - Steve Ditko artwork - Strange Tales 115, the origin of
4 - The introduction of Mary Jane Watson, the work of John
5 - Wally Wood's art of Daredevil 5 cover
6 - Jim Steranko's Agent of SHIELD 7, with the Dali-influenced
artwork on the cover
Let's Talk Comics with Rob Lamberti, who started collecting
comics when the going price was 12 cents an issue and Peter Parker
really was a teenager. He dabbled in the comic convention circuit
in the Toronto area for a while, but stopped to concentrate on
his career as a not-so-mild- mannered crime reporter for a great
metropolitan newspaper, where he hoped he managed to record a
little bit of history the past three decades.