Whether you’re reading the best of Marvel Comics, the great offerings of DC Comics, or one of the countless indie labels and books, there’s no denying that 2019 has been a fantastic year for the medium. Great books came out this year, with some amazing creators to thank for them. So which designers stood out the most in 2019?
Before we get into this list, it’s important to mention that just because someone wasn’t on our favorites list doesn’t mean that their accomplishments weren’t outstanding. For reasons that keep improving from year to year, singling out just ten exceptional designers was extremely difficult. So acknowledging that some of the best writers, artists, colorists and many more will make another run in next year’s list, here are 10 of the best comic book creators of 2019 (in no particular order).
At the end of the GLAAD Award-winning Exit, Stage Left! : The Chronicles of Snagglepuss, Russell’s 2019 was equally impressive. Between Red sonja, The wonderful twins and the controversial Second coming, Russell has published quality book after quality book. His Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year # 1 Spectacular one-off rewards didn’t have to be as good as they used to be. Russell’s work stood out thanks to his humor mixed with a strong dose of heart, and for those same reasons, is set for a big 2020.
Matt Wilson is perhaps the most underrated creator working in comics. If you’ve read a lot of comics this year, there’s a good chance you’ve seen Wilson’s colors. His work in 2019 includes some of the heaviest hitters, coloring The Wicked + The Divine, War of the Realms, White Trees, Paper Girls, Conan, Excalibur, and Unknown country, Just to name a few. In 2020, he will color Donny Cates and Nic Klein’s Thor, AND Robert Kirkman and Chris Samnee Firepower. Whether it’s bold and bombastic colors, or making a story much more reserved, Wilson’s ability to elevate art is unparalleled.
Ahmed had the daunting task of continuing the incredibly popular Ms. Marvel series by G. Willow Wilson, and did a terrific job taking the character to new and interesting places. His Gorgeous Ms. Marvel run (with Minkyu Jung) was a worthy continuation of a beloved series. Meanwhile, Ahmed also wrote a villain Miles Morales: Spider-Man. It might seem intimidating to face such important characters, but Ahmed wrote them in new and exciting ways.
Hickman’s 2019 was downright amazing. The long-time industry vet got the chance to take a fresh take on The X Men and managed to redefine what the book could be. His House of X and Powers of X series were among the most captivating and complex books on the shelves. Meanwhile, his X Men fallout, of New mutants, To X-Force, and Fallen angels took what Hickman built and added a variety of new comedic voices to the mix, creating the best revival Marvel has made in years. Hickman made the X-Men more relevant than they’ve been in decades.
Speaking of taking old characters to new and different places, Al Ewing’s reinvention of the Hulk has been a fascinating adventure. After being killed in Second civil war, it seemed like Marvel was unsure of what to do with Bruce Banner. However, Ewing unexpectedly transforming the Hulk into a full-fledged horror series brought the character to life. The Immortal Hulk will already be remembered in the manner of Alan Moore Swamp thing as one of the best horror titles of all time, and it didn’t get much better in 2019 than Ewing’s Magnum Opus.
Campbell’s rise in 2019 could be the most significant of any new creator. After mostly doing covers, Campbell teamed up with Brian Michael Bendis and David F. Walker for the title Wonder Comics. Naomi. No book was like Naomi, proving her potential as much as writing ever could. As if that weren’t enough, Campbell teamed up with award-winning sci-fi author NK Jemisin for a unique story of Green Lantern, in Distant sector of DC’s young animal. Campbell’s work is lush while being extremely clean and detailed. It’s hard not to be blown away by every page he draws.
Tamaki is an absolute master of the Young Adult genre, so when DC announced that she was teaming up with Steve Pugh for a young Harley Quinn graphic novel, it seemed like a perfect fit. Turns out it was. by Tamaki Harley Quinn: Broken Glass was the best among a series of great DC Ink titles. It was a new and refreshing origin that was accessible to new and old readers. Meanwhile, Tamaki’s strange coming-of-age story, Laura Dean keeps breaking up with me, has been critically acclaimed and is expected to win (or at the very least be nominated for) an Eisner Award.
As anyone who knows his work already knows, there is no other artist like Tradd Moore. His trippy and unconventional work showcases some of the most interesting shapes and colors of any mainstream artist working today. When it was announced that he would draw a mind-blowing Silver Surfer: Black sseries with writer Donny Cates, it was extremely promising news. The result was a perfect match, proving that Moore working on a cosmic book is outrageous in the best possible way. Silver Surfer: Black was one of the best books to watch, almost an instant classic, thanks to Moore.
Donny Cates doesn’t follow convention. When he handed the reins over to a series of major figures, Cates constantly turned things around and opened his own unique and unpredictable path to worthy results. Cates’ Venom bow (starring Ryan Stegman) might be the best ongoing series the character has ever had, and is only looking to grow in impact and spectacle. Silver Surfer: Black was a cosmic explosion that changed the history of the Marvel Universe. Cates also did some interesting work with guardians of the galaxy and the Inhumans, setting the stage for 2020, when he takes on what, once again, appears to be a new take on Thor, the Asgardian god-king. Cates is a true Marvel star.
Despite the odds, quantity doesn’t always affect quality. Thompson was among the most active comic book creators, writing everything from Jessica jones, Sabrina: the teenage witch, Captain Marvel, dead Pool, and the West Coast Avengers. Despite the heavy workload, Thompson’s outings have all remained universally cool. No comic book creator has provided heartfelt humor to equal extent in 2019, and although West Coast Avengers finished way too early, it gave Thompson a chance to fully refresh himself Captain Marvel and assume dead Pool. Thompson is finally getting the recognition she deserves as one of the best in the business.
Next: CAPTAIN MARVEL: THE END Preview with Screenwriter Kelly Thompson
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